How Long Should I Breastfeed for?

Many new mums wonder how long they should breastfeed for? It's not an easy thing to do contrary to what I thought when I had my first baby.


The Benefits of Breastfeeding

While not everyone can breastfeed, and formula milk is safe and meets your infants’ nutritional needs there are clear benefits to Breastfeeding.

As well as being a perfectly balanced nutritional source, with the right mix of proteins, fats vitamins and minerals. Breast milk is full of protective antibodies which boost your baby’s immune system. Formula milk cannot do the same. What is also important is that the proteins can be digested by your infant, the proteins from other sources are not so easily digested.

And from a mums perspective Breastfeeding is a great way to lose weight. Many of the calories you consume are used by your body to generate calories in your breast milk. On the matter of weight Breast, fed babies are more likely to gain the right amount of weight, where formula fed babies are prone to gaining too much weight.

Other advantages of Breastfeeding is that it also saves money, as formula milk is relatively expensive. The skin to skin contact is beneficial to bonding with your baby as well.


But how long do I need to Breastfeed?

The World Health Organisation recommendation is that a baby is fed exclusively on milk (no other liquids or solids, especially not juices which are high in sugar) for the first six months, and then carried on until age two and beyond or for as long as the mother and child are comfortable while combining with solid foods.


The NHS website simply suggests that mums and babies “can carry on enjoying the benefits of breastfeeding for as long as you like. Breastfeeding into your baby's second year or beyond alongside other foods is ideal”

Breastfeeding is often not easy, I found it a struggle and felt guilty because of this. Not all mums can for a variety of reasons and I hope won’t feel guilty or stressed, formula is a safe and nutritious alternative.

I found what worked for us, was expressing the milk and bottle feeding. I went through two breast pumps, (both electric) the first one simply was not strong enough. This enabled my partner to take over some of the night feedings and I believe the extra sleep helped me carry of breastfeeding for longer, but it did dry off earlier than I would have liked and nothing I tried changed that. But my children are fit and healthy, so it worked out in the end.

You can also mix breastmilk into your weaning food, it is better for the baby than cows or another animal’s milk, as it is easier to digest. The NHS recommends that you carry on with Breastmilk into

So to sum up, breastmilk is the best option for babies up to six months old. After that babies can start to be weaned but there are health and other benefits to both you and your baby to carry on with breastmilk longer than that.

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