Breastfeeding past 1 year

Funny, I was just thinking about BF, and I found this in my inbox today. It's from


"I am looking for a source of good, non-biased scientifically backed-up info on certain aspects of breastfeeding/breastmilk, and was wondering if you could help.. My daughter has just turned one, and is still fixated on breastfeeding. Although I instinctively think this is probably OK, I could do with something to backup my feelings, and to help me with all the explaining I have to do! Amelia has always been an avid breastfeeder (as well as a highneed, non-sleeping baby), and took a while to take to solids. She now eats fairly well, although variably, and is able to chew, fingerfeed, drink from a cup etc. so I am not worried about her development in that way. I am concerned, however, that she will still be getting adequate nutrition from now onwards however as her diet is somewhat unpredictable, and at a recent visit to a pediatrician I was told that breastmilk is nutritionally useless after 1 year! I have read all sort of things from all sorts of websites, and could really do with some info that I can back up with 'science' or whatever it takes to convince people that what I am doing is OK. I am also assuming that her fixation with my breasts will recede with time, and that I am not encouraging problems by continuing to allow her to indulge in her favourite thing! ”

Regardless of what other people think, you will probably be breastfeeding your daughter for quite some time. It is still nutritious. Nothing magical happens to your milk at 1 year. Is your child malnourished? If your child does not appear malnourished to all these people around you, then it is none of their business what you are feeding her. You shouldn’t have to do all this “explaining”. I have many friends with younger kids, and I have no idea of what their kids eat – I guess I never really see them eat. Do you have to explain all the time because your 1 year-old is nursing in public all the time? If this is case, then maybe it would be wise to start setting limits with your daughter, such as “we only do nummies at home”. This worked well for our kids at this age. Let’s face it, it’s no fun to get all those disapproving stares at the mall.
Regarding scientific data, I have a feeling this won’t help you convince anyone of anything, but you could just tell them that the American Academy of Pediatrics new recommendation is this: “It is recommended that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mutually desired”. A “google” search will get you the full recommendations if you want to read them for yourself.
Dr. Jim


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