How Long Should You Breastfeed?
We all hear about the benefits of nursing our newborns, but how long should we breastfeed? I nursed my first born for 13 months, but I confess I didn’t do it just because it was good for her. I stuck with it because my mother-in-law didn’t like it. To say she was controlling is an understatement, and she wanted me to bottle feed. So I didn’t.
I ended up finding out I was pregnant about the time my daughter turned a year old, and the doctor recommended I wean her. Breastfeeding is generally recommended for the first 12 months, and I had done that. Yet, as I weaned her, I found it a little sad to let it go.
When my son came along, I breastfed him for 6 months, but when I started to menstruate again, I wanted to use contraceptives, so decided to wean him. That was even sadder, but I felt like it was necessary.
Then he ended up with dairy allergies, and we went through some health issues dealing with all that. It made me regret the move to the bottle, but it was too late to turn back.
Breastfeeding has many benefits. First of all, it offers your baby the perfect balance of nutrients that babies need to grow. It’s digested easily and the best tolerated. Beyond that, breastfed babies have a lower incidence of allergic disease…like what my son went through. He ran a fever, had diarrhea and I thought he was sick. He was, but it was because of the dairy in his bottle.
There are many more benefits, but I don’t want to get sidetracked. Back to how long you should breastfeed your baby. Of course, it depends on your circumstances, but breastfeeding for the first year is recommended.
I know it has a lot of health benefits, and that I started on this journey with wrong motives, but for me as a mom, it created an emotional closeness I’m grateful for to this day. I’d say go for the first year if you can.