Like most breastfeeding moms, I always had a goal in the back of my mind for the length of time that I would like to nurse my son. This month, with my son at the ripe old age of 18 months, I met my initial goal of breastfeeding him for at least a year and a half! I will continue to breastfeed him until one of us is not enjoying it anymore; with my new goal being at least 2 years.
Among many new mothers, and some individuals who have yet to have children, it is a common belief that breastfeeding continues until the baby turns one year old – when they magically know how to self wean and suddenly become an independent toddler that is content with sippy cups and carrot sticks. It’s not that easy. Although one year is the goal touted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, several developmental milestones are taking place at the age of 12 months(such as learning to walk and talk). This can make it an emotionally difficult time for a child to give up breastfeeding.
Often parents set out with a goal of nursing their child until one year old. As that year approaches, it sometimes becomes obvious how much a 12 month old still needs the multiple benefits(nutritional and emotional) of breastfeeding. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for up to two years of age or beyond
If you have met a breastfeeding milestone that you set for yourself and your child, whatever the milestone, you should be extremely proud! Although incredibly rewarding and beneficial for all parties involved, breastfeeding is not an easy road to travel – especially in the beginning.