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Monday, January 16, 2006

extended breastfeeding?

on the eve of some good friends having a beautiful baby boy, i was thinking about the term "extended breastfeeding" and how innacurate the term actually is. extended breastfeeding, in north american terms, mean breastfeeding past one year of age. however the World Health Organization recommends babies be breastfed up to two years of age.

As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed1 for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health.2 Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond.
therefore, should the term "extended breastfeeding" not be applied until a baby is older than 2?

nothing is more sad than the lack of education and support in north america regarding just how vital breastfeeding is for babies. women who can't breastfeed shouldn't be made to feel bad, there shouldn't be guilt in bottlefeeding but there should be way women doing it. that might seem like a contradictory statement but in my opinion if everyone made a honest effort to breastfeed their children, then the few who couldn't would not feel bad about it and no one would question their situation. as it is now, i constantly hear about women whose breastfeeding attempts were sabotaged by nurses, jealous husbands, mothers and other relatives. and in the end the baby is the one getting the raw deal.

my daughter will be one on february 1st and i DO NOT consider myself to be extended breastfeeding. i consider myself to be taking care of my child's natural needs. our nursing sessions are something sacred in this family and i'm lucky to have a husband that comes from a country where breastfeeding until 2 or 3 is the norm...

just for a refresher, here's a great article on the benefits of breastfeeding.

links on the benefits of "extended breastfeeding"