How long to continue breastfeeding for is a personal decision for each family to make. The World Health Organization and Indian Academy of Paediatrics recommend exclusive breastfeeding (i.e. no other fluids or solids) for six months and then continued breastfeeding combined with solid foods for 12-24 months or as long as mother and baby desire. Every day breastfeed is done makes a difference to both mother and the baby. There’s no need to decide at the beginning how long one will breastfeed for.
It’s as per your convenience and personal choice – First 6 months are a must
The important thing is to do what one feels is right for both mother and the baby. Continuing to breastfeed helps to reduce the chance of food intolerances and continues to protect the baby from infections, regardless of if he is four months or two years old. Breast milk also provides all the appropriate nutrients, and the babies are less likely to become obese or have diabetes. In addition, the mothers also find it easier to lose weight after pregnancy.Breastfeeding may help lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, diabetes, and certain other diseases in mothers.
What do the WHO and other organisations suggest?
The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond. The longer a baby is breastfeeding, the longer the good health effects will be there for mother and the child.
Many breastfeeding women continue well past six months. Mothers who return to work can continue to give breastfeed and this can ease both mothers and babies through this major change. During the day the carer may give the baby expressed breast milk (EBM). In mornings, evenings and days-off the baby can continue to have breastfeed.
Breastfeeding enhances the mother and baby bonding:
Feeding is always far more than just a way of getting milk into your baby. It’s part of your relationship with him. There are many factors, practical, physical, and emotional involved in one’s decision to carry on, the wind-down, or to stop breastfeeding. Talking it through with a breastfeeding counselor may help to decide about stopping breastfeeding. Advice from family and friends may be well-meaning, but inaccurate or biased.
To conclude how long you keep breastfeeding for is a big decision. It will depend on how you feel emotionally and what else is going on in your life. Most mums set goals for breastfeeding of between three and 12 months. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Many women choose to breastfeed for two years or even longer.