Long breastfeeding divides everywhere. The practice opposes pro-breastfeeding which highlights the benefits of the method. And those who think that it poses on the contrary problem on the development of the child.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of prolonged breastfeeding? Should we favor natural weaning? We take stock of the subject.
What is long breastfeeding?
On average, French women breastfeed their children for 15 weeks. Some of them choose to extend this time.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breastfeeding is prolonged as soon as it exceeds 6 months of the child.
In France, 20% of children are breastfed up to 6 months and 5% until the age of one year.
How long does a long breastfeed last?
The majority of mothers who practice extended breastfeeding do so for an average of 12 to 24 months. They then generally decide to stop it gradually by implementing mixed breastfeeding.
Mothers who decide to go longer (up to 2 to 7 years old) generally set up natural weaning. It is the child himself who decreases, at his own pace, the number of feeds until he no longer needs it.
What are the benefits of extended breastfeeding?
Long-term breastfeeding has certain benefits for mothers and children.
Reduced risk of cancer. Breastfeeding protects mothers from certain cancers, especially breast cancer. Many studies, including that of the famous journal Lancet, show a 33% reduction in the risk of cancer in mothers who have breastfed for at least 25 months.
A suitable food. Composed of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids, breast milk is perfect for the nutrition of children. In addition, they protect them from viruses and infections.
Weightloss. Breastfeeding between 6 months and 1 year allows mothers to regain their initial weight more quickly .
Timeshare between mom and baby. Breastfeeding for a long time allows early interactions between mother and child. It is an effective way to relieve a child during times of stress and fear. Breastfeeding also helps develop a strong bond between mother and child.
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What are the limits of the long breastfeeding?
Long breastfeeding has limitations, however.
Long breastfeeding is tiring. Long breastfeeding is not harmless on the body of a woman. It tires a lot and requires an adaptation of the timetable. In the event of resumption of work, long breastfeeding can also prove to be complicated to set up.
Long breastfeeding can have consequences for the couple. Long breastfeeding can also hinder the relationship between the mother and her partner. Captured by the child who generally leads to demand, she no longer necessarily has the time or the strength to spend time with her man.
Long breastfeeding questions the pace of the father. The father participates in a less intense way in the feeding of his little one. A very strong bond is created between the mother and the child. As part of a long breastfeeding, the father must succeed in finding its place within this pair. He must arrange moments and spend time with his child.
Consequences on health and sexuality. Long breastfeeding can cause vaginal dryness and reduced libido. It is therefore important to approach your doctor or a sexologist if the problem should arise.
Child psychological development. Several studies also show that prolonged breastfeeding could harm a child's psychological development and independence. Extending this practice would make him dependent on his mother and prevent him from growing up.
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