How Long Should You
by Anne Cavicchi
Unfortunately, the question "how
long should a mother nurse her baby?" does not have an easy answer.
Advice given by people, whether it's doctors, a breastfeeding counselor
or your mother, it is confusing and contradictory. Everyone you talk to
has different advice for you. Combine this with the fact that every mom
& baby are different, and you have good reason to be wondering what
is the best thing to do.
Breastfeeding is by far the best way to
feed your baby. Even many manufacturers of baby formula are saying this!
Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby's development for the
first year or more. It contains antibodies which may protect your baby
against some infections. Breastfeeding also helps reduce the risk of
allergies in infants who have a family history of asthma, food allergy,
or eczema. It is easily digested and contains just the right amount of
fat, protein, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals. It is inexpensive and
require no special equipment or preparation. Breastmilk changes as your
baby grows and is the only food needed for the first 4 to 6 months.
So does that mean you should only
breastfeed for the first 4 to 6 months and then stop? Wean your baby at
one year? Yes? No? Maybe?
There are so many factors involved along
with so many pressures from others. Some will pressure you to breastfeed
into the second year and beyond. Others will argue that your baby should
be weaned to a bottle after a couple of months. Some will say you have
to wean before you return to work. Others will tell you that going back
to work doesn't mean you have to wean. Who's right?
Most proponents of breastfeeding and many
of the experts recommend breastfeeding for the first year or longer.
While I totally agree with this in principle, I say you should
breastfeed for as long as you feel it is the best thing for you and your
baby. This is something only you can decide.
About the Author:
Cavicchi is a Canadian wife and mother of one boy and two
step-daughters. She also owns Annie's
Maternity Corner where you'll find everything you need for
pregnancy and baby! Great products, articles, information and more to
see you through pregnancy and baby's first years