How long should I breastfeed?

The decision to breastfeed can be a tough choice and once you start, keeping going can be equally as hard.  For those mothers who choose to breastfeed (for any amount of time) can check out this timescale below and give yourself a pat on the back.  There is so much conflicting advice on how long to breastfeed for I wanted to share this with you so that you can make an informed decision yourself.  You are a mother, follow your instincts and you can’t go far wrong.

I was given “Reasons to be Proud” as part of my coursework to become a Breastfeeding Counsellor. 

Source: The National Childbirth Trust

Reasons to be proud

Time BreastfeedingFor BabyFor Mother
First feedHelps to stabilise baby’s blood sugars and protect baby’s gutA great opportunity for the first skin to skin cuddle
1 DayThe antibodies in mother’s colostrum provide natural immunity from infectionHelps womb to contract towards normal size
2-3 DaysSticky black meconium is cleared more readily from baby’s bowelInstant relief for hot, swollen breasts when your milk comes in
1 WeekTransition to world outside womb is easedFrequent feeds mean time to sit or lie down and for you to get to know each other
2 WeeksFood and drink always ready at the right temperature, adapting to the baby’s needsHormones help you get back to sleep after night feeds
4 WeeksFor premature babies, lower risk factors for heart disease in later lifeSaves time sterilising and making up bottles
6 WeeksHalf the risk of chest infections now and up to seven years oldBreastfeeding likely to be easier and you can go out and about without bottle feeding equipment
2 MonthsLower risk of food allergy at three years old if breastfed onlyReduced risk of ovarian cancer in later life
3 MonthsFive times less likely to get diarrhoea now and a reduced risk for the whole yearFewer visits to GP as baby less often ill
4 MonthsHalf the risk of ear infections.  Less risk of asthma now and protection continues up to six yearsFeeling of empowerment at having been solely responsible for growing your baby to four months
5 MonthsFive times lower risk of urinary tract infectionsA lovely way to reconnect with the baby if you go to work
6 MonthsLower risk of eczema now and up to three years oldLess risk of osteoporosis in the long term
1 YearThree times less risk of becoming obese by age six and a lower risk of heart disease as an adultNo need to buy formula milk at all, saving at least £450 per year
2 YearsLikely to have higher average scores on intelligence testsExpect fewer visits to orthodontist when baby is a teenager.
Risk of breast cancer reduced by eight per cent.
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1 Comment

  1. Kara Guppy
    December 12, 2011 / 12:54 pm

    I have not seen this list before and it makes me proud to say that I have breastfed for all of mine for at least 2 years. My current baba is 10 months and I intend on doing the same.
    I do find that some people have a big prejudice though, especially the other half’s family who have only ever bottle fed!! I am proud that I have stuck to my guns and I plan on showing this to them!!
    Thank you :0)

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