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 Breastfeeding||For Baby||For Mother|
|First feed||Helps to stabilise baby’s blood sugars and protect baby’s gut||A great opportunity for the first skin to skin cuddle|
|1 Day||The antibodies in mother’s colostrum provide natural immunity from infection||Helps womb to contract towards normal size|
|2-3 Days||Sticky black meconium is cleared more readily from baby’s bowel||Instant relief for hot, swollen breasts when your milk comes in|
|1 Week||Transition to world outside womb is eased||Frequent feeds mean time to sit or lie down and for you to get to know each other|
|2 Weeks||Food and drink always ready at the right temperature, adapting to the baby’s needs||Hormones help you get back to sleep after night feeds|
|4 Weeks||For premature babies, lower risk factors for heart disease in later life||Saves time sterilising and making up bottles|
|6 Weeks||Half the risk of chest infections now and up to seven years old||Breastfeeding likely to be easier and you can go out and about without bottle feeding equipment|
|2 Months||Lower risk of food allergy at three years old if breastfed only||Reduced risk of ovarian cancer in later life|
|3 Months||Five times less likely to get diarrhoea now and a reduced risk for the whole year||Fewer visits to GP as baby less often ill|
|4 Months||Half the risk of ear infections. Less risk of asthma now and protection continues up to six years||Feeling of empowerment at having been solely responsible for growing your baby to four months|
|5 Months||Five times lower risk of urinary tract infections||A lovely way to reconnect with the baby if you go to work|
|6 Months||Lower risk of eczema now and up to three years old||Less risk of osteoporosis in the long term|
|1 Year||Three times less risk of becoming obese by age six and a lower risk of heart disease as an adult||No need to buy formula milk at all, saving at least £450 per year|
|2 Years||Likely to have higher average scores on intelligence tests||Expect fewer visits to orthodontist when baby is a teenager.
Risk of breast cancer reduced by eight per cent.