Prolonged nursing

Isabella asked, “Are their health benefits to nursing a baby over the age of one year?”

While there are some health benefits, the best reason to continue nursing past a year is if mom, baby, and daddy are all enjoying it and would like to continue. If that’s the case, then I’d wholeheartedly endorse continuing to nurse. But if by a year someone in the family has had enough and would like breastfeeding to stop, there’s no compelling medical reason to push the issue.

Many families find prolonged nursing to be very rewarding and helpful. If you google that phrase, you’ll find some quite heartwarming stories. However, sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. Some babies decide to wean before a year, and fighting their desire to stop isn’t going to work very well. Other times, mom finds that she’s just had enough. I’ve also met families where mom and baby are happy to continue, but dad is hoping that nursing will stop. He might feel that he’s lost some intimacy, or he might feel “left out.” The needs of a married couple are very important to the overall health of a family, and sometimes we cater too much to the needs of children at the expense of the parent’s own relationship.

Nursing can be a wonderful experience, and one very important way to help keep babies healthy. Many families are happy to continue nursing past a year. This doesn’t work well for everyone, though, and I wouldn’t want any family to feel guilty if they decide not to continue nursing.

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