Saturday, January 14, 2012

Benefits of Extended Breastfeeding

Extended breastfeeding is considered anything past one year. Obviously, I've hit that mark and surpassed it with both of my boys. I'm sure outside of a few in my and La Leche League social circles, people think I'm nuts for continuing past a year.

Well, the World Health Organizations recommends that children be breastfed until they are THREE. Yeah, that isn't a joke... They recommend three.

Babies' brains almost triple in size from birth to two years. Breastmilk provides a good supply of DHA, which will help my child's brain develop better. He's already a smarty-pants ;) Breastmilk also contains IGA, which helps keeps kids from getting sick by coating their intestinal lining. Yeah, I know... my kids have been sick for almost a month. Milk Dud got a milk version of the thing his older brother had. I blame my breastmilk ;) Breastfeeding helps their teeth align properly and helps with obesity when kids get older. It also provides significant amounts of nutrients to their diet.

Guess what, it benefits me, too. A study showed that for every year a woman breastfeeds, she reduces her breast cancer risk by 4.6%. It also reduces your risk of ovarian, uterine and endometrial cancers. My risk of osteoporosis is reduced as well. Type 2 diabetes risks are lower, so maybe I will even out the fact that I'm at increased risk for it due to my gestational diabetes.

So, don't ask me why I am still nursing. I just am :)

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