ABC Medical Center > Digital magazine > Benefits of extended breastfeeding

Benefits of extended breastfeeding

23 August 2022

Key points:

  • Breastfeeding provides multiple benefits in the short term thanks to the milk nutrients.
  • Both mother and baby will benefit in the long term from the breastfeeding process.
  • Breastfeeding works to nurture the baby, but it is also a moment of emotional attachment between mother and child.

First-time mothers have many doubts regarding their pregnancy and the care of their babies. Dr. Martha Sandoval García, a pediatrician and breastfeeding advisor at ABC Medical Center, says that among the most frequent questions about breastfeeding are: Until what age should the baby be breastfed? What are the benefits of breastfeeding?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that you breastfeed exclusively until 6 months of age and, after this period, solid foods should be incorporated to supplement breast milk. After the first year, it is recommended to continue with the breastfeeding process and which can be up to two years or more.

“WHO and UNICEF recommend that children start breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life, which means that they are not provided with other food or fluids, not even water.1

The point at which you stop offering breast milk, known as weaning, should be an informed decision.

Dr. Sandoval that there is a mistaken idea that breast milk loses its properties after a year, but contrary to this belief, the mother’s body changes the type of production as the baby develops, adapting to the needs of each stage.

It must be remembered that Breastfeeding is not only a nutritional source but also has many immunological components; it is also a moment that creates an emotional attachment between the mother and her child, turning it into a bond, a source of love. In this way, what the mother offers after a year of breastfeeding is safety, well-being, and happiness to help the baby grow.

In addition to all this, the advantages of breastfeeding are not limited to the short term, in the long term it:

  • Reduces certain types of childhood cancers.
  • Helps improve the baby’s neurodevelopment.
  • It lowers the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases that could develop in adults.
  • A greater development of superior IQ has been detected in children who were breastfed after one year of life, compared to those who were breastfed for less time.

There are also benefits for the mother:

  • Breast cancer reduction.
  • Prevent other diseases including mental health as the risk of depression.
  • Reduce the risk of cervical cancer.

If after the baby’s first year, you continue to have doubts about the breastfeeding process, Dr. Sandoval recommends that you approach your doctor and be informed to make an assertive and informed decision. But never forget that breast milk is there to accompany the baby nutritionally and in its psycho-emotional development.

At the ABC Medical Center’s Pediatrics Center we can provide you with specialized care. Contact us!

Dra. Martha Sandoval García – Pediatrician and breastfeeding advisor at ABC Medical Center

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