There are a lot of health benefits for Mom and baby when it comes to breastfeeding. How old is too old for a child to be breastfed? It's really up to Mom.
• Centers for Disease Control & Prevention:
Breastfeeding: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
• Breast Feeding: National Institutes of Health
• American Academy of Pediatrics Breastfeeding Initiatives
• World Health Organization (WHO) Breastfeeding
• WHO Infantfeeding
• La Leche League of Connecticut:
• Wikipedia: Breastfeeding
1) WHO recommends: exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. At six months, other foods should complement breastfeeding for up to two years or more.
2) Health benefits for infants: It gives infants all the nutrients they need for healthy development. It is safe and contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses.
3) Benefits for mothers: It reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer later in life, helps women return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster, and lowers rates of obesity.
4) Long-term benefits for children: Adults who were breastfed as babies often have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol, as well as lower rates of overweight, obesity and type-2 diabetes.
5) Why not infant formula?: Infant formula does not contain the antibodies found in breast milk.
6) HIV and breastfeeding: An HIV-infected mother can pass the infection to her infant during pregnancy, delivery and through breastfeeding.
7) Regulating breast-milk substitutes: An international code to regulate the marketing of breast-milk substitutes calls for all formula labels and information to state the benefits of breastfeeding and the health risks of substitutes
8) Support for mothers is essential: Breastfeeding has to be learned and many women encounter difficulties at the beginning.
9) Work and breastfeeding: Many mothers who return to work abandon breastfeeding partially or completely because they do not have sufficient time, or a place to breastfeed, express and store their milk.
10) Phasing in new foods: To meet the growing needs of babies at six months of age, complementary foods should be introduced as they continue to breastfeed. Foods for the baby can be specially prepared or modified from family meals.