Breastfeeding has a long list of benefits, from the antibodies your body makes especially for your baby, to the release of oxytocin and a chance to bond. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with bottle-feeding or supplementing with formula (or choosing and/or using formula from day one!) there are more than a few mental health benefits of extended breastfeeding that nursing moms should absolutely be aware of.
Extended breastfeeding, according to Parents, is when a mom nurses beyond her child’s first year of life and for as long as her and/or her child wants. According to KellyMom, while the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends moms breastfeed for two years, most moms in the United States stop breastfeeding their children before six months. A reported 81 percent of moms choose and/or are able to breastfeed initially, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but only 22 percent are exclusively breastfeeding by the six month mark. The sudden drop can be blamed on a variety of factors, according to USA Today, including a lack of postpartum support and paid maternity leave, the pump-and-work grind, breastfeeding pain, milk supply issues, and moms simply choosing what’s best for them.
The Mayo Clinic recommends extended breastfeeding as long as you and your child want to continue. So while you should never feel pressured to nurse for a certain period of time, or at…
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