Ashley Mozingo

Hi everyone! My name is Ashley, and I am a stay at home mom to two girls, Paislee, 3 and Keely, 1. My husband is in the Coast Guard, and is currently stationed at a Coast Guard unit on Camp Lejune. We have been married for five years now and have spent two of those years in Alaska, where Paislee was born, and two in Maine, where we had Keely. We were lucky to get stationed here in 2012, and call North Carolina "home". We were both born and raised in different cities in eastern North Carolina, and we are super excited to get to spend some time here with our girls and introduce them to some of our favorite places that we had as children. Before I met my husband, I attended East Carolina University, where I earned my Bachelors Degree in Communications. I have a love for writing, and a huge passion for being a mom, so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to write about my experiences and exciting moments of this rocky ride that we all call 'Motherhood'.

kelly-mulder

Why You Should Breastfeed Your Child Until Age Two

So I’ve finally received my first blogging request (and it only took fourteen months ;) ). Sara wanted to know what research I was talking about when I said it was recommended to breastfeed until the age of two. If you ever have a topic you want me to write about, feel free to comment on any of my posts. I’d be happy to fulfill your request!

Let me tell you what each major (and reputable) organization says. This information is taken directly from this site. (No, it’s not me, but I do share a name with a great resource!)

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that “Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child… Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother… There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer” (AAP 2005).

The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that breastfeeding continue throughout the first year of life and that “As recommended by the WHO, breastfeeding should ideally continue beyond infancy, but this is not the cultural norm in the United States and requires ongoing support and encouragement. It has been estimated that a natural weaning age for humans is between two and seven years. Family physicians should be knowledgeable regarding the ongoing benefits to the child of extended breastfeeding, including continued immune protection, better social adjustment, and having a sustainable food source in times of emergency. The longer women breastfeed, the greater the decrease in their risk of breast cancer.” They also note that “If the child is younger than two years of age, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned” (AAFP 2008).

A US Surgeon General has stated that it is a lucky baby who continues to nurse until age two (Novello 1990).

The World Health Organization emphasizes the importance of nursing up to two years of age or beyond (WHO 1993, WHO 2002).

Scientific research by Katherine A. Dettwyler, PhD shows that 2.5 to 7.0 years of nursing is what our children have been designed to expect (Dettwyler 1995).

More information supporting breastfeeding to two years of age or beyond can be found here or here or here or here.

What do you think of this information?

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4 Comments on “Why You Should Breastfeed Your Child Until Age Two”

  • Onslow Theckla November 23rd, 2010 11:29 am

    Kelly, is this something you’ve also discussed with your pediatrician? I’m curious to understand how the responded. Also, what are the implications for the mother who chooses to breastfeed until age 2? Is this something you have considered discussing with your OB as well?

    Obviously this is a personal choice and those who are able should not be ostracized or criticized, especially when there is evidence to support the decision. Personally I think it is brave of you and salute your choice. Thanks for posting the additional information.

  • Kelly Mulder Kelly November 23rd, 2010 12:25 pm

    Hey Theckla,

    The Naval Hospital is VERY supportive of breastfeeding and I am always commended for continuing to breastfeed Nora. On particular occasions I have been instructed to increase breastfeeding (ex. when Nora is sick) but I have never been instructed to decrease or stop.

    There are no negative implications for a mother who chooses to breastfeed until age two that I have been able to discover through my research. It appears God has designed our bodies perfectly. I have ben able to find in my research benefits of continuing to breastfeed. This information (copied and pasted below) is also taken from http://www.kellymom.com

    MOTHERS also benefit from breastfeeding past infancy

    Extended nursing delays the return of fertility in some women by suppressing ovulation (References).

    Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer (References).

    Studies have found a significant inverse association between duration of lactation and breast cancer risk.

    Breastfeeding reduces the risk of ovarian cancer (References).

    Breastfeeding reduces the risk of uterine cancer (References).

    Breastfeeding reduces the risk of endometrial cancer (References).

    Breastfeeding protects against osteoporosis. During lactation a mother may experience decreases of bone mineral. A nursing mom’s bone mineral density may be reduced in the whole body by 1 to 2 percent while she is still nursing. This is gained back, and bone mineral density may actually increase, when the baby is weaned from the breast. This is not dependent on additional calcium supplementation in the mother’s diet. (References).

    Breastfeeding reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. (References).

    Breastfeeding has been shown to decrease insulin requirements in diabetic women (References).

    Breastfeeding moms tend to lose weight easier (References).

    I agree with you that this is a personal choice. I would never judge someone who chooses to formula feed a child and I hope no one judges me for continuing to breastfeed. In my opinion there are no ‘right answers’ in parenting. There are merely different strategies that work for different families.

    Thanks for commenting!
    Kelly

  • Heather November 23rd, 2010 11:51 pm

    I haven’t really decided how long I’ll breastfeed for. My initial goal was to make it to 6 months, and now that we’re at 7.5 months, I figure we’ll see what he’s in the mood for in the long term. I’m just hoping he holds up his interest through the holidays so that the extra calorie burn I get from breastfeeding will keep off the holiday pounds. haha! I think I’ll probably breastfeed until he’s 1, unless he self-weans before then.

    It’s funny to think about how painful and awkward breastfeeding was the first week. I hated it so much. Then one day everything clicked, and now it’s no big deal.

  • Kelly Mulder Kelly Mulder November 25th, 2010 9:29 am

    Hey Heather,

    Yay! for meeting your original goal! I love that your new strategy is just to see what your baby is up for in terms of breastfeeding. I really do think that each baby is different and some will wean by choice a lot earlier than other babies. I think if you pay attention to him and you, you’ll know the perfect time to stop.

    I agree with you how funny it is to look back at how it was to breastfeed in the beginning! Though you’re lucky for only having a rough 1 week. I had a rough 8 weeks and it sucked. But I’m happy to say we moved past that! Obviously you have too! Congrats!

    Keep me posted on when you guys stop. I’d love to hear about it :)

    Kelly

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