What is extended breastfeeding, anyway? How do you determine when you have crossed over from “regular” breastfeeding and into “extended” breastfeeding? I have heard many opinions about this, so let’s get right down to it.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends babies breastfeed for 2 years. The World Health Organization (or WHO) recommends up to age 3. My point of view is really anything beyond the 2 years that is recommended by the AAP. I breastfed all my kids for over a year and I don’t really consider that extended. Some consider anything over the first year to be extended breastfeeding. However you look at it, it’s beneficial for mom and baby.
Society is pretty vocal with their judgment about this particular topic. Kind of that no filter, offensive type of judgment. Since I work with breastfeeding mothers, I will celebrate any breastfeeding milestone. I am also a safe place for mothers who are breastfeeding into toddlerhood. Often mothers won’t even tell their family members or their doctor that they are still breastfeeding for fear of the backlash that may come with it.
As with any other aspect of parenting (or really anything else you do in your life), extended breastfeeding is a choice that is made between mother and baby and the family, and doesn’t need the vote of approval from anyone else. If it’s working for you, keep it up.
Week 4 of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast is all about extended breastfeeding. Interested in hearing more? Check it out here.