how long should you breastfeed

Breastfeeding is a natural way to feed the babies. In the process of feeding the babies, they latch on or attach their mouth onto the end of the breasts, through a motion of suck, and drink milk which is made by the mother’s body. Breastfeeding helps to protect babies against a lot of things, Specially, it helps babies to prevent medical conditions, such as ear infections, asthma, diabetes, obesity and more. It is considered to be one of the best sources of nutrition for most infants. Breastfeeding can be a very positive experience, for both the mother and the baby. They feel special bond and closeness with each other through breastfeeding, and it also gives the baby ideal nutrition that is required. Mother and baby both reap many health benefits out of it. And also, it doesn’t cost any money. But there is a common question that women or mothers usually have about it, and that is- how long should you breastfeed?. 

It is actually very important to know about this thing, as it is a very crucial yet sensitive matter. So if you also have this question in mind or want to know about it with a lot of other details, then we got you covered through this article.

As you scroll down, you will find out complete details related to breastfeeding, such as how long a mother should breastfeed, what are its benefits, what legal rights do mothers who breastfeed have and much more. So just keep reading below to check out all the info.

How long should you breastfeed?

So according to various sources and recommendations provided by high-level doctors, infants are generally suggested to be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months, and then continue to breastfeed while introducing suitable complementary foods, until the child is 12 months or 1 years old or older than it. Then, the WHO i.e. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeed a child up to 2 years or more. And so, it depends on how long the mother and the child want to keep it up.

Mothers should definitely be encouraged to breastfeed their child for at least 1 year. It is said that the longer an infant is breastfed by mother, the greater the protection a child gets from certain long-term disease and illness. And so the more months, or even years, a woman breastfeeds her children, the greater it benefits to health for the long-term. 

Also, keep in mind that breastfeeding for a few weeks also has many benefits. Your family or loved ones might have different beliefs on how long should you breastfeed, but at the end of the day, it’s totally up to you. Only you and your baby knows what’s best for both of you, so just listen to your heart!

What are the benefits of breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is considered good for both mothers and infants. Breast milk is actually one of the best sources of nutrition for most infants. And as an infant grows, breast milk also changes, so that the needs of the infant’s nutrition can be fulfilled. Breastfeeding helps to fight a lot of diseases and illnesses as well, some of which are as follows-

  1. Mothers who breastfeed their child have a lower risk of developing the following-
  1. Ovarian cancer
  2. Breast cancer
  3. Type 2 diabetes
  4. High blood pressure
  1. Infants who are breastfed have lower risk of developing the following-
  1. Acute Otitis media (ear infections)
  2. Severe lower respiratory disease
  3. Obesity
  4. Asthma
  5. Type 1 diabetes

What are the legal rights that breastfeeding mothers have?

As you just read above about how long should you breastfeed, it is also important to understand about the legal rights that mothers who breastfeed have. So they are as follows-

  1. Workplace laws- The PUMP ie. Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act, which is an extension of the FLSA ie. Fair Labour Standards Act, requires more employers to support the mothers who are breastfeeding to express breast milk at least for 1 year after each of her child birth by providing these mothers with a suitable break time from work, and a private, clean space, which is not a bathroom to express the breast milk. 
  1. Breastfeeding laws- It is heartbreaking to say that not all the countries and states allow women to breastfeed in a public location. But as far as the United States of America is concerned, its 50 states, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have laws that majorly allow women to breastfeed in any private or public location. 
  1. Travel laws- Air travellers are usually permitted to bring breast milk, formula and juice in excess of 3.4 ounces in their carry baggage by the TSA ie. Transportation Security Administration. It also does not need to fit within a quart size bag only. Freezer packs, ice packs or any other accessory which is needed to keep the milk or liquid cool is also allowed to carry in the bags.

What are the changes that a body faces after breastfeeding?

Now, as we know, how long should you breastfeed and its benefits to both the mother and baby, let us look at some possible changes that a mother might experience after the phase of breastfeeding-

  1. Fertility- If you are someone who is only feeding her baby breastmilk, then your chances of getting pregnant becomes very low. This can also result in the delay of menstrual cycles and normal ovulation. But it is also not a guaranteed way to prevent pregnancy. And so the chances of you getting pregnant rises when you stop breastfeeding or drop the sessions of nursing.
  1. Breast shape and size- So as you stop breastfeeding, the size of your breasts is likely to get small again. However, this might take a few months. The breasts might end up in a slightly different density or size than they were before you got pregnant. So if you ever feel too full or engorged, then try to use a pump or your hand to release a little amount of milk. 

By emmasen

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