We have had quite a lot of mums asking about support and further information for feeding babies past the age of one year old. The Ministry of Health guidelines advise “there is no age when toddlers should stop breastfeeding, it is up to the mother and the child to decide”. The World Health Organisation certainly recommends that breastfeeding continue for children to at least to two years of age if possible.
For moral support you could link to the amazing mothers in our Facebook community as well as contacting your local La Leche League group and Wellchild provider. There are many mums out there breastfeeding their babies to 2 years and beyond, so don’t worry if it feels like you’re always being asked “Isn’t it about time you weaned?” or “Are you still breastfeeding” (as some of our Breastfeeding NZ community of mums tell us they experience regularly!) – as long as you and baby/toddler are happy, be proud of yourselves!
Further information can be found via the Q&A section of the Ministry of Health’s breastfeeding website: http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/breastfeeding-questions-older . As well as giving encouragement to continue feeding older babies, this particular section talks about the benefits of feeding older babies and toddlers and also how often they should be fed. We acknowledge the social stigma that can sometimes pressure mothers to stop feeding their older babies but the health and emotional benefits to both mother and baby are very clear.
The La Leche League FAQ’s may also provide you with good information. On their FAQ’s section (link http://www.llli.org/FAQ/FAQSubject.html?m=0,0,3 ) go to their “Extended Breastfeeding” section where you will find more helpful articles on feeding older babies.
So kia kaha, stay strong breastfeeding mothers! Remember we all support you here at the Breastfeeding NZ community to continue breastfeeding your older child.