9 Women Who Refuse to Stop Breastfeeding Their Babies Just Because Society Says So
When it comes to breastfeeding, there are women who choose to do it and those who choose not to. While not every woman has a great experience with it, many say that they enjoy the bonding experience between them and their baby. It’s one of the most calm and nurturing moments of the day and try to enjoy it as much as possible. And besides this aspect, there are also many benefits that both the mother and the infant enjoy.
1. Stronger immune system
Breast milk is high in white blood cells, which are immune cells. This means that extended breastfeeding can prolong the time your baby gets immune system boosts directly from you. Furthermore, your breast milk can adapt to what your baby needs, and will contain the right antibodies to fight off various infections.
Additionally, the quality of your breast milk gets better with time, so the longer you keep breastfeeding, the more health benefits it can bring to your child. And those benefits last even after you stop nursing. All in all, breastfeeding for 12 months or more has been shown to improve health and reduce the risk of certain diseases.
2. Healthy gut microbiome
Our microbiome, which is important for our development, nutrition, and immunity, is influenced by breastfeeding. And the baby’s developing microbiome needs digestive bacteria to develop properly, which your breast milk can provide. Breast milk actually contains a wide diversity of microbes, which are beneficial for your baby’s maturing bacterial flora. So the longer you keep nursing, the stronger your child’s microbiome becomes.
3. Better sleep patterns
Breastfeeding can improve sleep-wake rhythms in infants. Throughout the day, the chemical composition of your breast milk doesn`t stay the same, so the levels of certain chemicals change. For example, while the hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep, is secreted during the night in adults, this doesn’t happen in infants. This hormone has a relaxing effect, and the breast milk that contains it helps improve your baby’s sleep and reduce colic.
4. Benefits for the mother
Breastfeeding longer can actually have positive effects not only on babies, but also on mothers!
- If breastfeeding continues for at least 6 months, it can help with weight loss.
- A study has shown that mothers who breastfeed for more that 12 months have a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Prolonged lactation is associated with stronger bones later in life.
- Breastfeeding for more than 12 months has been linked to a reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Extended lactation can have contraceptive effects.
- Breastfeeding longer is associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer.
- Extended breastfeeding is associated with reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes.
Women who endorse extended breastfeeding
Mayim Bialik, actress and author, has 2 boys. She revealed that she nursed her younger son, Fred, for 4 years and 3 months. She noted, ’’I loved nursing Fred. And Fred loved and needed nursing. It was the best nutrition, nurturing, and bonding ever.’’ Bialik was also honest about the challenges that come with nursing, admitting that it ’’was never not painful, and I battled thrush numerous times.’’
Thandie Newton, who has 3 children, continues nursing her youngest 2-year-old. She described it as ’’perfect happiness’’ and added, ’’This is what my body is made for.’’
Selma Blair gave birth to her son at 40 and was photographed nursing him when he was 2 years old. Blair is also an advocate of public breastfeeding and has noted, “I don’t care who I offend — my baby wants to eat. If I can’t get a cover over me quick enough, so be it.”
Coco Austin was still nursing her 5 1/2-year-old daughter Chanel. The mom of one revealed, ’’Chanel still likes my breasts.’’ She added that nursing is, “a big bonding moment for a mother and her child.”
Austin also explained that this bond “makes me feel wanted.” It is reported that Chanel also likes to eat food, but still loves to hang on her mom’s breasts.
How do you feel about extended breastfeeding? Do you think that a mother should just keep nursing her kids until they no longer feel the need to do that?