Toddlers and Milk
“The physical act of breastfeeding is more than the quantity of milk that is supplied, as you will find when you hold your baby in your arms. Breastfeeding is warmth, nutrition, and love all rolled into one.” quoted from La Leche League, who describes breastfeeding perfectly. Keep this in mind as you continue your breastfeeding journey and your newborn turns into an infant who turns into a toddler and you may wonder if you should continue breastfeeding.
Benefits for Toddlers
Toddlers breastfeed for similar benefits as babies. Breastfed toddlers get nutrition and comfort from breastfeeding as they are able to feel safe and connected to you. The nutritional benefits of breastmilk continue to help your toddler through illness or tantrums, which helps relieve some stress.
You may also want to continue breastfeeding to continue feeling close, being able to calm your rambunctious child, while also providing health benefits. The hormones that your body releases during a nursing session help you to relax physically; they also lower your blood pressure.
Your breastmilk will continue to provide immunities and vitamins for your toddler. For toddlers between the ages of 12 months and 23 months, 448 mL (about 15 oz) of breast milk will provide the following nutritional requirements:
- 43% of Protein
- 36% of Calcium
- 75% of Vitamin A
- 94% of Vitamin B12
- 60% of Vitamin C
- 76% of Folate
How Much and How Often?
The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond, but also states that “from the age of 6 months, children should begin eating safe and adequate complementary foods while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond”. There is no expectation or recommendation that your child is solely being nourished on breastmilk (or formula) alone after 6 months.
After the age of 1, there is not a recommended amount of times you should breastfeed. Every baby is different! Some may be down to 1-2 breastfeeding sessions per day, while others are continuing to receive breastmilk several times a day.
Breastfeeding is an amazing process. There are a variety of benefits for both baby and mom - physically and emotionally. And the best part is, these benefits occur for the duration of your breastfeeding journey. Come join us in the Official Milky Mama Lactation Support Facebook Group! Follow us on instagram at milkymamallc.