5 Amazing Benefits of Breastfeeding a Toddler

If you’re still breastfeeding, you may be wondering when you’re going to stop. Many moms start their breastfeeding journey with an arbitrary end date in mind, often around the six months or one year mark. But what happens when that end date comes and goes and your baby still seems more than happy to keep breastfeeding? Extended breastfeeding (breastfeeding for over twelve months) offers many benefits to both mom and toddler. Here are just some of the amazing benefits of breastfeeding a toddler:

  1. Nutrition

Your toddler will still be getting plenty of nutritional value from breast milk long into the second year. Your milk doesn’t become nutritionally lacking as soon as that first birthday candle is blown out, instead it continues to offer your child plenty of nutrition. When you have been breastfeeding for over a year, your breast milk contains higher levels of fat and energy content, making it the perfect fuel for your growing toddler.

  1. Comfort

Breastfeeding isn’t just about nutrition, it is also a vital source of support for many breastfed babies. Bumped heads, scary dreams and poorly tummies can all be breastfed away thanks to the comfort provided by this closeness. If you continue breastfeeding, you’ll continue to be able to use this as your go-to whenever your child needs comforting. It’s lazy and easy and lovely – what more could you want?

  1. Connection

Now that your baby is getting older, you may be spending more time apart. Perhaps you are increasing your hours at the office, heading back to work or picking up your social life again. Whatever you’re doing, breastfeeding can provide you with the perfect way to reconnect with your toddler after some time apart. If you’re still feeding in the night, it also provides you with a great opportunity for nighttime connection. As your toddler grows more independent, you may at times feel somewhat disconnected from her, but breastfeeding gives you a foolproof way to reconnect.

  1. Immunity

Your child still has an immature immune system and this leaves her at an increased risk of catching colds, viruses and tummy bugs. Breastfeeding will continue to offer your child a boost of antibodies and immunity from your own immune system.

  1. Food

There are few things more stressful than having a poorly toddler. When you have a poorly toddler, it’s worrying to see them lose weight when they’re off their food. A breastfed toddler will probably continue to breastfeed throughout an illness, even when she doesn’t want to eat solid food. This can give you some peace of mind that your child is getting at least some nutrition to help her stay strong and fight the infection.

Are you planning to continue breastfeeding into toddlerhood?

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.


You’ve been breastfeeding your baby from the start. You’ve gotten past those two-hourly feedings your baby had in the first weeks, to starting solids and drinking from a cup. What now?

When to wean

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, then continued breastfeeding while solids are introduced during the second six months of life. Weaning can happen at one year, but breastfeeding can continue as long as mom and baby are both happy with it. The World Health Organization recommends nursing to two years or beyond. Experts say the natural age for weaning is between 2.5 years and 7 years.

Weaning without worries

If you want to wean your baby, you need to consider his age and his developmental stage. If your baby is younger than one year, those at-breast feedings will need to be replaced with expressed breastmilk or formula.

If your baby is older than one year, you can gradually wean from the breast by eliminating one feeding every few days. If your baby resists or regresses in other areas, then weaning is going too fast for him. Gradual weaning is also preferred so that your breasts do not become engorged, risking plugged ducts and mastitis for you.

For older babies, weaning strategies might include: distractions at normal feeding times, substitutions with other foods, shortened nursing sessions, and don’t offer don’t refuse.

Expect weaning to take time – maybe even months. Night nursing and naptime sessions are typically the last to go.

What if you’re being pressured to wean?

How do you feel about continuing to breastfeed? It’s entirely your own private decision about whether or not to continue nursing your baby. The benefits of breastfeeding don’t end just because your baby turns a certain age. How you deal with judgments from others depends on how close you are to that person. You may be more emotionally offended if the person questioning your continued breastfeeding is your partner or a family member. You can always use phrases, such as “My doctor thinks this is best for our baby” or “This is working for our family” when people start asking when you’re going to wean.

Extended breastfeeding

Breastmilk doesn’t turn to water at one year. It continues to be a source of nutrients for your toddler. Your child will still get the immunological benefits along with the calories and comfort of breastfeeding no matter how many months (or years) old he is.

How long are you planning to nurse your baby? What are your #breastfeedinggoals?

Written by Michelle, childbirth instructor, lactation consultant, and mother to 4 busy kids

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice.  All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.