One of The Many Benefits I Love About Full-Term Breastfeeding

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about the long-term benefits of breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

There was once a time where I had no intentions of breastfeeding past 1 year. While I was pregnant with my second child I started to read about long-term breastfeeding and was amazed at how many benefits there were for both the mother and baby. It is really hard for me to pick just one because I love so many of them, but for time’s sake I will just share one.

Health is one word that is constantly on my mind. The health of my children is a big deal to me as I assume it is to most parents. I am currently working on a degree in health promotion with a minor in nutrition so it doesn’t help that I am surrounded by everything health related. My son who is currently breastfeeding at 22 months started out as a really great eater but started getting quite picky in the last few months. It is so comforting to me that he can get a good amount of his daily energy and nutrient requirements through breast milk. I don’t have to worry about supplementing with vitamins or wonder if he is getting the nutrition his growing body needs.

One of the reasons I decided to continue to breastfeed past a year has to do with the antibodies that are present in breast milk. The amount of antibodies actually increases so that toddlers who are nursing less frequently are still getting a good amount of antibodies when they do nurse. My son is a September baby and I had originally thought I would just nurse through the winter and spring after he turned one in hopes that I could keep him healthier and shorten the duration when he did get an illness. After the winter and spring had come and gone I started thinking about the illnesses I had seen in my children over the previous months. My daughter was in kindergarten at the time and was bringing home all kinds of fun sicknesses, many of which we caught as well. My son, without fail, was better 2-3 days sooner than the rest of us with each sickness that ravaged our house. In fact he got sick far less than any of our household. It was always so comforting to me that during an illness he would continue to nurse frequently even when he didn’t want to eat and therefore staying hydrated and getting the nutrition his sick body needed.

One illness in particular stands out in my mind. It was December and we attended a boutique at a friend’s home. Little did we know, her son had hand foot and mouth disease but wasn’t showing any symptoms at the time. My son had been playing with this little boy for a bit and so when I found out he was sick I began watching my son and nursing him frequently. Sure enough a few days later he came down with a fever for three days straight. He was miserable but didn’t show any other symptoms. On the second day he got a small rash on his arm but I figured it was just from the fever. The rash gradually spread to include a few spots on his feet and a few more on his other arm near his hand. After the rash began to spread I knew he had hand, foot and mouth like my friend’s son. The surprising part was how mild my son’s symptoms were compared to my friend’s son. Her son had blisters all over his hands, feet and in his mouth. They looked so very painful and he was absolutely miserable. My little guy was definitely not feeling well but had such a mild case and never had any blisters of pain where his rash was. I am convinced that because he was still being breastfed he was able to get better quicker and only developed a mild case. Having sick kids as a mom is so hard, especially since we are often the ones caring for them the majority of the time while our spouse works. It definitely takes a toll on me physically and mentally when I am taking care of sick children and being able to help prevent as well as reduce the duration of an illness is a huge benefit in my book. I am so grateful that I can still nourish my son while helping out his developing immune system.

Danielle is a stay at home mom of two great kids, a wife, and a student. She has a passion for normalizing breastfeeding and helping mothers and babies on their breastfeeding journey. She plans to become an IBCLC after finishing her degree. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors, reading, and curling up with a purring cat.

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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