Breastfeeding 6 Months vs 1 Year: What Is Better?
What do the WHO and the UNICEF recommend when it comes to breastfeeding a baby?
The facts show that malnutrition or under-nutrition is the reason behind 45% of the child deaths that happen in a year globally. The WHO and UNICEF say that breastfeeding the baby can be a way to combat the increasing rate of child mortality due to malnutrition.
The first two years of the baby's life is considered to be very important for the overall well-being and growth. Breastfeeding during this period has been proved to help reduce mortality and morbidity.
The WHO and UNICEF recommend
Early initiation of breastfeeding within 1 hour of birthExclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, andIntroduction of nutritionally-adequate and safe complementary (solid) foods at 6 months together with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.
In this article, we shall take a look at the time line and benefits of breastfeeding until the baby turns one year of age. If you are in doubt regarding the important decision of breastfeeding, read on for help.
Time-line Of Breastfeeding & Its Benefits
If you are a new mother and wondering about how long you must feed your baby, you will find the following helpful. Given below are the benefits that your baby would receive if fed for a particular amount of time. Take a look.
Breastfeeding for 2 weeks after birth:
The first vaccine
Feeding during the first two weeks ensure that your baby receives a good amount of colostrum. This colostrum is known as the baby's first vaccine.
Helps in healing
The oxytocin released during the breastfeeding helps the mother heal and recover.
Breastfeeding for 1 month to 6 weeks:
Helps build immune system
The breastfeeding helps the baby develop a good and mature immune system.
Giving breast milk to the baby at this stage makes sure that the baby is protected from chest infections, till he is seven years of age. It also helps prevent digestive problems and allergies.
Breastfeeding for 2 months:
Less risk of SIDS
A baby who is breastfed for at least 2 months has a lesser chance of dying due to SIDS.
Less food allergies
A breastfed baby can stay free of food allergies till 3 years of age.
Breastfeeding for 3 to 4 months:
Less risk of asthma
A baby that has been breastfed for 3 to 4 months has a lesser chance of developing asthma and other respiratory infections.
Less risk of diabetes
A baby breastfed for 3 to 4 months has a very low chance of developing diabetes.
Prevents postpartum depression
Mothers who breastfeed till 3 to 4 months have a very good chance of preventing postpartum depression.
Breastfeeding for 6 months:
Lower risk of ear infections
A baby who is breastfed for the first 6 months of his life has a very low risk of getting eye infections.
Lesser chance of developing cancer
The baby who has been fed breast milk for the first 6 months escapes a lot of childhood cancers.
Lesser chance of developing breast cancer in the mother
If the mother breastfeeds the baby for at least 6 months, she has a very low chance of developing breast cancer.
Breastfeeding till 9 months:
Active and independent baby
When the baby is fed with the mother's breast milk for nine months, the baby develops to be very independent. The baby is seen to be very active too.
Comfort during growth spurts and injury
The baby gets a lot of comfort from breastfeeding when he passes through the falls and injuries. Growth spurts are easier for the baby to manage too.
Breastfeeding for 1 year:
Breastfeeding for a year is very economical and helps you save a lot of money that would be spent on formula milk.
Prevents obesity in the baby
Breastfeeding till the baby is one makes sure that your baby does not become obese when he grows up.
Lesser chance of heart diseases
A baby who is breastfed for a year has a lesser chance of developing heart diseases in the future.
Lesser need for orthodontic treatment.
It is seen that the act of suckling of the mother's breast helps in the proper development of the teeth. It also comes out perfectly aligned in a breastfed mother. A baby who is breastfed for a year most probably won't need orthodontic treatment later on in life.
Lesser need for speech therapy
A baby who is breastfed till one year of age will not need speech therapy later on in life. This is due to the fact that the breastfeeding helps in the proper development of the muscles in the mouth and tongue. It is these muscles that help in speech.
Breastfeeding 6 Months Versus 1 Year: What Is Better?
As you may see from the time-line for breastfeeding, the benefits of breastfeeding are immense. Though the benefit of breastfeeding for 6 months are many, stopping the breastfeeding there will make your child lose out on the benefits of breastfeeding for a year. It is surely better if you breastfeed for 1 year; but breastfeeding at least during the first 6 months is essential.
Breastfeeding Beyond 1 Year
The WHO and UNICEF recommend breastfeeding beyond 1 year. The benefits of breast milk never cease and it can be fed to the babies till 2 years or more. It is an easy way to comfort your baby. The baby has a better emotional development and he will feel more secure and stable.
Only thing to keep in mind is that a baby who is older than 2 years has a greater need of iron than the mother's milk can provide. It is important to ensure that the breastfeeding is done together with the addition of nutritious food that is rich in iron.
Neonate Nest's stand
By all means, breastfeed as long as you can. We understand the hassle that comes along with it but never forget all the benefits your little one (and you) are getting!
Source: www.boldsky.com, Subodini Menon