Motherhood is different for every mom, and the breastfeeding journey is no exception. Specifically, there is no set time frame for breastfeeding that will work for every mother and every baby. Never fear, new mamas – Pumps for Mom is here to present the facts so you can decide how long you want to breastfeed based on what’s best for you and your little one.
How Long Should I Be Breastfeeding Exclusively?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) actually has some pretty clear recommendations when it comes to this question. When possible, moms are encouraged to provide breast milk exclusively for the first six months of life, whether through breastfeeding or expressing milk using a breast pump. Further, mothers should continue giving breast milk with complementary foods for another year or longer. Throughout the first six months of a baby’s life, breast milk plays an essential role in developing the immune system and reduces the likelihood a baby suffers from a severe medical condition like a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection. Additionally, breastfeeding a newborn encourages normative growth during this critical development period.
Breastfeeding Beyond 6 Months
After feeding your little one only breast milk for the first six months of life, breastfeeding will look a little different. Adding solid foods into the mix makes life more complicated for new moms, and it may feel like a challenge to continue breastfeeding as you struggle to find solid foods your little one will eat. However, it’s important for moms to remember that the longer they continue to breastfeed, the more long-term benefits their baby will receive. Breastfeeding has been associated with a reduced incidence of a range of medical conditions, including clinical asthma, type 1 diabetes, and celiac disease. A few extra months of breastfeeding can continue to build up this valuable protection that will stay with babies as they grow. A steady supply of breast milk also ensures your little one is getting all the nutrients they need, especially if they are a picky eater when it comes to solid foods.
How Long Should I Breastfeed?
There is no clear rule that determines how long moms should breastfeed. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the continuation of breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods until the child is two years of age or longer. The AAP and WHO may recommend these timelines, but they are just that – a recommendation. If your little one is growing well with breast milk and you can continue providing it, there is no harm in continuing to breastfeed past your baby’s first or second birthday. On the other hand, if you reach the six-month mark of exclusive breastfeeding and are struggling to keep up with your little one’s demand, you can introduce solids and start weaning him or her off breast milk.
The bottom line is that you decide how long you should breastfeed your baby. You can consider the recommendations of health organizations and your family members, but breastfeeding is different for everyone. If you have questions, talk to your pediatrician and trust your gut! You know what’s best for you and your baby.
Pumps for Mom is passionate about making moms’ lives easier. With our variety of insurance covered breast pumps and maternity compression garments, Pumps for Mom makes sure new and expectant moms get the tools they need to start their breastfeeding journey off right. Our experts are ready to walk you through every step of the process so you can get your breast pump through insurance without the hassle. Explore insurance breast pumps covered by your insurance using our simple qualification form, and let Pumps for Mom take care of the rest.