Saturday, June 26, 2010

Some facts regarding extended breastfeeding...

In addition to yesterdays blog about extended breastfeeding, here are some interesting facts regarding the matter.

  • Breastmilk continues to provide substantial nutrients well past the first year of life, including protein, fat, and most vitamins.
  • In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:
    • 29% of energy requirements
    • 43% of protein requirements
    • 36% of calcium requirements
    • 75% of vitamin A requirements
    • 76% of folate requirements
    • 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
    • 60% of vitamin C requirements 
  • Nursing toddlers between the ages of 16 and 30 months have been found to have fewer illnesses and illnesses of shorter duration than their non-nursing peers
  • Some of the immune factors in breastmilk increase in concentration during the second year and also during the weaning process. 
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that "Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child... Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother... There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer." (AAP 2005)
  • The World Health Organization emphasizes the importance of nursing up to two years of age or beyond (WHO 1993, WHO 2002).
  • In the US in 2005 only 17% of mothers breastfed their babies to the age of 1. 
  • By the age of 18 months less than 5% of American children (in 2005) were still breastfeeding.
  • Breastmilk changes as the child gets older.  The makeup of nutrients and fat changes and grows with the child.  It has been shown that the fat content of milk expressed by a mother who has been breastfeeding for longer than a year is higher than milk expressed by mothers who haven't been breastfeeding for as long.
(Facts taken from and this article.)


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