The WHO stipulates that all babies must be breastfed exclusively for six months, and that breastfeeding should continue for two years and beyond.
Many people gasp in horror at this, but I’m sure that the WHO has done their research (okay, I know they have) and has reasons for believing that ALL babies, in ALL nations would thrive best if they were breastfed exclusively for six months (exclusive breastfeeding means ONLY BREASTMILK) and, with additional foods, breastfed until at least two years of age.
In fact, many, many women do follow WHO guidelines. There are many babies who have been exclusively breastfed for six months, and we see more and more nursing toddlers these days. Many more women (me, for one) almost manage, nursing exclusively for four-ish months and continuing breastfeeding for well over a year.
Why are some breastfeeding teams successful? What is it that works for us? It’s certainly not that it comes easily to us at first: I cried many tears over my bawling baby and sore boobs before we got it all figured out!
Is it a certain ‘Type’ of woman who nurses her baby for two years? I don’t think so: in my years as a breastfeeding counsellor I’ve met homeschoolers, corporate lawyers, managers, beauty queens, actresses, designers, air hostesses, writers, mathematicians, stay-at-home-baking-cookies moms… all types, who breastfed for two years and beyond because they wanted to. For some, it meant simply breastfeeding on demand, their child helping themselves. For others it involved expressing milk at lunchtime and keeping it in a tiny fridge in their secretary’s office.
So, WHY are some breastfeeding teams so successful? This is my question to YOU, and you, and you. I know you’re out there. Have you breastfed exclusively for more than three months? Did you continue for over a year? Let us help other Mamas and their babies by sharing our tips. If you have breastfed a baby for nearly the WHO-recommended length of time, can you tell me how or why?
Okay, I’ll start: I think that maybe, Co-Sleeping was helpful in making breastfeeding, especially at night, easy. I also had plenty of support from my Mum, who cheered me on.
There! Now it’s your turn! I will be publishing this article elsewhere as well, and when everyone has had their say I will put it all together in another post. Now spill the beans, breast feeders!