The long-term feeding means that you are breastfeeding your child for more than a year. The WHO recommends breastfeeding your baby for at least 2 years, in addition to solid food.
There are a number of misunderstandings about long-feeding. The biggest misunderstanding is that breastfeeding after the age of 12 months (some people even keep it at 6 months) would no longer have any value. It is true that breastfeeding after the age of 12 months is no longer as important a part of the diet as before. Breastfeeding is the main food for the age of 12 months. Breastfeeding is where a child gets all its nutrients. The supplement is only extra. This changes after the age of 12 months. Supplementation now becomes more important and breastfeeding disappears into the background.
Breastfeeding after 12 months
However, this does not mean that breastfeeding has no value after 12 months. Indeed, a child now gets his most important nutrients from bread, vegetables, fruit, and meat, but breastfeeding is much more than just nutrients. The main function of breastfeeding after 12 months is to strengthen the immune system. Breastfeeding contains a huge number of antibodies, and that is why the WHO recommends breastfeeding until at least 2 years of age. Until then, breastfeeding for strengthening the immune system is very useful. No pack of follow-on milk can mean as much to the immune system as breastfeeding.
But even after 2 years, breastfeeding is still very useful. First of all for the immune system, which is already very strong with 2 years but still continues to develop. Secondly, breastfeeding is the best painkiller, the best comfort and the best remedy for illness. Children with abdominal pain, ear pain, sore throat etc. often want to drink more often at the breast, because this reduces the pain. When sadness is a child to the chest very quickly be comforted, because the chest gives peace and security. It is therefore also the perfect tool for overstimulation. In case of illness, you often see that children refuse to eat and drink but want to breastfeed, so they still get fluid and important antibodies.
Also for the health of the child in later life, giving breastfeeding for a long time has many advantages. Among other things, it has been scientifically proven that children who have been breastfed for a long time have less chance of, for example, eczema, allergies, infections, and diabetes. This, of course, does not mean that a child who has been breastfed for 2 years or more will not develop allergies or other disorders or that all children who have short or no breastfeeding are unhealthy. Nevertheless, certain disorders are noticeably less common among children who have been breastfed for a long time.
Long feeding is not dirty
Long feeding is sometimes seen as something that is dirty. Some people call it “weird” and “unnatural” and find that breasts have to regain their sexual function after a certain time. You may wonder where the idea came from that the breasts of a woman are erotic. In the past, all women walked around in bare breasts. They still do that in wild tribes. Breasts have always retained their original function there, namely purely to feed the children. Why have breasts in our Western society lost this function? Why do so many Western women want breast augmentation, do they wear t-shirts with insights and buy push-up bras, but do they find a child who drinks from the breast dirty?
The natural weaning age
All mammals have a natural weaning age, and with each species this age is different. Research has shown that in humans the natural weaning age is between 3 and 7 years. If you let a child go ahead, most children between these ages would stop by themselves. On average, the age at which a human child is weaned is 4.2 years. This age is only achieved by very few children in the western world because mothers often choose to stop earlier. Stopping breastfeeding is a little left to the child in the western world. This age is much more common among tribes in the wild. The natural weaning age depends, among other things, on the age at which a child gets the permanent choice (ie after the exchange) and the completion of the immune system. Both moments are around the age of 6 years.