The benefits of maintaining breastfeeding after the first year

Breast milk is the first food that every person receives during their first days and months of life. It is usually related to the first half year of the baby since it is this period in which it is recommended to maintain the lactation exclusively. From this date other nutrients are introduced into the diet of the smallest and the chest begins to be in the background.

How long do you have to maintain the lactation? The American Association of Pediatrics indicates the benefits for the youngest children of maintaining the breast beyond the first year of life. Although with the introduction of solid foods breast milk is no longer so important, this does not mean that there are no advantages in continuing to provide these nutrients.


Safety and nutrients

From the American Pediatric Association indicates that there is no evidence that breast milk stop offering benefits to children from a particular point of their developing. That is to say, those children who continue to receive breast beyond 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding also have advantages, even after completing the first year of life.

Among the benefits that stand out is the sensation of security that is created in the smallest. Breastfeeding ensures a strong bond between mother and child, continuing to breastfeed will keep this relationship and that children feel more secure at home to work these relationships.


The second most important point to maintain breastfeeding is that the smallest continue to benefit from the immunological advantages and the nutrients that breast milk provides. Breastfeeding is a very successful way to ensure good health in the little ones and to keep various problems like infections away.

From the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, AEP, also reaffirms the idea that breast milk does not lose its properties over time. From the first year after breastfeeding, the amount of grease in the milk it increases with respect to the first months, this makes that it becomes a complete food and of greater quality than the milk of formula or cow.

Risk and weaning

AEP indicates that to date they have not been found risks physical or psychological in those children who drink milk after their first year of life. Weaning should begin when the mother and the son desire. The best strategy is to remove the chest gradually, without offering or denying it, being able to negotiate the conditions with the child. During this stage it is important to offer alternatives to the child's need for contact, since the relationship established through breastfeeding is a very close link that must be gradually reoriented.


From the Nemours Foundation, the following tips are offered to recognize the signals that indicate that a child is prepared to put aside the breast:

- It seems disinterested or annoying when they take the breast.

- They take less time than before to satisfy themselves with breast milk.

- They are easily distracted while breastfeeding, their attention goes to other matters.

- They take the breast to comfort or distract themselves, they do not suck and therefore there is no milk extraction.

Damián Montero

Video: Breastfeeding: Benefits Beyond the Bond


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