Extended Nursing

Nursing for an extended period of time is becoming more and more common. Now, many mothers are doing it for around two years. Here are some benefits, both mental and physical, of this practice.

Nursing for an extended period of time has many positive health effects. Though there are many skeptics, both of this and other attachment parenting procedures, medical fact does back up the benefits of this. The effects are both mental and physical, for both mother and child.

A mother's milk is the perfect food for her baby. Babies who nurse are less likely to get sick, because of the antibodies in the milk. These build up the babies' young immune systems much more quickly than if they had not nursed. It also encourages healthy weight gain and lowers the risk of obesity later in life. Also, there is no equivalent to the first colostrum, which is vital to the baby. These babies may also be quicker to settle at night or for a nap, if given a token amount, just for closeness. And, unlike bottles, the baby can never take it to bed and risk tooth decay.

With formula, several different kinds may have to be tried before the right one is found. This is annoying to all, as they must be tried (sometimes) full-strength, half-strength, with and without iron, in milk or soybean, etc. Also, it's expensive and time-consuming to prepare. It must carried when one goes out, and there must be a way to warm it. While these concerns are mainly for younger babies, they still apply to older ones. With the older ones, there is weaning to consider, too.



Nursing also provides a sense of closeness between mother and baby. This begins a life-long relationship that is beneficial to both the mother and the baby. The baby learns to love, which sets the trend for all future relationships with people. It fosters good self-esteem in the baby, which is what this style of parenting is based on. Children learn from example, and this is a very early one, but a good one.

These babies are said to become secure in their mothers' affections, which cements that relationship. Then, later in life, when trouble arises, s/he may be more likely to come to their parents instead of turning to outside (and possibly dangerous) influences. Also, s/he will learn appropriate ways to control him/herself through his/her mother (and father). This fosters much more than just good physical health, which is why it's practiced. These statements have not been medically proven; many people who practice attachment parenting use them and believe in them (this is a main idea behind many of these practices according to them). How true they are will remain to be seen.

There are many benefits to this practice, as one can see from above. Anyone who practices attachment parenting is encouraged to do this, for as long as possible. Usually, it is for around two years. Weaning is left up to the baby. When s/he gets too busy with other aspects of life to want to suck anymore, weaning is complete. Until then, mother and child celebrate in this act of closeness together.

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