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Breast Feeding

Is it alright to breast feed my 16 month old?

09/07/2006

Question:

My baby is still brestfed several times a day. He is 16 months old and I wonder whether I should try to stop brestfeeding him. Could the prolongation of brestfeeding affect his future psychological development? Is it healthy to continue up to 2 years old as some specialists say?

Answer:

It is fine to continue breastfeeding your 16 month old. Many mothers will breastfeed until at least 2 years as a supplement to table food & perhaps as a comfort measure.  Wean when you & your little feel it is right (or when you are pregnant again). Additionally, prolongation of breastfeeding will not affect your son's future psychological development in a negative way. Just the opposite, continuing breastfeeding & holding your son will be a positive influence on his psychological development as it gives him security now & later he will be more independent. Remember, human infant are the least mature of all mammals at birth & close contact & secure attachment in the first years (through age 2) lead to better development socially, physiologically & cognitively.

Enjoy your close time with your son.  To soon he will be off doing his own thing and not your little guy any more.

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Response by:

Barbara   Morrison, PhD, CNM, FNP Barbara Morrison, PhD, CNM, FNP
Assistant Professor of Nursing
Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Case Western Reserve University