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Thread: How long to exclusively BF?

  1. #1

    Default How long to exclusively BF?

    I have a four month old and BF is going very well. She's 24 inches and 18.5 pounds (my not-so-little bundle of joy!)

    I am aware of the benefits of BF and am wondering if there is any benefit to EBF beyond the 6 months. How long is ideal? Are there studies looking at the optimum EBF period? Would my baby be happy/healthy to EBF for, say, 24 months? Or is it wrong to deny her solids when she starts to develop an interest?
    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How long to exclusively BF?

    Here is a great page that list only some of the benefits of extended nursing.

    As far as EBF, when you child starts showing signs of being ready for solids you slowly introduce them. If you follow the Baby Led Solids approach it is when they have mastered their pincher grasp, loss their tongue thrust reflex and start showing an interest in what you are eating. My kids did this around 8-10 months old. However, my 13 month old DD is just now really showing an interest in eating "meals" and cutting back on BFing. She still nurses 6-10 times a day depending on what we're doing. My son is 2.5 and some days he still will nurse more then he eats, other days he eats more then he nurses. I figure he is getting what he needs either way.

    Amy married to my bestfriend since 10/30/04

    Proud SAHM to DS born 2/17/07 and DD born 9/11/08 Both weaned together 11/2011
    Currently milk, peach, peanut and tree nut free. DD has outgrown her wheat, cheese, egg, garlic, and citrus allergies

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How long to exclusively BF?

    When you say "optimum EBF period," are you talking about breastfeeding while introducing solids after the age of 6 months, or are you talking about delaying solids after the 6 months mark? If the latter, then I do not think there have been many (maybe any) studies done on the benefits/detriments of pursuing a delayed solids course, particularly for as long as 2 years.

    However, if you want to know what the standard information on solids is, the American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk says "Pediatricians and parents should be aware that exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life... and provides continuing protection against diarrhea and respiratory tract infection.... Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child.... Complementary foods rich in iron should be introduced gradually beginning around 6 months of age.... Preterm and low birth weight infants and infants with hematologic disorders or infants who had inadequate iron stores at birth generally require iron supplementation before 6 months of age.... Iron may be administered while continuing exclusive breastfeeding....Unique needs or feeding behaviors of individual infants may indicate a need for introduction of complementary foods as early as 4 months of age, whereas other infants may not be ready to accept other foods until approximately 8 months of age... Introduction of complementary feedings before 6 months of age generally does not increase total caloric intake or rate of growth and only substitutes foods that lack the protective components of human milk." However, there's a footnote in there after that first sentence (I took out the footnote symbol in an attempt to increase clarity): "There is a difference of opinion among AAP experts on this matter," (i.e. whether or not solids are necessary after 6 months) "The Section on Breastfeeding acknowledges that the Committee on Nutrition supports introduction of complementary foods between 4 and 6 months of age when safe and nutritious complementary foods are available."

    So basically you're not going to find a lot of medical support for delaying the introduction of solids beyond 6 months, and even less for introducing solids beyond 8 months.

    Personally, I see no reason to delay solids once your child shows an interest in them. It would be like trying to delay walking or talking- what's the point, once the child demonstrates that she's developmentally ready?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How long to exclusively BF?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*snowmonkeys View Post
    I have a four month old and BF is going very well. She's 24 inches and 18.5 pounds (my not-so-little bundle of joy!)

    I am aware of the benefits of BF and am wondering if there is any benefit to EBF beyond the 6 months. How long is ideal? Are there studies looking at the optimum EBF period? Would my baby be happy/healthy to EBF for, say, 24 months? Or is it wrong to deny her solids when she starts to develop an interest?
    Thanks!


    I think the period of EBF depends on the individual baby. Some take to solids very well right away and some refuse until much later. Hence the time that they are EBF really varies.

    So happy to hear your BF is going well, your sweetie sounds nice and healthy on mommas milk !
    Lisa

    Mommy to
    Logan 5-23-07
    Colby 12-14-09

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How long to exclusively BF?

    I wouldn't delay solids after your lo is showing signs of readiness. But many babies are not ready for solids until closer to the one year mark. I know that my dd didn't really show much of an interest though we offered until around a year. But once she was ready there was no holding her back! When they are ready they will take just about everything you eat
    ~ Theresa
    wife to Mike and mommy to Clara (9-5-08) 2 years and going strong!!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How long to exclusively BF?

    w/ pps. Solids from 6 months to a year are usually just for learning and experimenting with tastes and textures and learning motor skills. Main source of nutrition would still be breastmilk and solids would be extra. The transition to mostly solids after a year would be gradual. My DS didn't really take much solids until after a year old.
    I'm Anna
    Proud mama to my 2 little high needs "koala bears":

    Ethan born 8/23/08
    Bfed for 22 months, weaned with love 7/2010

    Lucas, born 1/6/11
    Nursing strong for 19 MONTHS!

    Cloth diapering 1 full-time even though I'm constantly ! Currently in potty training mode. We also and

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