How long do you nurse your baby
Making decisions about how to look after and raise your baby is difficult. There can be a lot of information and opinions which can sway you on things and make it hard to trust your own judgement or work out what is the right thing to do. One of these questions you might be wondering about is how long do you nurse your baby and use a nursing pillow for? If this is something you’ve been looking for the answer to, read on for more details.

How long do you nurse your baby?

The general recommendation is that you should exclusively breastfeed (giving your baby breast milk only) for roughly their first six months. But this doesn’t mean you should stop immediately after this. It is still better for you to continue nursing, but your baby will benefit from a wider diet after they turn six months old. You can breastfeed older babies in public in privacy with breastfeeding covers.

When to introduce solid food

It is best to continue breastfeeding after six months, however, from this age, you can start to introduce solid foods. The ideal way to feed babies of this age is by breastfeeding alongside solid foods. Otherwise referred to as complementary feeding, weaning is the process of introducing your baby to solid foods. When you first start this at around six months old, the amount you find that your baby eats is not as important as getting them used to the idea of eating.

When to stop nursing

In terms of health, you can continue to reap the benefits of breastfeeding for as long as you want. As long as you are introducing other foods as well, you can keep on breastfeeding up until your baby’s second birthday and longer. It is even common for mothers to keep on nursing their babies after they have gone back to work. Furthermore, there is no reason for you to have to stop if you become pregnant again either.

The benefits of breastfeeding

If you’re still deciding how to feed your child when it is born, there’s no need to panic. You have right up until your baby is born to decide. Although it is a good idea to think about it in advance, the main benefits of breastfeeding include:

It is perfectly designed for your baby

Your body produces milk that is custom suited to your baby's needs. While formulas are useful for those who can’t breastfeed, it's definitely a good idea to consider doing it if you can.

It protects your baby from infections and diseases

Formula milk doesn't offer the same level of protection from illness for your baby which is the predominant reason why many prefer to breastfeed if they can.

It provides health benefits for you

Formulas also likely have fewer health benefits whereas breastfeeding has greater benefits for you the longer you do it. Breastfeeding actually lowers your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis (weak bones), cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Breast milk is available for your baby whenever your baby needs it

Using formula means you run the risk of running out as well as having to run lots of extra trips to the shops. On the other hand, breast milk will be available to give to your little one whenever they might need it without any extra fuss like having to assemble a bottle.

It can build a strong emotional bond between you and your baby

Breastfeeding is a great way for you and your baby to bond, especially through skin-to-skin contact which can benefit your baby immediately after birth.

How to stop breastfeeding

You may want to stop breastfeeding gradually since phasing it out can let you both get used to it. However, you may not have to worry since many parents and children stop naturally through the process of introducing more solid foods. One of the easiest things to do if you want to stop breastfeeding is to drop feeds one by one. If this is before one year old, however, you will need to replace each feed with formula.

How can we help?

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