It completely depends on the mother that how long they want to breast feed their child. Experts always have their own recommendations but one can also have a conversation with the doctor and then take a call. Some women choose to breast feed only for a few weeks while others wish to continue for a few years.
So, how long to breast feed a child, depends on how long one wants to do it. But again, there are many health experts who have come to the conclusion that breast feeding the child for 6 months is very much necessary. Many paediatricians say that the mother should exclusively breast feed their child for 6 months and after that they can start with a few solid foods along with breast feeding. After that, the breast feeding can continue as long as the mother and the child wish to continue it.
It is always a good idea to follow the path of exclusive, complementary and combination breast feeding methods to avoid any kind of complications in future. Now, what exactly are they? Here is an idea:
Exclusive breast feeding means full breast feeding. This means that the baby will get all the nutrition required only from nursing at the breast. Here, the child does not get any other or additional drink like water, fruit juice or baby food. So, for the primary 4 to 6 months after delivery the mother should only concentrate on exclusive breast feeding and keep it as the primary source of nutrition.
This can be done easily after 6 months of the baby delivery. Here, doing exclusive breast feeding even after 6 months may not sound okay because then the child will not learn to consume other foods. That is why; combination feeding is the best way out. Combination feeding means one can go for partial breast feeding and along with that, one can start feeding their child with some additional nutritional sources.
Breastfeeding and Complementary Foods
This is something most experts recommend when the baby is more than 6 months. Complementary food means that the baby can also get nutrition from other food items apart from breast milk. But these complementary foods are not meant to be replaced by breast milks. But they provide more nutrition to the baby. Thus happens when the baby is introduced to solid food items and they mainly include things like baby cereals, pureed fruits and vegetables. This can be given to the child as and when required and also in minimal amount.
One should remember that breast feeding is very important for both the mother and the child. Even a very small amount of colostrums or the first breast milk is valuable for the baby as it is packed with not only nutrition but also immune and anti body properties.
Now, how long should a child breast feed completely depends on the child and their mother as it has been said earlier. Sometimes it can also continue for 2 to 3 years.