Nursing For Longer

The best food you can give your baby is breast milk. It is specially designed to give baby all the nutrients baby needs. Most women only breast feed their baby for a few weeks, even though experts like the World Health Organization recommend that exclusive nursing for six months is best for baby. They also recommend that breast feeding should continue until baby is at least two. Even if it's not practical for you to breast feed full time, try and nurse baby once or twice a day. In this way you will be helping to boost your baby's immune system and general health.


If you practice exclusive nursing it has the added bonus of being a natural contraceptive, even though of course it's not 100% full proof! So if you don't want to get pregnant again too quickly, ask your gynecologist or family practitioner for advice on suitable contraception. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association's recent research, babies breast fed for longer than seven months score higher on IQ tests as adults than others who weren't nursed so long. Remember by breast feeding you are giving you and your baby quality time, and enabling you to bond well. After all, you can't really do anything else when you are nursing baby except put your feet up!

Extended Nursing

If you want to continue to breast feed after your child is over a year, don't worry - it's quite normal in most parts of the world. In many cultures women continue to breast feed their children until they are three, four or even five! This isn't so common in Western culture, but there are some high profile cases in the news from time to time. Of course it's not usually full on exclusive nursing, and may just be just a comfort for a toddler displaced by a new baby. For example a woman who had problems nursing her new born twins at first, because they were in and out of hospital, went on to nurse until they were three!

Most of the world wean their children between the ages of two and four. And the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you continue to nurse until your baby is at least a year old, or until one of you doesn't want to anymore. Even if you practice exclusive nursing until baby is over a year some say that your baby will still receive all the nutrients needed.


By continuing to nurse you are helping to build your baby's immune system and protecting yourself from developing various illnesses like type two diabetes. Nursing is also a very good way to feed a sick baby. Not only are you comforting your baby, but breast milk is very easy to digest, so it will help baby to get better faster.
Most people agree that babies need to start eating some solids by about six to nine months, although there are opinions that differ. Babies usually begin to reach for finger foods at around nine months, especially when they start teething. So give them something soft like bananas, or something hard they can use as a teething ring, like a carrot.

Remember breast milk has the best nutrition for baby and changes every day according to what you eat. So if you eat a varied diet and breast feed your baby exclusively until baby is at least six months old your baby will get all the nutrition that she or he needs.

Check out our section on breast feeding to learn more.