What are the negative effects of breast-feeding too long?

June 7th, 2013 by Emily

Question: What are the negative effects of breast-feeding too long?
Is still breast-feeding your child up until they are 2 years old considered too long?

Furthermore, can this effect the way your child chews food?

Or your child’s dental formation?

Best answer:

Answer by _happy_ __uterus__ ᴰᵘᵉ 7.01.11
There are no negative effects of breastfeeding whatsoever…. It is down to individualized view as to how long is too long… But no, it will not negatively affect the child in anyway….

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15 Comments on “What are the negative effects of breast-feeding too long?”

  1. Aubrielle's mommy says:

    2 years isn’t too long at all. The WHO reccomends to breastfeed for 2 years.

    As far as dental formation…From what I understand and have read, breastfeeding actually helps strengthen the baby’s jaws. It should have absolutely no ill effects on the way your baby chews food. they’re 2 totally completely different things. The baby should slowly start solids at 6 months and they’ll start learning how to eat different textures.

  2. ஐ.*.Hannah's Mommy.*.ஐ says:

    No it’s each woman’s preference, however I do not prefer to hear my child “ask” for the booby so I will wean her before then.

    I think the only neg effects would be if a woman went past two years it might effect the child, not the mother.

  3. jlb says:

    It is recommended by the WHO for children to breastfeed to 2 yrs and beyond if the child and mother wish. So, no, 2yrs isn’t too long (although there are some people, who for personal reasons feel that 2yrs is too long) nor can it effect dental formations or how a child chews. Only good things can come from extended nursing.

  4. i ℓovє♥ mч Sσn says:

    Well hopefully they don’t attend daycare at all. Because a 2 year old asking for a boob instead of a sippy cup is alittle odd.
    If you still want your child getting the nutrition from breast milk, put it in a sippy cup.
    They dont still need the boob at 2 years for any reason besides attachment and its usually more the moms attachment than babies.

    I personally never seen a 2 year old still breast feeding in my life and I work at a daycare, and have been for awhile.
    They do a lot in 3rd world countries. But its because they dont have anything else.

    ETA I think its funny how everyone mentions the WHO

    K- are you going to answer her question? or just stalk my answers =] because we clearly dont get along.
    I have nothing against a toddler getting breast milk, in the form of a sippy cup or cup. There is no reason for them to be boobing still
    oh well. Its the truth. Many MANY feel this way.
    That is why its uncommon.
    Hate it or love.
    Could care less.

  5. Melissa says:

    I am still breastfeeding my 20 month old and don’t plan to stop till after his 2nd birthday. i don’t think that’s too long but most of my friends and family do. breastfeeding doesn’t affect how he chews cause its not like a thumb or pacifier that is in his mouth all the time that can change the shape of the mouth and the growth the teeth. my son’s teeth are perfect and his ped said breast milk is gentler/better on teeth than formula or cow’s milk which can decrease the chances of dental problems anytime soon.

  6. Tracy M says:

    Breastfeeding is actually GOOD for dental and jaw formation. It won’t affect the way they chew food…babies get lots of practice chewing on things before they get food. And if it did affect how they chewed food, then most of the world would be in trouble, LOL.
    If your child has an allergy and you have to alter your diet while bf, that would be one negative…how long can you live without coffee or dairy (IF those were an issue).
    Probably the only negative effect is the negative comments from friends and strangers who think it’s still odd, even though most of the world nurses until the kdis are about 4.

    (The reason the one poster never sees it at a daycare is because of reactions like her’s, and that by 2, a child knows when to ask and when not to, and the child is AT daycare, so the ‘boob’ isn’t there to be seen, LOL. What mother wants to spend a few minutes nursing her 2 year old at a daycare when she knows the staff feel that way?!)

  7. Carrie says:

    Why would a toddler still need Mommy’s breast??
    No reason. If you want him to still get benefits from your milk you can put it in a sippy cup for him/her.
    No reason to embarrass your child or yourself by having him/her ASK mommy for your boob.
    When they can begin asking its alittle old.
    Yes it is too old.
    And more than likely it will then continue to 3 years old. 4. 5. Just keep it up until hes 15 or 16.

  8. Jen says:

    I think it’s kind of funny that people think it’s gross to breast feed a two year old, but not to offer them cow’s milk. Breast feeding – completely natural. Cow’s milk really gross when you think about it.

    But no negative effects.. And it isn’t just third world countries. The world average is 7 years of age… and that’s because of 3rd world countries. They do recommend 2 years of age. Besides mum’s milk has so many things that cows milk lacks.

  9. BMWBrooke Baby # 1 10/16/10 says:

    No, it is not … now, if the child is 5 and in school yes.

    I don’t understand why people are so ‘weirded’ out and so precocious about it.

    I plan to breastfeed my baby till 18 to 24 months. It’s very healthy & natural.

    I cant recall any memories from 2 years old, can you?

    People are silly, don’t let YA! Answers derail you from what you feel is best for your child.

    I understand why people would be weirded out on still breastfeeding an 8 year old – I think that would scar a child, but not a little toddler.

  10. K says:

    “I personally never seen a 2 year old still breast feeding in my life and I work at a daycare”

    Sh!t, man. I don’t expect day care workers to be geniuses, but I would’ve hoped they would at least be clued in enough about small children to figure out that a kid is not going to ask his day care worker if he can nurse, and clued in enough about basic social interaction that a nursing mother is not going to mention “I nurse” to …to, well, to some thick day care worker. V funny…

  11. Vegan_Mom says:

    My 2.5-year-old daughter is in the process of self-weaning. My milk is changing and decreasing with my pregnancy. My daughter could technically “ask for the boob” when she was two or three weeks old and learned from where her food came.

    Families in third world countries MIGHT not have anything else, but the breastmilk is still better than what some kids in our “wealthy” and “educated” nation gets. (I wouldn’t give my daughter most of the stuff that some of the companies try and tell me is good and healthy for my daughter, i.e, Gerber Graduates, other companies that market to parents for their young kids…)

    My daughter has a full set of teeth and she eats everything my husband and I eat. (Well, not everything. My husband eats a lot of junk that he is smart enough to not share with our daughter.)

    My daughter does not get cow’s milk. She is not a calf. I think it’s interesting that people think that the milk that the mother’s body makes specifically for her baby is suddenly “gross” and “wrong” at a certain age, but milk that a mother cow made for her calf, but overly manufactured (before all of the stuff that the poor cow was given before she even began to produce milk) is suddenly great and healthy. Our country’s “norms” are great, eh?

    Also, my daughter knows when she normally gets Mommy Milk– In the morning after she gets up, after lunch, after her nap (when she naps) and it used to be before bed, too, but she cut that one out first.

    The other thing is that in our country, breasts are considered more as sexual objects than objects than vessels of feeding our babies and that doesn’t help.

    With this child, I will continue to breastfeed for as long as what s/he wants to as well.

  12. Smurfy Keeps Going and Going says:

    There are none, according to evidence based medicine. The American Academy of Pediatrics states, and I quote:

    “Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child… Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother… There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychological or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the **third year of life or longer**.”

    From this link: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/ebf-benefits.html#normality

    You can also read in that link about many other organizations that recommend and support nursing past 2 years and beyond.

    Breasts are biologically and physiologically designed to nourish babies and children. All sexual purposes assigned to the breast are societal and cultural constructs. Breasts were not intended to be sexual. Of course, like any body part, they can be sexual to many people – lips, legs, eye, ears, neck, feet, butts – you name it – can be sexual. That shouldn’t take away from their biologically intended purpose, and it certainly shouldn’t make their intended use something awkward or embarrassing for a child. For example, my husband loves my legs. He finds them very sexually attractive. That doesn’t mean I keep them covered at all times in front of my kids, or prevent my kids from touching my legs.

    Regarding chewing food: breastfeeding promotes healthy jaw development with regard to chewing. That, and many other benefits of breastfeeding are included in this list: http://www.kellymom.com/store/handouts/newborn/bf-benefits.pdf A child’s jaw is meant to develop via breastfeeding.

    Regarding dental formation – see here: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/older-baby/tooth-decay.html There’s many more links at the bottom of that page.

  13. Cloth on Bum, Breastmilk in Tum! says:

    The only negative I can think of is if mom wants to get pregnant again and is not ovulating because she’s nursing. However, plenty of people – myself included – get pregnant while nursing a toddler. Other than that, nothing but good can come of nursing, at any age, for both mom and baby.

  14. Ra says:

    There are no negative effects, only positive effects of breastfeeding till 2 years. WHO recommends breastfeeding till 2 years. This is also good for the child’s dental formation and food chewing habits.

  15. justanothamotha says:

    There are no negative effects & those here & elsewhere that suggest “putting it in a sippy cup” clearly just haven’t a clue what nursing a toddler is like. I practice child led weaning – which means my children wean when they decide to be done. Nursing is not easy for nearly anyone (I suppose some find it easy – but not normally). My son JUST weaned himself within the past few months. The last time he nursed he was 3 yrs & a few months old. I can more than assure anyone that thinks this was for me…it’s not. I had a hugely rough start to nursing & rough patches all the way through….including treatment resistant thrush all during my pregnancy WHILE I was nursing a toddler. Anyone who has nursed during pregnancy will tell you it is hard alone just due to nipple sensitivity – but adding bleeding & cracking nipples into that – you would have to be crazy to think it was for me. I believe to my core that the reason people say that is because deep down if they admitted that science has proven that nursing a child into toddler years were actually good for the child & in the child’s best interest, then those that point fingers would have to admit perhaps they didn’t do the “best” for their child, so it is of course easier to call me & those like me overly attached or pervy than admit to that those that practice longer term nursing were willing to go an extra mile other moms wouldn’t. No skin off my back. I have done my research enough to know that any child nursed is a lucky child & any child allowed to nurse until they decide to be done is the luckiest of them all. People tell themselves that nursing a toddler is for third world countries. Funny – people still take the polio vax in this country even though it only exists in third world countries & that’s cool – but suggest that someone might nurse a child according to the WHO schedule & all of a sudden that doesn’t apply to us here. The fact is that the BEST way for any child to receive breastmilk is from the breast. Milk from a cup is not the same & doesn’t carry many of the benefits that the breast does – even something simple like helping with tooth alignment & things that are more complicated like the way the mother’s body adapts the milk to meet the antibody needs it senses through the nipple from the child’s saliva. You look at what the AAP & the WHO & every other major medical organization says about optimal child feeding. #1 choice is breastfeeding #2 choice is breastmilk from momma in a cup/bottle #3 is donor breastmilk & #4 is formula. If you said you were giving toddler formula to a 2 year old people might say you are wasting your money, buy cow’s milk. But they don’t think you do it for you or that you have “issues”….give them your breast & heaven forbid! If anyone is truly interested in full term nursing (NOT *extended* nursing, as that implies it is unnatural or unusual for a child to want to continue nursing past the arbitrary one year mark we seem to have drawn…) this blogger has excellent links to follow for a LOT of info & articles. It covers everything from the emotional development benefits to dental to immune systems & on & on. http://www.hobomama.com/2010/01/full-term-breastfeeding-posts-and-pages.html

    You don’t HAVE to BF for any length of time – you of course can formula feed. The fact is though at the end of the day the longer a baby is BF the better it is for them & when that goes into toddlerhood & even beyond – it is STILL better for them than not Bfing. For the record I don’t think it is realistic at t his time or any time soon to think most moms will choose to allow their children to self wean. My BFF just weaned her two year old because she was ready & offered her support & ideas & research on how best to make the transition easiest for her & him. I also have close friends that nursed for very short periods or not at all. It’s just a little more than silly that in this day with the internet at our fingers (obviously for all those posting here it is) that anyone still denies the information that is readily available about how good full-term nursing is for children. I shouldn’t be surprised though – there are those that say the holocaust never happened too after all. I suppose they think those that fought in that war were lying…like my grandfather who (shock & awe) nursed until he was nearly 6 & was STILL sane & emotionally stable & able to make a good career – have a great marriage, be a great loving father & raise 5 well adjusted kids. I am not sure how he got past that nursing & made a good life, but he managed. Poor guy.

    For those that criticize, please research – for yourselves & for your children & grandchildren. I was on your side of this subject at one time….then I educated myself & had no choice but to see how wrong & brainwashed I had been by a culture that has been fed garbage on this subject for too long. If you are ignorant on something because you don’t know any better – t

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