There are many who breastfeed their four year old baby and are of the opinion that it helps to alleviate his/her symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). According to Children & Family Services department, breast feeding the four year child is ‘sexual molestation’. However, it was disagreed by the family court judge.
Breastfeeding is suggested for the initial six months by American Pediatrics Academy. Then the baby is to be introduced with solid foods and to combine it with breastfeeding for another six months or as long as desired. WHO recommendation is for minimum 2 years!
Why breastfeed the baby?
An effective way to enhance child survival and health is through breastfeeding. When the child is breastfed within the hour of birth, breast milk only for the initial six months up to 2 years, can help save 800,000 lives. There are indeed various benefits of breastfeeding a 4 year old.
Numerous issues faced during breastfeeding
- Lack of knowledge: It is only 36% of women who believe that their baby will be protected against diarrhea through breastfeeding. It is just quarter of the population that believes that sickness can be caused by infant formula rather than breast milk.
- Social norms: It is quite ‘normal’ to bottle feed the infants. There are specific cultural practices and beliefs which tend to contribute the present normal feeding practices, even though of them are out of recommendation. ‘Big is healthy’ is a wrong belief which leads to inappropriate early solid food introduction and formula feeding.
- Poor social and family support: Those having friendship with breastfeeding mothers are likely to breastfeed their babies. Again, friends and family having negative attitude is likely to create negative influence on the breastfeeding mother.
- Embarrassment: It is just 43% of the adults who are of the belief that breastfeeding can be done in public places. Shopping center and restaurant managers would prefer mothers to breastfeed their baby in any secluded area, rather than anywhere inside their facilities.
- Lactation issues: Some of the frequently cited issues related to breastfeeding includes engorged breasts, sore nipples, mastitis, pain, leaking milk, infant not able to latch on to the mother properly, etc. Insufficient milk supply is reported by about 50% of the mothers, the reason for them to stop breastfeeding.
- Child care and employment: Lack of privacy, locations and work hour inflexibility are some of the issues faced by breastfeeding women. They do not have any access to storing expressed breast milk, not able to find any child care facilities near or at the workplace. They are likely to have limited benefits on maternity leave and also fear job insecurity. Employers are required by Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act to provide mothers with infants to be provided with reasonable, unpaid break time for a year to express their baby with breast milk.
Pregnant and breastfeeding a 4 year old can be a major issue for the working woman, but discussing with the professionals and the office HR manager can help to get the right solution.