There’s no need to stop breastfeeding before you’re both ready.

Breastfeeding beyond the first year of a child’s life is sometimes called ‘extended or long-term nursing’. Many women continue to feed their baby beyond a year.

Breastfeeding still has lots of benefits for you and your baby after six months.  The World Health Organisation recommends that all babies are breastfed for up to two years or longer.

Your breastmilk will still be the main source of between six months and a year while introducing solids.



Breastfeeding beyond a year continues to offer
nutritional benefits for your baby,
and helps to keep that bond between you close.

Extended breastfeeding

Breastfeeding older babies beyond a year still provides:

  • proteins, fats, and other nutritionally important nutrients that your baby needs to grow
  • special growth factors that help your baby’s immune system to mature. These growth factors will also help your baby’s brain, gut and other organs to develop
  • some protection for illnesses like tummy bugs, the common cold and flu
  • a lower risk of developing childhood obesity and diabetes
  • hydration, particularly if your little one is ill
  • comfort for you and your baby.

Allowing your child to ‘self-wean’ can help ease toddler tantrums, so you can continue breastfeeding to support and soothe as your toddler goes through some big changes.

Lots of older babies and toddlers gently wean, and may only breastfeed in the morning or at night.

You can introduce nursing manners as your toddler gets older. That way breastfeeding can shift from something you do on demand to something that works for both of you. At a time when your toddler is learning to become independent in so many different ways, evidence shows that continuing breastfeeding can help to boost their confidence and provide a form of continual reassurance and support.

For support with feeding an older baby

book a session to speak with your local peer supporter