Extended Breastfeeding: How Long Should I Nurse My Child For?

The World Health Organisation recommends that mothers start breastfeeding within the first hour of an infant’s life. They recommend that mothers continue to exclusively breastfeed until six months of age. Beyond six months, they recommended that mothers continue breastfeeding for at least two years, supplementing your breastmilk by feeding your baby a wide range of nutritious foods.  

We understand that not all women can breastfeed for this long, for many different reasons. And we don’t want any women to feel pressure to breastfeed for longer than possible or appropriate for them. But there are a lot of health benefits associated with extended breastfeeding, and that’s what we’re going to discuss in this blog.

Breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally to all women. For many, there are sore nipples, latching issues and just pain in general. So, how long you breastfeed comes down to many factors, some you have control over and some you don't have control over. Many women find that they give themselves a goal of six months, but by the time they hit this milestone, breastfeeding is so natural that they don’t even contemplate stopping.

As time ticks along to 12 months, or even 24 months, women start to wonder when they are supposed to stop. Well, it’s entirely up to you and your little one. The Academy of American Paediatrics suggests that women continue breastfeeding for as long ‘as mutually desired by mother and infant’. So, for example, if the mother finds she’s up multiple times a night feeding and is exhausted, weaning might be a good idea. Alternatively, babies can self-wean, which is a term used to describe when a baby is over one year old and gradually reduces her breastmilk intake. This usually happens when the baby gets adequate nutrition and satisfaction from food.

You’re probably full of questions about the benefits of extended breastfeeding. Well, we give you the answer below.

Benefits of Extended Breastfeeding


The power of breastmilk is genuinely outstanding. As your baby grows and goes through its first illnesses, your breastmilk composition changes to accommodate the needs of your little one. For example, when your baby has a cold, as soon as their saliva makes contact with your nipples, signals are sent to the mother, informing her to produce antibodies to help fight the cold off. These antibodies are then passed to the baby through breastmilk.

Another example is the fat and water content of your breastmilk. On a really hot day, breastmilk will change composition to have a higher water content to help hydrate your little one. Alternatively, If bub is going through a growth spurt and feeding lots, your milk will change to be higher in fat.

Previously, people used to believe that breastmilk lost its nutritional value at around six months when food is introduced. But more recent research shows that your breastmilk retains its nutrition quality and this amazing ability to change for the entire duration of breastfeeding. That’s right, even after two years, you can still create antibodies for bub when they’re sick.


There are so many ways to bond with your baby, and finding closeness with bub is different for all parents. But many women say that the bond created while breastfeeding is something extra special. The quiet nights spent feeding, just the two of you, or the afternoon cuddle on the couch while you both take a moment to relax. Knowing that you’re their source of comfort can be addictive.

Breastfeeding can sometimes feel like a superpower; it’s often a way to settle a baby instantly. And women often report that they feel anxious about weaning as they will no longer have a sure-fire way to get their little one back to sleep or comfort them when they need it. But, if you wean gradually, you will find other methods that work to settle bub.

Health Benefits for Mum and Bub

So we’ve spoken about the health benefits when it comes to protecting your little ones from illnesses like colds and flu. But the power of breastmilk doesn’t stop there; it gets even more fascinating. For example, research shows that breastfeeding a baby for six months or longer reduces a babies risk of developing Leukemia by 19%. In addition to this, breastfed babies have a reduced risk of a long list of diseases and illnesses, including asthma, Type 1 diabetes, obesity, and gastrointestinal infections.

And the benefits don’t just relate to bub; there are also advantages for the mother. In the beginning, the release of Oxytocin that occurs during feeding helps the uterus to contract and return to its original size. This explains why some women feel contractions while feeding for the first few weeks. Breastfeeding also burns extra calories, so it’s associated with quicker weight loss in women.

And breastfeeding is also associated with a reduced risk for developing ovarian cancer, breast cancer and osteoporosis in women.

Concerns about extended breastfeeding?

Social acceptance is one of the leading worries families have regarding extended breastfeeding. We’ve all heard people make insulting comments about a child being too old for breastmilk. However, nursing your toddler or child is a beautiful and normal behaviour and the more we bring awareness to the benefits, the more accepted it will become.  

The emotional development of the child is another common concern. Some people believe that extended breastfeeding can cause heightened attachment from the child. However, research shows this isn’t the case, and that in fact, it is linked to positive emotional effects in both the mother and the child.

How Can In Shape Mummy Help Me on my Breastfeeding Journey? 

The In Shape Mummy Health Shake for Breastfeeding Mums is a breastfeeding specific health shake designed to support lactating women. 

Your nutrition requirements are higher when you're breastfeeding because your baby is relying on you for 100% of their nutrition. So, you need to try your best to eat enough healthy food and to not skip meals. Many busy mums don't have time to cook healthy food all the time. The In Shape Mummy Healthy Shake is a quick and easy way to help meet your increased nutritional needs while breastfeeding in this busy time of life.

The In Shape Mummy Health Shake for Breastfeeding Mums contains contains over 12g of protein to keep you feeling full, plus 25 essential vitamins and minerals to support your energy and health while you get in shape. It is enhanced with organic milk thistle and fenugreek which are herbs that have been used for centuries by breastfeeding mothers.   

For mums who do not need help with milk supply, the In Shape Mummy Health Shake for Busy Mums is for you. It is 100% breastfeeding friendly and has the same base ingredients as the breastfeeding shake but without the milk thistle and fenugreek.

Click here for more ways to boost your milk supply naturally.

Shevi is a qualified nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food sciences. As a mum of a baby and a toddler herself, she is passionate about postnatal-related nutrition. Shevi has worked alongside some of the most famous leaders and celebrities in the fitness industry throughout Australia and the UK.

Fast Track Your Results with the In Shape Mummy Health Shake

Many Busy Mums don't have time to cook health food and exercise ALL the time.

Great news! Now you can Fast Track Getting In Shape with our Quick, Easy and Delicious Superfood Meal Replacement, the In Shape Mummy Health Shake for Breastfeeding Mums.

Look and Feel Your Best with our Premium blend of Organic Pea & Brown Rice Protein, 25 Vitamins & Minerals, Probiotics plus Organic Superfoods.

Enhanced with natural and organic herbs that have been used for centuries by Breastfeeding Mothers

100% Breastfeeding & Vegan Friendly. Contains NO Artificial Nasties, NO Soy, NO Dairy, NO Gluten & NO Caffeine. Made in Australia.

Enjoy as the Quickest and Easiest Healthy Meal!

FREE 12-Week Healthy Weight Loss Support Program worth $168 with first shake purchase.

In Shape Mummy Health Shake


"I'm loving it so far.. I'm already down from in weight and I feel great :)  Not exaggerating when I say this is the best purchase I ever made .. can't wait to get to my first mini goal of 65kgs then set my new goal of 60kgs :) .. so far it's been life changing, thank you so much!! It has literally boosted my milk supply. I used to pump 160mls and now I average 240mls .. I've never been able to get that."

- Tania, Vic

Tanya lost 10kgs


"I've lost 35 kgs thanks to the In Shape Mummy Health Shakes. 110 kgs to 75 kgs! Juggling two little boys under 2 years old doesn't leave much time for healthy choices for Mummy and the In Shape Mummy Health Shake is such an easy solution to get all the goodness I need to keep going! My older son is 20 months and I didn't get the chance to lose the weight gained whilst carrying him before I was pregnant again with baby #2. I easily gained 40kgs across the two pregnancies and no thanks to terrible pelvic pain in pregnancy #2 wasn't able to keep active. Now that my second son is here and the pelvic pain has gone I have stuck to replacing breakfast with my shake and walking every morning for the duration of the morning sleep. Some days I will do a second shorter walk during his nap. I'm still able to enjoy yummy healthy foods and definitely do not feel like I'm going without. I no longer crave sugary foods as the shake sets me up for the day with its magical satisfying ingredients! The shake has become even more of a must since returning to work! If I thought I was busy before, life just got a whole lot busier! Now that I've lost the weight, I have more energy, zero aches and pains and have a better mood. I tell all my friends about In Shape Mummy because easy weight loss doesn't need to be a secret! Xx"

- Carly, Vic

Carly lost 35kgs


"I discovered In Shape Mummy Health Shakes not long after my second baby was born. He has an intolerance to dairy so I was looking to find something that was safe for breastfeeding, and also vegan friendly. I have recently started a detox program with the help of a naturopath. She was so impressed with the ingredients that she has encouraged me to continue having it! In Shape Mummy has not only helped me lose the 26 kgs I put on in pregnancy, but it’s helped me nourish my body when I’ve been time poor and sleep deprived. It’s the only shake that I actually enjoy the taste of! My breakfast everyday includes ice, almond milk, water, a banana and my In Shape Mummy (my current fave is the caramel fudge!). At 11 months postpartum I feel great! And my breastfeeding journey is still going strong - my milk is in perfect supply for what Bub needs. I cannot recommend In Shape Mummy Health Shakes more highly!” 

Melanie, Vic

Melanie lost 26kgs


"I have lost over 30kg with In Shape Mummy Health Shakes, exercise and a complete diet change. ⁠⁠ I started at size 22 and am a loose size 12 at the moment… and nearly a 10! ⁠I feel so much better! With my injuries in my spine, pelvis and knee my weight loss has been the best thing for my pain. ⁠
7-8 months ago I couldn’t have even imagined I could drop this much weight! The change in my life has been insane! ⁠ My advice to other mums is “stick with it and don’t give up!” ⁠ Thanks so very much for your In Shape Mummy Health Shakes. They are the best thing for mums on the go and while breastfeeding as well. Words can not express how grateful I am with my weight loss. I couldn’t of started this without your shakes. My life is forever changed." ⁠

Jess, NT

Jess lost 30kgs