When a child is one-years-old many moms that are returning to work will opt to wean their little one at this point or sooner, although this is not necessary. Little ones this age don’t need to nurse as frequently and can consume water or pumped breast milk during the day and nurse when mom comes home. Mom has the legal right to pump during work a few times to keep up her milk supply or to relieve discomfort. Some mothers choose to wean due to our culture having a difficult time with the concept of a little one who is walking & talking, nursing. I assure you nursing at this age is very healthy and natural, and what their little bodies still require. Human baby led weaning age is between the ages of 2 and 4 years old in developed countries that have access to healthy foods and water. In countries where access to healthy food and clean water is an issue, children will instinctively nurse until they are 7 years of age, if not longer. The World Health Organization and Unicef recommend breastfeeding until 2 years of age and beyond.
For Moms that are not full term nursing, introducing an alternative is required till about 4 years of age after that it’s discretional, like all other mammals on this planet we do not require breastmilk or an alternative past weaning. The recommended alternatives are full fat unsweetened soy milk & homo milk, almond milk is not recommended as it is not fortified by government standards however more and more companies are fortifying almond milk now (when using plant based milks always look for unsweetened). Rice and coconut milk are not recommended as an alternative as they are not fortified and do not meet the nutritional requirements of your little one. However coconut milk can be added to fatten up soy milk & almond as it can they are naturally lower in fat and fat is important for brain development. Homo milk or milk from ruminant animals does come with risk but due to food politics will not be removed from many food guides and recommended lists. These risks include an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer, especially prostate cancer, autoimmune disorders & hormone imbalances. Milk is species specific, as are the benefits, nutrients & digestibility human milk is designed for proper development of human infants, cows milk for calves....
There is a lot of controversy with soy; however, the actual studies on soy show that it is safe. You do want to use precautions as some forms are not healthy, such as non-organic, gmo soy and soy protein isolates. Here is a link to a well thought out and researched article that falls in line with my nutritional education and research on the subject Being Vegan and Eating Soy: Myths, Truths, and Everything in Between.
Here is ideally what you want to be feeding your little one:
To drink focus on water, followed by some breast milk/milk alternative, slowly increasing water so that by 4 years of age or so they are drinking 90% water.
Don’t forget to add in a quality multivitamin/mineral supplement. Everyone over 1 year of age should be adding a good quality multi vitamin/mineral supplement to their diet with the exception of those who eat a perfectly well-balanced diet of 100% locally grown/raised organic food, who exercises regularly and do not have stress in their lives. For children, a liquid supplement with no sugar/aspartame or additives is best. Stay away from candy like formulas for children as most of them are full of junk. If your child is no longer breastfeeding I recommend a DHA supplement & probiotic. Be cautious when using various supplements and seek the guidance of a qualified health practitioner with a nutritional background, you can cause serious harm or worse when exceeding dietary recommendations for vitamins and minerals.
Dana Clark, CNHP, CHN, CHC owner or From the Roots Holistic, Certified Holistic Nutritionist at SBJJ & Muay Thai Academy.
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