Send to

Choose Destination
J Hum Lact. 2001 Nov;17(4):304-12.

Long-term breastfeeding: nourishment or nurturance?

Author information

Catholic University of America, School of Nursing, 620 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20064-0001, USA.


Mothers frequently describe the primary benefit of breastfeeding beyond a year as providing comfort rather than nourishment. Little is known about the effect of extended breastfeeding on the growth or nutritional status of children in the United States. Data collected on 38 long-term breastfeeding children (12 to 43 months old) included growth measurements, breastfeeding patterns, and dietary intake obtained through diaries and dietary recalls. Although the children's weight-for-age, length/height-for-age, and weight-for-length/height Z scores clustered below zero, they fell within two standard deviations of the median, suggesting normal growth. The daily time and frequency of breastfeeding were not different between the 1-year-old and 2-year-old age groups but were significantly lower in the 3-year-old age group. In an analysis of non-breast milk diets, the children would need an average intake of 100 to 460 mL of breast milk per day to meet the RDA for energy intake and nutrients that were lower in their diets compared to national food intake surveys.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center