Child spacing: For how long should a mother breastfeed her child

in StemSociallast month (edited)

A recent post @gentleshaid here, reminded me of my childhood friends and two of my classmates from the same parents (same father and mother). It is a difficult thing in society where I grew up from to find two of such children from the same mother to be in the same class. You can easily get two children with the same father but different mother since polygamous is not a bad idea in my society.

It has become a norm in my society for most parents, especially mothers to give at least two (2) years spacing in between their two children, but either fortunately or unfortunately, the mother to this two of my friends and classmates got pregnant not up to four (4) month cerebration of her first child.

Her first child who happened to be my age mate was just around one year old when her mother gave birth to the second child, that automatically stopped the breastfeeding of the first child and control was transferred to the newly born second child.

Initially, the effect of inadequate breastfeeding of the first child or to be fairly put, the intellectual difference between the two children was not noticed until we got to a high school when it seems the first child forget things easily, whereas his younger brother (the second child) remembers things easily.

However, we still did not trace the inadequacy to the infant period, we used to considered it a natural phenomenon since there are many instances among people where younger brothers are more intelligent than their elder brothers.

We assumed this until we heard that inadequate breastfeeding can also make a child to forget things easily.

How true can this be?

babies-4327754_960_720.jpg

Source. Pixabay

Child spacing

Child spacing is also referred to as pregnancy spacing, birth spacing, inter-pregnancy interval, inter-birth interval (IBI). They all refer to the time difference between the birth of a child and the next pregnancy or the next birth delivery.

It has become a general advise usually given by the various medical practitioners across the world to maintain certain number of months in between two pregnancies. According to World Health Organization (WHO), 24 months should be considered in between two pregnancies in order to avoid various health related issues that are known to be common to both mothers and the children with close inter-pregnancy interval.

Some of the common related health issues with close inter-pregnancy interval, especially within six months of a live birth are: Low birth weight, Premature birth, Maternal anemia, Schizophrenia, placental abrupt-ion, and Congenital disorders. Also, recent research has revealed the fact that there is likely to be an increased risk of autism in second born children with close inter-pregnancy interval.

Research has also revealed some likely health challenges facing the mothers with close inter-pregnancy interval, like inadequate of nutrients recovery period.

According to research, there are essential nutrients that might not have been fully replaced and this has been traced to have negative effect in the lives of both mother and children.

Examples of such nutrients include Inflammation of the genital tract that used to develop when a woman is pregnant, it must be healed before the next pregnancy, also the folate: pregnancy and infancy consume enough folate in the body, it is used to ensure rapid growth of the child as such it must be replaced before the next pregnancy. Breast feeding is also among activities that deplete nutrients in the body, thereby it is recommended to be in good health condition since it is the only food for a new born babies.

Breastfeeding

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Source. Flickr

The most activities a woman engages in after child delivery is breastfeeding, it is indeed difficult and strenuous task one can engages in. Breastfeeding which is an act of giving natural nutrients to a new born baby, it comes with breast milk which is extremely rich in nutrients contents, it is easily digested, always and readily available with little or no cost.

Breastfeeding a baby has been confirmed to come with a lot of benefits:

  1. It contains milk which is an ideal nutrition for an infant babies.

  2. It has the potential to reduce disease risk such as Middle ear infections, Respiratory tract infections, Colds and infections, Gut infections, Intestinal tissue damage, Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), Allergic diseases, Bowel diseases, Diabetes, and Childhood leukemia.

  3. The contained milk improves babies healthy weight and aids prevent obesity during childhood.

  4. Breastfeeding has the potential to make children smarter.

For how long should you breastfeed your child?
All the medical practitioners across the globe recommends breastfeeding new born babies exclusively for the first good six months, after which one can add a supplement along with breastfeeding for at least the first one year to two years, especially when they both mutually agree to put an end to it (breastfeeding).

Some of the institutions which agree with this notion is The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG), and The World Health Organization (WHO) among others.

According to Duazo, et al., (2010), their study investigate the effect of breastfeeding duration on later psycho social development in a large low socio economic status (SES) using 2,752 children samples in the Philippines. The result of their findings affirmed that breastfeeding for long duration was a positive indication of future psycho social development (PD) measured in late childhood. This is in line with the Oddy et al., (2010) that breastfeeding a child for less than 6 months or higher has been affirmed as an independent indication of mental health challenges through childhood and into adolescence.

Summary
The importance of ensuring adequate child spacing and breastfeeding can never be overlooked. Research has affirmed that most of the standard medical practitioners agree to give at least 2 years (24) months for proper health care of both mothers and babies. Also it has been confirmed in many research publications that breastfeeding a baby for long duration ensures mental development of the infants.

To ensure adequate spacing between two pregnancies, one may seek for beneficial and recommended family planning.

I hope this treatise will be of benefits to the mothers and expected fathers out there. Thanks for reading through.

References

1. 11 Benefits of Breastfeeding for Both Mom and Baby
2. Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding
3. Breastfeeding in sleeping position: How safe is it?
4. Breastfeeding and Later Psychosocial Development in the Philippines
5. The long-term effects of breastfeeding on child and adolescent mental health: a pregnancy cohort study followed for 14 years
6. Child Spacing and Fertility Planning Behavior Among Women in Mana District, Jimma Zone, South West Ethiopia

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Yeah, 1-2 years is the recommendation we get over here now. Interestingly, back in the 80s, the advice was not to breastfeed and that formula was superior.


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It is interesting to know that there is a proper time frame for breast feeding. !discovery 15

Exactly @juecoree ! Good to see you here


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An interesting piece. It is medically, and even religiously advised to breastfeed for 2 years. I don't think I have seen anyone breastfeed for 2 years in real life. Especially in this our society where your friends, families, and neighbours won't allow you rest if your child is not in school after 1 year.

Yes, you are right! Early school factor is one of the reasons that jeopardize breastfeeding baby for 2 years. Happy to read your feedback.

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