How long is the best breastfeeding? Should the baby drink formula milk, fresh milk, or yogurt after one-year-old?


For society and most individuals, breastfeeding is the best. For mothers who cannot breastfeed for physical, psychological, or any other reasons, bottle feeding is the best. Mothers need to support and understand each other, not to judge or criticize at will.

  • For mothers who want to breastfeed, I hope you will gain more social understanding and environmental support. I will do my best for this;
  • For mothers who want to breastfeed but fail to achieve it, I hope you can let go of the obsession of the perfect mother and let yourself go. At the same time, I hope that in the future, the joint efforts of many people will reduce the number of mothers who have the same regrets.
  • If you are fully informed and take the initiative to choose formula milk, I think people who can make choices bravely and confidently are really cool. You must know better than anyone what is the best decision for you and your family. No need to explain to others at all!

This article deals with the trade-off between breastfeeding, formula milk, fresh milk, yogurt, cheese, and the applicable age of different dairy products. Write these words in the front, hoping to reduce the confrontation and quarrel between different feeding methods.

My professor, he has tried his best to promote breastfeeding for the rest of his life. He always said that he supports and encourages breastfeeding whenever possible.

A child is born to breastfeed.

Australia is a country that attaches great importance to breastfeeding and is the only country that puts breastfeeding as an important chapter in its dietary guidelines. This probably has something to do with the professor's proposition, because he is the chairman of the Australian dietary guidelines writing group and the main technical author. In addition, the 2003 and 2013 editions of Australia's infant feeding guidelines were also edited by him.

There is a reason for putting so much emphasis on breastfeeding. Breastfeeding does have great public health significance: it can prevent many recent infant diseases and long-term chronic diseases, which is of great significance for improving the quality of the population and reducing health expenditures.

Six months ago

Before the baby was six months old, the performance of formula milk was unsatisfactory compared to breast milk. Children who drink formula milk are inferior to children who drink breast milk in all aspects, except that they grow faster. Grow faster, but this may also be one of the reasons for a series of problems. Whether it is humans or other mammals, children fed formula milk grow faster than those fed breast milk.

The professor once used a data map of the Panda Base in Chengdu when he gave us a lecture. The picture shows that the baby panda who drinks milk powder is bigger than the baby panda who drinks breast milk.

"Bigger" is what we can see, but many internal developments are invisible to us. A large number of studies have found that babies who drink formula milk are more likely to get sick than breastfeeding babies, especially before one year of age. They are also more likely to be obese and more likely to develop some chronic diseases, and their intelligence may not be as good as breastfed babies. So far, in terms of public health, we have not found any advantages of formula milk.

On the other hand, women who are not breastfeeding are also more likely to get breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, and even osteoporosis in old age.

Nevertheless, formula milk was the only alternative to breast milk six months ago. In any case, it provides necessary nutrition for babies in some special situations, and also gives modern women another feeding option.

From six months to one year old

Between six months and one year old, breast milk is still better than formula milk. In addition to better absorption of nutrients, in addition to more biologically active substances, there is also the love and comfort brought by breastfeeding, which brings a sense of intimacy to mothers and children. Not only do children need to breastfeed, but they also have this psychological need as a mother.

How long should you breastfeed?

Breastfeeding has so many benefits, but how long is the best breastfeeding?

Due to the various benefits of breast milk, the World Health Organization, the United States, Australia, China, and other governments almost all recommend that as long as the mother and child need it, it can be fed for as long as possible.

Although it can be fed for as long as possible, no one drinks breast milk all his life, right?

Is it better to feed as long as possible? Is there any evidence to suggest that how long is the best feeding time for the child?

According to the current research results, the benefits of breastfeeding do not increase indefinitely with the breastfeeding time. The results of many studies are similar to this: The protective effect of breast milk is that the longer the breastfeeding time, the better the effect. But over 9 months, or over 11 or 12 months, the protective effect of breast milk no longer increases.

Of course, the results of this type of research are not a "truth", but just a reminder: within a certain time frame, breastfeeding has important health significance, beyond this time frame, there will be no additional benefits. And this time frame, based on the results of many breastfeeding and disease studies, is about 1 year old.

Why? In fact, it is easy to understand.

It is not that the nutrition of breast milk is bad, but after one year old, children can eat family food, and the food becomes almost as rich as adults. Breast milk is no longer a staple food, and its nutritional significance has naturally relegated to the second line.

This is why the United States and Australia's recommendations on breastfeeding time are: breastfeeding at least until one year old. After one year of age, respect the wishes of breast milk and your child, and continue to feed until you or your child no longer wants breast milk.

The World Health Organization recommends feeding to two years or more, because this is a recommendation for a wider range, including for developing countries. In the case of poor sanitation and many children with malnutrition, breast milk is the safest even after one year of age and can provide relatively comprehensive nutritional food. Choosing to continue breastfeeding after one year of age is still the safest decision so far.

For example, a study done in rural Bangladesh found that breast milk is still an important source of vitamin A for children in the second and third years.( Persson 1998)

A study of 250 young children in western Kenya found that mothers’ breast milk can provide an average of 32% of their children’s energy. Breast milk is also an important source of vitamin A and fat for these children.( Onyango 2002)

I have consulted the professor on this question, how long does a mother breastfeed their baby?

He said that after one year old, breast milk can still provide good protein and other nutrients, but nutrition may no longer be the main thing. The meaning of continuing breastfeeding is more because of the psychological comfort and the intimacy between mother and child.

After one year old, should the baby drink formula milk or milk?

There is currently no evidence that it is better to feed formula after one year of age, or to drink milk.

However, it is clear that dairy products are the main/important food source of calcium, as well as providing high-quality protein and other nutrients, and should become an important part of our diet. It is recommended that about 2 cups of milk or other dairy products a day for life.

Because after one year of age, most babies can eat family food, and the diet is almost as rich as that of adults. Milk (including breast milk) is no longer the staple food and no longer the main source of nutrition. The nutritional significance of milk is naturally not as important as it was before one year old.

After one-year-old, no matter breast milk, formula milk, whole milk, yogurt, cheese, they are just a part of our food, and their nutritional significance is not very different.


The main advantage of breastfeeding is that it brings intimacy, security, and psychological satisfaction. It may still enhance immunity, but as mentioned earlier, breast milk is no longer as important and obvious protection as it was before one year old.

Formula milk

The advantage of formula milk is that it is enriched with various nutrients on the basis of milk, such as vitamin D, iron, etc. (here refers to formula milk after one-year-old). But these small amounts of nutrients can also be obtained by other foods. Like other milk products, the main nutritional value of milk is to provide high-quality protein and calcium.

If the food is rich enough, the child does not need to fortify those nutrients; if the nutritional supply is insufficient, solve it from the source, provide as much food as possible, and supplement some nutrients appropriately.

Fresh milk

Fresh milk is the basis of all other dairy products except breast milk. Whether it is good or not, the dairy families are almost the same. You can drink fresh milk/pure milk after one-year-old, but because young children have a higher fat demand, it is recommended not to eat low-fat, skimmed milk products before the age of two.


The advantages of yogurt, in addition to the benefits of milk, yogurt is easier to digest (will not hurt the stomach), more or less can provide some probiotics, may be beneficial to intestinal health.


Cheese, like yogurt, is easier to digest than milk and relatively less prone to allergies (it contains less milk protein, and if children are allergic, the symptoms are milder). However, due to processing requirements, the sodium content is relatively high. Before one year old, it is recommended to choose some relatively low-salt cheese and only eat a small amount.


Exclusive breastfeeding six months ago, rationally add complementary foods after six months, and continue breastfeeding, this is the best feeding plan before one year old.

After one year of age, breast milk can be a type of milk, as long as the mother and child are willing to support breastfeeding. Dairy products are an important source of calcium nutrition and an important part of our daily food. Breast milk, formula milk, yogurt, or cheese can be selected according to economic conditions and personal preferences.