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I want to say that it is scientifically proven that breastfeeding helps babies grow better. As a doctor I know that human milk also gives immunity to babies and that is the reason, I want to advise mothers that breastfeed your babies ________________?

Now I'm stuck with this sentence!

Mothers leave breastfeeding their babies in a few months or may be a year. But I want to say that feed babies longer -say one and a half year or two years. But I don't want to be specific about this 'number'. I want to say that breastfeed as long as possible (Ah, this is weird!)

Now longer does not mean extending 'the period'. Someone may think that instead of she feeding a baby for just 5 minutes, should feed for 15 minutes -longer.

Feed your babies for years sounds awkward! Feed your babies for more period sounds again ambiguous.

Don't try to fill in the blank, it's not a strict rule here. I'm looking for a sentence that gives a clear message without any ambiguity.

A good answer can be used in a multiple way.

For instance, may be...

Long fed babies have better immunity

But 'long'? See there, I'm again stuck! :)

  • 1
    How about "long-term"? – Stephie Mar 19 '15 at 5:11
  • @Stephie that's nice one! :) But let's wait for others to get in! But what about longer term ? Because I want to say as long as possible.... 'term' is okay, by the way? – Maulik V Mar 19 '15 at 5:12
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    You don't need longer term because long-term already implies duration ( vs. short-term). You can specify a time frame separately, if you have an explaining text to go with the slogan / headline. – Stephie Mar 19 '15 at 5:19
  • I think that being non-specific could be detrimental because it begs the question "how long?"... You could say something like "mothers should breastfeed for longer than the average 3-9 months, even up to 18-24 months." By the way, in the US, it's common to use months when talking about babies up to about 2 years. – Catija Mar 19 '15 at 5:27
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    Perhaps "common sense" dictates the age limit in this case, but I still think "as long as possible" raises more questions than it answers, so it ought to be avoided. Since we are talking about avoiding ambiguity, I believe "I recommend breastfeeding up until age 2" is better medical advice than "I recommend breastfeeding for as long as possible" – and it solves your problem of the listener confusing "up until age two" with "for 15 minutes instead of five." – J.R. Mar 20 '15 at 9:19
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"I want to say that it is scientifically proven that breastfeeding helps babies grow better." As a doctor I know that human milk also gives immunity to babies and that is the reason, I want to advise mothers that breastfeed your babies ________________?

The sentence offered in the OP is indeed a bit problematic and confusing. You could try saying something like this.

It has been shown that breastfeeding your child for an appreciable amount of time beyond one year leads to a marked improvement in the health and development of the baby.

This statement has the following benefits:

  • Immediately indicates that the statement is scientifically supported
  • Contextualizes 'appreciable amount' by juxtapositioning it next to a time frame of one year.
  • Alleviates the responsibility of being specific about the actual length of time one should breastfeed after one year.
  • Emphasizes the benefit(s) of breastfeeding for an extended period of time.
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Hmm, this is indeed a tough one. I'm a native speaker and I'm having trouble coming up with an unambiguous way of saying it!

As long as you're pretty confident in the duration you're talking about, I really wouldn't shy away from including that. You don't have to be super specific, but giving a rough idea won't hurt.

Here are a couple forms I came up with that do fairly well. I like the term "development" for this, as you'll notice, and I suspect many parents who read this will as well.

Babies whose mothers continue to breastfeed them into later stages of development tend to have improved immune systems.

Babies who are breastfed late into their development tend to have improved immune systems.

The immune system can grow to be much stronger when breastfeeding is continued well into a baby's development.

Or if you can live with giving some hint as to the duration,

Breastfeeding up to two years into a baby's life can have a measurable impact on his or her immune system.

This one's a bit less direct about it, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Regular breastfeeding for the first couple years of a baby's life can be of benefit to her immune system.

By "less direct," I mean that if someone read this without context, they may not conclude that the "first couple years" is really your whole point; it could read just as easily look like a regular pro-breastfeeding piece.

You can pick and choose different aspects of these to maybe find something that fits the tone you're going for, of course.

I also thought about words like "sustained," but I think you're right that that could lead to some ambiguity.

  • thanks for this answer...yes, it's tricky and it had actually happened with me when I advised a woman! :) I liked the last one: regular breastfeeding.... +1 for that! : – Maulik V Mar 19 '15 at 5:40
  • +1 This answer provides several effective ways of conveying the intended sense to the audience. Anyway, @MaulikV, by reading your question I am tempted to think that regular breastfeeding... is not the idea you need. You need something about the length of period (in years or several months) over which breastfeeding was done right? – Sнаđошƒаӽ Mar 19 '15 at 6:21
  • exactly @Suhail I clarified in that question. – Maulik V Mar 19 '15 at 7:04
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Perhaps it would work to tie this to other milestones of child development, something like:

"Breastfeeding is still greatly beneficial well after the child has begun eating solid foods."

Not suggesting that you plagiarize, but it could be helpful to see how the materials created by the breast-feeding support & education group La Leche League, International (http://www.llli.org/) handle this problem. For example, in one publication they say the WHO recommends breast-feeding:

"...for two years and for longer if possible."

That's not especially easy and elegant, but it may help give you someplace to start from.

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You want them to breastfeed for more than a year - so say so!

Try:

Breastfeeding your baby for more than a year - in fact for as long as you can - will help baby's immune system.

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