Published: 08:08 EST, 22 September 2014 | Updated: 14:29 EST, 22 September 2014
A survey published last week revealed that women who breastfeed their children beyond the age of 12 months are often made to feel 'uncomfortable' about their decision.
The research, published in Maternal & Child Nutrition, revealed extended breastfeeding wasn't seen as 'normal' and less than one per cent of UK mothers are still exclusively breastfeeding a six-month-old.
However, in other countries around the world, breastfeeding is commonplace well into a child's time as a toddler.
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Close bond: Mother-of-two Jessica Daniels said she and her daughters have benefited from breastfeeding
In Canada, the government have run campaigns actively encouraging women to carry on breastfeeding with the slogan 'breastfeeding is not just for newborns'.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation recommend mothers carry on breastfeeding until a child is two and beyond (alongside introducing them to other foods).
They state: 'Breast milk is an important source of energy and nutrients in children aged six to 23 months. It can provide half or more of a child's energy needs between the ages of six and 12 months, and one third of energy needs between 12 and 24 months.'
The health benefits of breastfeeding include protecting a child from serious illness and setting them up for a bright future - research has shown that children and adolescents that have been breastfed perform better in intelligence tests.
British mother, Jessica Daniels, has found extended breastfeeding extremely beneficial for both her and her two daughters.
The 24-year-old from Wigan breastfed her first daughter until she was aged three-and-a-half and is still breastfeeding her second daughter at 14 months.
She told MailOnline: 'I feel my children have benefited greatly from breastfeeding and from extended breastfeeding.
Jessica's eldest daughter breastfed till she was three-and-a-half
'My first daughter is strongly attached to me and we have a great bond. It also helped with bonding with her sister as they used to feed together. She didn't feel pushed out either because of this.'
She added that she takes comfort from the fact women who breastfeed are less likely to get breast and ovarian cancer, while it's often more convenient than bottle feeding.
She said: 'People are a little surprised (that I carried on breastfeeding) but mostly because I "must be exhausted". Quite the opposite, I find breastfeeding to be the lazy person's choice.'
Jane Hodges, 46, of Darlington, Co Durham, also breastfed her children until they were two.
She said: 'Both were picky eaters and refused to drink water or cows milk so they were at least getting some nutrition from my breast milk. Also it was wonderful for the bonding side of things. I don't regret it at all.'
Another advocate is Hannah Perkins, 30, who is still breastfeeding her son, Dexter, 23 months.
She told MailOnline: 'I chose to continue breastfeeding for the many health benefits that it afforded both my son and myself. For example, reduced risks of diabetes, asthma, cancers, the list goes on. That was very important to me.
'But also breastfeeding has taught me to be a considerate and attached mother, it has taught me to listen to what my son wants and to be sensitive to his needs. As such I believe he is not ready to wean and won't force that upon him.'
In the Maternal & Child Nutrition study, many women revealed that, at certain times, they had been made to feel ashamed for breastfeeding.
Jessica said she was lucky to never experience any animosity when she was breastfeeding her toddlers in public.
Jane agreed but she said her actions still attracted "unsolicited advice".
She explains: 'People would say I was being indulgent and it was more about my needs than the kids.
'One friend even wagged her finger at my toddler while I was nursing her and said: "you're a big girl now. You're too old for that" which I found beyond irritating.
'After that, I got a little self-conscious breastfeeding in public once the kids got beyond about 18 months but refused to get pushed into stopping before my children were ready.'
Hannah added: 'I can understand why it makes people a bit uncomfortable. It's not an every day sight in the UK and despite being very pro "natural term breastfeeding" I have often found it awkward and difficult to talk about with my peers.
'But the benefits my son and I both receive really do outweigh any negativity I've received. It's my personal choice and our personal journey and one that I would try to repeat if I have any other children.'
Celebrities including Gwen Stefani and Salma Hayek are among those in the public eye who have continued to breastfeed their children beyond 12 months.
But despite such high profile support and the multiple health benefits, some women feel unable to carry on breastfeeding.
A campaign poster in Canada encouraged women to keep breastfeeding their toddlers
Dr Ruowei Li an epidemiologist at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, U.S. said women who want to breastfeed should be given more support.
She led a study, published this month, which found those who were breastfed as babies were far less likely to have ear, sinus or throat infections later in childhood.
She said the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for an infant's first six months, followed by continued breastfeeding until at least 12 months.
But she added: 'Mothers need to be supported by health care professionals, their workplaces and communities to follow APP recommendations on breastfeeding.'
Did you breastfeed your child beyond two years? Share your story with us by emailling email@example.com
NHS video explains benefits of breastfeeding your child (related)