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When Should I Stop Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding, and whether or not to do so, as well as whether or not to wean, is a sensitive matter and a personal choice. And, as with other personal choices, some breastfeeders would love to do so until their children are thirty (that would have been me), while others can’t wait to get their baby off the bosom, and still others are somewhere in the middle. If you’re not sure when or if you should stop nursing, keep reading for more information.

How to know when to stop breastfeeding

To be honest, there is no right or wrong answer to when you should stop breastfeeding, just as there is no right or wrong answer to most things in life. While we wish there were clear cut absolutes in some situations, weaning and breastfeeding are not one of them (apart from the nebulous guideline of “as long as possible”).

“For the most full benefits for immunity, nutrition, and development, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends nursing exclusively for the first 6 months and then in combination with solid foods until roughly one year,” said AAP spokesman Steph Lee, MD, MPH, FAAP. “Not every mom’s body will agree with this rule, and people’s conditions vary from time to time, which is perfectly fine.”

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While nursing for the recommended six to twelve months is desirable, many women are unable to do so. Some breastfeeding parents, for example, have medical reasons to wean their children sooner than the recommended six months or a year. They may be required to take drugs that pass through their breastmilk and harm their child. Some moms may feel acute pain when nursing, or their milk supply may be insufficient. Even lactation experts may be unable to help if the infant is having difficulty latching.

Because she was experiencing nursing anger, Elisha Wilson Beach chose to wean her second kid. Beach told Mom.com, “At the time, I was pregnant with my third kid, and the second she would latch, I would feel instant wrath from the depths of my soul.” “It was the craziest thing, and it terrified me to death.” Fortunately, she was old enough to wean herself right away.”

Women may discontinue nursing for a variety of reasons, including logistical considerations. Pumping at work or storing breastmilk could be exceedingly tough for them. People also don’t always want to continue nursing! That’s always a fair explanation as long as the infant is healthy and nourished adequately (there are several wonderful formula options to pick from prior to 1-year-old).

** How to know when to stop breastfeeding

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Average age to stop breastfeeding

Finally, don’t be pressured into weaning before you’re ready. Lisa Olsen, a mother of two, was warned by someone that continuing to nurse after a year would be “strange.” Olsen told Mom.com, “I wish I had let my daughter lead.” “I felt bad about it afterward.” When I had my second child three years later, I completely trusted him with the weaning.”

The AAFP claims that the natural age of baby-led weaning is between 2.5 and 7 years old, based on anthropological studies. So, while it may not be ideal to breastfeed until your child is thirty, the age range is rather broad, and breastfeeding for more than a year is perfectly typical.

“My advice to parents is to give it your all for as long as you can and know that you did everything you could for your child,” Dr. Lee added. “After a year, it’s entirely up to the parent and toddler.”

** Average age to stop breastfeeding

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What is the best way to stop breastfeeding?

Weaning is usually best accomplished by gradually tapering down nursing or pumping. Otherwise, abrupt weaning can be painful since your body produces milk that isn’t used, causing your breasts to engorge and perhaps cause mastitis.

“The ideal method for weaning is to take it gently and start with the mid-afternoon and daytime feeds one at a time,” Dr. Lee advised, noting that the overnight feeds are usually the last to go. The paediatrician went on to say that weaning before entering school, such as pre-K or kindergarten, was common because your child would be at school for the majority of the day, making it simpler to stop the daytime feedings. “Most youngsters eat well enough after the age of three to maintain their nutrition and growth with regular diets,” she said.

If you’re weaning your infant before he or she is six months old, you’ll need to go from breastfeeding to formula. You could wish to gradually replace one nursing session with formula every few days, and have another adult feed your child until they are adjusted to not eating at the breast. Even if you wait until your baby is 6 months old to start weaning, the bulk of their nutritional needs will still be fulfilled by formula or breastfeeding.

You can also allow your kid lead the way when it comes to weaning. All children are different, and some may choose to stop nursing because there are so many other intriguing things to discover, while others may prefer to nurse because they enjoy the closeness and connection.

Just keep in mind that you are a person! Allowing your child to self-wean while respecting your limits and sentiments about when and how often you’d like to nurse is possible.

FAQ

  1. What is a good age to stop breastfeeding?

    According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, moms should only feed their newborns breast milk for the first six months of their lives and maintain nursing for at least one year. After that, it is entirely up to the mother and kid to decide how long they wish to continue.

  2. Is it OK to breastfeed a 5 year old?

    The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages breastfeeding for up to a year, or as long as the mother and child agree. In the rest of the world, it is fairly normal for mothers to nurse their toddlers aged 4 to 5 years old for bonding and health reasons.

  3. Is breastfeeding after 2 years harmful?

    The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), recommends continuing to breastfeed for at least a year, and says that the health of mothers and babies is best “when breastfeeding continues for at least two years.”

  4. Can I breastfeed my 7 year old?

    “I believe that the advantages of long-term breastfeeding — for as long as both the mother and the child desire it — are significant. People should be reminded, however, that nursing a child aged 6-7 years is a totally normal, natural, and healthy thing to do for the child, and that their fears of emotional injury are unfounded.”

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