When I was pregnant I asked myself, “what age would I stop breastfeeding my baby”. One year is the age I’d chose. Though, with Noah’s 1st birthday quickly approaching, I can’t help but feel a bit saddened that our breastfeeding journey will come to an end.
For the past year and a half we’ve basically been attached, first in the womb and now through breastfeeding. Although that may sound tiring and a bit overwhelming, I have really enjoyed nursing and bonding with my baby. I’m almost sure I will need just as much help transitioning, as he will.
So instead, I’m going to exclusively pump and offer my baby breast milk in a toddler cup after 1 year and up until 18-24 months. This way, even though he won’t be nursing directly from the breast, he’ll still receive all of the nutritional benefits that come with breastfeeding.
Since deciding to do so, I’ve been asked a lot of questions and received many different reactions from people who have their own age limits on breastfeeding. So, I did a little research on the topic and created an article to answer a few of the questions I’ve received.
What is the recommended age to stop breastfeeding?
It’s recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed their first 6 months of life and introduced to solids after 6 months, while continuing to breastfeed up until 24 months.
Most moms wean their babies at 1 year of age and stop completely between 1-2 years of age. Though, the age you decide to stop breastfeeding is completely your choice! Any amount of time you choose to breastfeed will be beneficial for your baby, even if for a short period. It’s not uncommon for some babies to breastfeed past the age of 2 and up to 4 years.
What happens after I stop breastfeeding?
In their first year of life, babies who are not breastfed will need formula milk. After the first year, its okay to give your baby dairy. That means if you start to wean, you won’t have to switch your baby to formula. Which, is why it’s a common age for moms to stop breastfeeding.
Common reasons to stop breastfeeding…
Some nursing moms stop earlier due to work, peer pressure or by choice.
Returning to work can pose challenges for breastfeeding mothers. This is due to an increased need to pump, jobs not allowing the time to do so, and a decrease in milk supply.
You would need to pump as often as your baby would normally nurse to maintain milk supply and avoid becoming engorged. Moms who aren’t able to do so while working, choose to either supplement with formula or stop breastfeeding completely.
When it comes to peer pressure, resisting the urge to give in to the negative comments from others may be hard. Not all mothers experience this, but sadly most breastfeeding moms will receive a negative reaction from others at least once.
Whether it’s someone expressing their discomfort of you nursing in public, or someone suggesting that your baby is “too old” and “too attached”, hearing constant negativity can start to have an impact.
It’s very surprising how many people have unfavorable things to say about breastfeeding. It’s natural and most beneficial for our babies. Yet, it’s a common thing that breastfeeding moms experience regular adverse reactions, even from close family and friends. It can become so discouraging that moms will start to resent those people or choose to stop breastfeeding.
While peer pressure has resulted in mothers choosing to stop earlier than recommended, other moms choose to do so on their own.
Some mothers have their own reasoning behind wanting to stop. They may become overwhelmed or decide that it isn’t for them. Again either way, the amount of time a baby is breastfed will be beneficial whether it is for 3 months or 2 years.
How lifestyle plays a role in when I choose to stop breastfeeding
Lifestyle plays a big role in how long you will breastfeed for, as well as your baby. That’s why every mom’s journey is different and there really isn’t any magic number on when you should stop breastfeeding.
There’s a chance you’ll want to stop at 12 months, but your baby may have a hard time transitioning. If your baby is taking a little longer to wean, that’s completely okay. Nursing has become your baby’s main source of nutrition and comfort.
Patience is key
Be patient and understanding through the transition. Pressuring your baby, can actually have a negative impact and make it harder to wean. Give yourself a break and know that it’s not going to happen overnight. Find a manageable transition that works for your and your baby and wean at your own pace.
Most importantly, understand that no matter when you choose to stop breastfeeding, its completely your choice.
If you found this article helpful you may also enjoy #1 Secret to immediately increase breast milk supply naturally