Breastfeeding is natural and highly recommended. So, when should a baby stop breastfeeding? Although some might insist that the decision should be about the baby only, many others would argue that the mother’s health, comfort and well-being are just as important. Making the decision to stop breastfeeding is a personal one, and it is an emotional one for many moms. Families and friends should be supportive, not critical, of a woman’s breastfeeding decisions. There is simply no magical age to quit breastfeeding. There are several logical times in a baby’s life that might make the decision easier.
After just two weeks, a baby has gained many antibodies. If breastfeeding does not seem to be feeding the baby well enough, doctors may say supplement with formula. Lactation specialists will insist ‘keep trying’. Each mom needs to decide for herself. Sometimes what is best for the mother is also best for the baby. For instance, if a mom is experiencing postpartum depression or another health problem, it may help more for her to take medicine than to nurse the baby. Isn’t it better for an infant to have a healthy mommy than one who is too ill to take care of baby properly?
When the mother starts back to work, particularly if she has no way to pump her milk, she may want to wean the baby. This may be just for the daytime, and she may continue breastfeeding at night. Before switching to formula, moms should find out if their baby has any allergies to formula ingredients.
Appropriate age to stop being breastfed
When a baby becomes old enough to use a cup, many mothers choose that time to stop breastfeeding. For stay-at-home moms, this means that a baby never uses a bottle and will not have to be weaned from the breast and then from the bottle. The mom may choose to do this during the day and continue breastfeeding at night. Each mother should do what feels right for her body and her baby.
When a baby can eat table food, that baby is less likely to need breast milk. It often simplifies a mother’s life to discontinue daytime breastfeeding at that point.
Once a baby is walking and/or talking, the baby is a toddler. Treating the baby like a toddler, by discontinuing breastfeeding, is often a smart thing to do. The mother may need to stop breastfeeding to allow the child to develop into a more autonomous human being. It may not be fun to think of them growing up, but babies do.
Ultimately the decision belongs to the mother. She can talk to doctors, friends and families for advice, but she knows her own body. She knows her own baby. Ultimately she has the final say, and she has already done the right thing. Breastfeeding, even if done for just few weeks, has beneficial effects that help the baby for many years. A mom should feel proud, never guilty, when she decides to stop breastfeeding her little one. She’s a good mom, and let no one say otherwise!
About the Author: Miriam Atkins like to write about things related to parenting. When not doing this, she pampers herself at a Hollywood spa or going for walks by the beach.