Breast feeding is a very personal decision and choosing when to stop breast feeding is also a personal decision. Ultimately it is up to you to decide when the time is right for you and for your baby to stop breast feeding. This article provides some ideas for when to stop breast feeding.
When To Stop Breast Feeding : After Reaching Your Goal
Many breast feeding moms have a goal in mind for how long they want to breast feed for. If you have set a goal for yourself, you may not want to stop breast feeding until you’ve reached that goal.
If you have reached the goal you set for yourself, congratulations! Now that you’ve been breast feeding for a while, you may want to set another goal or if you feel ready to stop breast feeding and you feel your baby is ready to stop breast feeding as well, you can begin the weening process.
When To Stop Breast Feeding : The Surgeon General Says Don’t Stop Breastfeeding Until At Least 6 Months
Because of the amazing health benefits to baby (and thus to society) the Surgeon General of the United States recommends that all moms do not stop breast feeding until baby is at least six months old.
It’s well documented that breast fed babies do not get sick as often as formula fed babies do. All those extra trips to the doctor and hospital have a significant cost to society. Researchers estimate the United States could save $13 billion each year in unnecessary medical costs, if 90% of moms breastfed for 6 months.
When To Stop Breast Feeding : Fully Switched to Solid Food
Another idea for when to stop breast feeding is when baby is getting the vast majority of his calories from solid food. At this point baby is really just breast feeding for comfort and habit than out of nutritional need. Of course baby will continue to get health benefits associated with breast feeding but when baby is joining you at the table for every meal many mom’s feel that is a good time to begin the weening process.
When To Stop Breast Feeding :1 Year
Another milestone that marks a time when some moms choose to stop breast feeding is when baby celebrates his or her first birthday. Breast feeding for an entire year is a significant goal for many breast feeding moms and after the milestone is reached, mom feels it’s a good time to stop breast feeding.
Additionally after the one year mark, some moms begin to feel self conscious about continuing breast feeding a toddler, feeling that other people may judge her because her child is too old to breastfeed. However the choice is ultimately up to the mother. Some mothers choose to breast feed until baby is 3, 4 or even 5 years old.
When To Stop Breast Feeding : Baby Led
The last idea we’ll cover for when to stop breast feeding is promoted by attachment parenting proponents and puts the focus on the baby. The mom watches baby for signs that he or she is done with breast feeding. This can happen any time between 6 months and 3 years, but usually occurs between the first and second birthdays.
The toddler will being skipping breast feeding sessions eventually ending up with just one or two per day, usually morning and/or night. Once this happens the mom can begin distracting baby before the remaining breast feeding session with solid food, cow’s milk in a bottle, a favorite game, and so on.
We hope this article has helped you find when to stop breast feeding. If you need help with breast feeding, see our extensive library of helpful articles.