When Should I Stop Breastfeeding

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Gynecologists and breastfeeding experts always advise on letting your baby decide the right time to stop breastfeeding. That being said, it is up to you to decide on what is best for you and your baby’s health. Breastfeeding is more than just food for your baby. It gives them the sense of comfort and assurance that creates an emotional bond between you both.

As such, if you let your baby phase out breastfeeding at his own pace, you won’t encounter as many problems. Here are some factors to help you evaluate the right time to wean your baby.

Your Child Is 1 Year Old

Bear in mind that your baby won’t self-wean unless he is at least 12 months old. Jennifer Lincoln, MC and lactation consultant claims that:

“So any signs of weaning before that may be related to a nursing strike, which is usually temporary and can be related to stress, teething, an illness, or a changed routine like a big move or the holidays.”

What most mothers do is that they stop breastfeeding after six months, which is not advisable, considering that your child still needs breastmilk for proper neural and physical development. However, once your child is at least 1 year old, you can start phasing out breastfeeding.

Your Child Has Cut Back On Nursing Sessions

Once the nursing sessions are gradually decreasing in frequency and length, this indicates that the baby can start to wean. There are other factors as well, including; if the child drinks from a cup, can get maximum nutrition consuming solid foods, and refuses to take breast milk for at least two weeks. This means that your baby is now prepared to phase out breastfeeding and switch to solid foods.

You Don’t Feel Like Breastfeeding

Many mothers will continue breastfeeding believing that they should, while not enjoying it at the same time. If that’s the case, then you can consider stopping. If you decide that you don’t want to continue anymore, then so be it. However, if your baby is still under 12 months, you should consider getting a breast pump so as to make sure that your baby still gets the nutrients from breastmilk even if he no longer breastfeeds.

You Require Medical Treatment

Different doctors will make different suggestions when it comes to weaning while requiring medical treatment. Ideally, you should completely stop breastfeeding if you require chemotherapy, mastectomy, and/or medications for breast cancer. If your health is generally deteriorating, you can prioritize weaning. However, make sure you discuss this with a lactation consultant and make sure that you apply the right techniques for weaning, as this can be a stressful situation for you, your baby, and your family.

Things to Remember

Despite what you might be led to believe, remember that it is you and your baby who decide the right time to stop breastfeeding. Once your baby is six months old, gradually introduce foods to him in the next six months and continue breastfeeding at the same time. Once you are confident that your baby is getting proper nutrition from foods, you can then phase out breastfeeding.

Also, do not let societal pressures decide when you should stop breastfeeding your child. While some people may not believe in breastfeeding past 1 year old, as long as you and your baby are healthy and happy, you should breastfeed for as long as you feel comfortable.

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