When should kids stop breastfeeding?

Cierra - posted on 03/17/2009 ( 55 moms have responded )

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My daughter is just 4 months old and I still breastfeed her, and people look at me like I am crazy. They are always asking me when I am going to stop, and saying I need to put her milk in a bottle.

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Allison - posted on 03/17/2009

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Well...I believe kids should breastfeed until they self-wean. The America Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding (no solids) until 6 months, then continued breastfeed until at least 1 year or as long as mutually desired by both mom and baby. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until at least 2 years of age.

There's no benefit to formula over breastmilk. Formula is hard to digest, many kids cannot tolerate certain formulas, it's expensive, it is always exactly the same. This part is important because breastmilk actually changes to fit your baby's needs and age. If baby starts to get sick, your body will produce antibodies to help prevent or reduce the severity of her illness. Also, the composition changes to meet needs, like growth spurts. Breastfed babies eat approximately 24 oz per day, no matter what their age is (since the breastmilk matches what they needs) yet for formula you have to keep increasing their quantity to make sure they get the right amount of calories per day.

There's a lot more info out there about breastmilk and how it compares to formula. I think if you are happy nursing and baby is doing well, then you should continue and just tell others to "pass the bean dip" (i.e. change the subject and let them know that it's not up for discussion).

Good luck!

Keea - posted on 03/17/2009

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My daughter is 6months I still breastfeed, I breastfed my son til he was 2, you dont half to go that long! but dont let people make you feel llike your suppose to stop. You"ll stop when your ready.

Tina - posted on 03/17/2009

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Hello!



GOOD FOR YOU for breastfeeding. You are giving your child a wonderful gift! It's very difficult when you don't have the support of friends and family. My daughter is going on 6 months old now and I am still breastfeeding. I plan to keep her on the breast until she is a year old at least, and to continue pumping for as long as possible afterwards to give it to her in a bottle. Nursing directly on the breast is a source of nourishment for your baby, but it also a source of comfort that a bottle simply cannot provide. Please please please, continue doing the excellent work you are doing for your baby. By breastfeeding your baby you are increasing her immunity, protecting her from childhood leukemia, decreasing her chance of obesity, daibetes, increasing her IQ, and giving her comfort that no one else in the world can give her. You are also protecting yourself from breast and cervical cancer! Keep breastfeeding for as long as you can! Frankly I am SHOCKED that people are giving you a hard time when your daughter is only 4 months old! Our bodies produce milk for our children for a reason! Formula simply cannot compare!



You are doing a wonderful job, mama!

Jenny - posted on 03/17/2009

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Thank you!!! Dont worry about what they say, she is your baby and mommy always knows whats best. I get weird looks from my family and friends too, I just blow them off because I know that what I am doing is the best thing for her. you should go check out Kellymom they have great breastfeeding info.

Dana - posted on 03/17/2009

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World Health Organization and Unicef recommend breastfeeding until the age of 2 years. Breastmilk is much better for your baby than cow's milk (that's what formula is made of). Tell those people that bother you with their stupid comments that you'll stop breastfeeding when you and your baby are ready, not any time sooner.

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Laura - posted on 06/01/2012

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that is silly,,,,the world health org recommends 2 yrs.....(some cultures part time until 6 yrs) i don't know any mom whose stopped earlier than 9 months..( i am a naturopathic dr...and child advocate and counsellor).. America is still hung -up on this kick that the breasts are sex object and obscene...( they say the same about the body) this is the old decrepit Victorian paradigm and is still ruling america,,,,but now bf 3 yr olds is not so rare ////NEVER BOW TO THE IGNORANCE OF THE SICK SOCIETY.....when to ween is up to you and your child only! it is best when the child tells you that they no longer wish to bf...i know that you do not live in Europe ha,ha,but seriously if you have any questions,can always PM Laura Mornings { administrator of NATURE MOMS circle} see profile,,( i am mom of 7 ) hope you join our circle

Denise - posted on 02/02/2011

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What a load of rubbish, she is still so young, do what you feel is right and comfortable for you both, makes me so mad,people should keep thier opinions to themself,

Felecia - posted on 03/26/2009

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Ok I understand were you are coming from I get the same thing every time the grandparents are around.. But Girl you are doing a great ,great thing for your baby keep it up forget about them.....The way I see it is do it for as long as YOU want too....................... with that being said I personally have a goal of at least 1 year....My daughter is also 4 months..... Your the mom your rules lol Good job and Good luck    "Dont let no one get you down for doing the best thing you could ever do for your daughter"

Mary - posted on 03/24/2009

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Breast feeding is the most amazing experience in the world!!!! Benefits are astronomical and there are more being discovered all the time...GO YOU!!! Keep going and it gets easier and easier....I am still nursing my 16 mon. old and we thoroughly enjoy it... She will tell you when she is ready to be done... Who are adults, Dr.s and critics for that matter, to decide when they are done....Would you let someone decide for you?....

Angela - posted on 03/24/2009

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My baby girl is 12 months and I still openly nurse in public if she wants it, even though she is on solid foods also. DO NOT feel pressure from others to quit nursing. I know what you are going through, as I went through a very similar process. I plan on nursing my daughter till SHE is ready to wean. I am also expecting twins in September 2009 and refuse to listen to those around me who continue to tell me to wean my 12 month-old, simply because it is faux pas for some, or because I am expecting two more babies. I plan on tandum nursing them all if that is what my daughter chooses to do. This way there is less resentment when the twins come and she doesn't feel left out. Nursing is a source of comfort, not just a food source and I refuse to have anyone intimidate me into giving it up before my daughter is ready. You stick to what you believe in.

Olga - posted on 03/24/2009

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You are doing the right thing! The longer you breastfeed the more healthbenefits you are giving to your baby. American Academy of Pediatrics recomends to breastfeed for at least 6months, but better for a year.



If that is not enough, consider how much money you are saving by breastfeeding. Please don't listen to what people are saying - they really have the wrong notions about the breastfeeing. Breast are for breastfeeing first and not any other purpose!



Do what is right for you baby. I have a daughter who is also 4 months old. I plan to breastfeed her at least until she is a year old. I work and am away from home for 10-12 hours a day. I pump my breastmilk at work for the baby, because it is the perfect food for her.



You are doing the right thing! Good luck.



P.S.  you don't really need to explain yourself other than that you are doing what's best for the baby.

Danielle - posted on 03/23/2009

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I think that whether one chooses to breastfeed or not (if they have a choice) that choice should be respected. I've been lucky, I haven't been pressured or received scepticism either way. My first born I nursed him until he was 6 mo. I had to start supplementing because he was underweight at the advise of the Dr. I worked forty hours a week and I think pumping so much may have been the cause of my milk supply not being enough. Plus Titus had problems with nursing from the beginning and I had to use a breast shield bla bla bla. Now I'm nursing my 2 mo. old and I'm really hoping I can do it until he is 1. He hasn't had any problems so far and actually doesn't seem to like the bottle or passie. So hopefully he'll still nurse well even after I've been back to work. But, no one but you along with your pediatrician has the right to make you feel bad about this decision to nurse or not.

Kristen - posted on 03/23/2009

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Mothers milk is best for the first year and as long after 1 year as the mother and child are comfortable.  The other best thing...It's FREE!!!!



 

Chantel - posted on 03/23/2009

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I breastfed my 4th till he was 3 YEARS old.  World Health Organization says breastfeeding till age 2 years or beyond as long as mother and baby are comfortable.  Centers for Disease Control says breastfeeding till age 1 year or beyond and the current recommendation is exclusive breastfeeding to age 6 months then slow introduction of solids but no meal replacement until age 1 year.



Find a Le Leche group or Mothers of Breastfeeders group near you and surround yourself with other breasfeeding mothers.  Breastmilk is beneficial to your baby until she stops nursing and the longer you nurse the lower your cancer risk becomes!



Keep breastfeeding as long as you possibly can and don't supplement unless you absolutely have to!

Connie - posted on 03/23/2009

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I have three boys and I think that if you want to breast feed your child that is your right and no one should try to make you feel bad about your choice, i have nursed all of my boys to a year and the middle son until he was 20 months of age and our now 13 month old is still nursing. So do what ever is most comfortable for you and good for you if you keep nursing.

Kelly - posted on 03/23/2009

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I have a 5mnth old son and breestfeed him...It is a natural thing ..you are doing what is besst for your baby. I am going to br.feed him till a year atleast. Dont listen to them people they are ignorant and just because they are uncomforable dont let them push that on you..Stay strong girl you can do it!!!!!

Sara - posted on 03/22/2009

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Well, my "smart-mouth" answer would be "when she's full, she'll stop".



Otherwise, it's really a personal choice. My first weaned when she was 13 months. Around 1 year, she was nursing in the morning and before bed, then she refused to nurse at night, and a couple of weeks after I quit trying to make her nurse at night, I stopped offering in the morning, and she was done. My second is 6 months old now, and nurses 4 times a day. She's having "solids" (cereal & fruit or veggie) twice a day now too.



Good luck :) Oh, and I think other moms have said this too, remember there are people that will always find something to comment on....

Alana - posted on 03/21/2009

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Dont worry about when people stare. My son is 16 months old and hes still breastfed, I get looks all the time, i guess it doesnt "look" good when a young mom is breastfeeding a kid. I plan on going till he is 2. Do what you and your daughter feel is right and ignore those peopple who say to put her on the bottle.

Camille - posted on 03/21/2009

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...my son is 7.5 months and i still nurse him and will continue until after his 1st bday...dont worry about what other folks are saying...BREASTFEEDING your daughter is the BEST thing that u will have ever done for her...i tell u, keep ur head up and continue to breastfeed her until u are ready to stop...i love doing it cause for ONE, its healthy for not only my son but for me as well, it's CHEAPER and i didnt have to worry about buying bottles and it gives my son and me extra time to bond with one another...

Ashleigh - posted on 03/21/2009

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My mom was the one that would always bother me and say, well why don't you try some formula ( she even bought me some, but I refused to take it).  Now, she was trying to help because my son was colicky and nursed almost every hour or half an hour...but still, I refused to give it up! My son is now almost 12 months, and I am starting to wean ( my own personal choice, I am actually pretty tired of nursing, considering up until he was 7 months he did it almost ever hour!! hah).  I just hate it when people think it's gross or that the child is too old for it! 

Jennie - posted on 03/21/2009

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My mom always used to get that question and it bugged the dickens out of her!  So, finally, she started turning it into a joke.  Her usual response was, "Well, if I still have to go up to the school for a mid-mornig snack in kindergarten, I'll think about weaning her."  Usually, this "joke" kinda let people know they were crossing the line into the "none of your business" area and they would back off.  You are a wonderful mom and as long as you and your baby are happy, that's all that matters.  I nursed both of my boys past their 2nd birthday and they both just kinda lost interest gradually and weaned natrually, which really the best way.  Turn those invasive questions into a joke!  Laugh at those rude people!  Remember, most of our society is unfamiliar w/ breastfeeding and so they don't know how to handle it.  Some people might honestly be curious and some are just uncomfortable (don't get me started on the way Hollywood sexualizes the female breast and what's it's done to our society), but know that YOU are doing what's best for YOUR child and everybody else can just go jump in a lake! :)  HOpe this cheers you up!  Don't let 'em get you down!

Tammy - posted on 03/21/2009

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There is nothing wrong with still breastfeeding your daughter. I am  guessing that the people with negative comments either never nursed their children or were on the receiving end of negative comments themselves. I have three kids. They are 6,4, and 16 months. My first two were between 14 and 17 months when they were weaned. They only nursed at night from a year on. Now my 16 month old is still going strong. I even posted a question not too long ago myself.  I have come to realize that nursing is a personal choice and no one should tell you otherwise. Each child is on their own schedule. The feedback from this site is genuine and very helpful! Good luck!!

Sindi - posted on 03/21/2009

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My first daughter breastfed until she was 2 (by then it was only once a day, then she forgot to ask). She is currently a Senior in High School (Valedictorian, I might add) My second gave up at 1 year old, she preferred her thumb. She's also smart but doesn't seem to care about learning as much as her sister.

Teresa Cannon - posted on 03/21/2009

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If you really want to wean him, it might help to have someone else to put him to bed for several days as you tell him that you're not nursing anymore.  My husband helped me when I as ready to wean my daughter.  She was more upset having me near her without being able to nurse.  If I wasn't in the room, she calmed down much faster.  Also, he could be drinking from a cup now.  You could skip giving him the bottle all together.  I weaned my daughter at 2 years and 4 months.  I weaned her because I thought that our nursing before bed may have had something to do with her waking in the middle of the night and coming to my bed to nurse more.  But, she still wakes to come to bed with us in the middle of the night most nights and she's 5 1/2 years now.  But if you don't mind nursing him to sleep - that's okay - for as long as the two of you want!  I have a close friend who let her daughter nurse until she was ready to stop.  I believe that was 3 1/2 years.  Every child is different.  Do what you feel most comfortable with in your heart!  Best of luck.

[deleted account]

Quoting Yeo:

i am at wits end. usually during the day he doesx not ask to be breastfed. it is only aroung his bedtime he will ask 4 it. he will cry when i try explaining to him he's 2 old 2 still be bfd.



I don't thing he is too old and I think you have done great nursing him this long. Do you want to wean him or are you still willing to nurse him at night before bed? If you are still ok with nursing him at night then do it. However if you don't, then maybe distracting him with a snack and lots of cuddles will  help.

May - posted on 03/21/2009

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i am at wits end. usually during the day he doesx not ask to be breastfed. it is only aroung his bedtime he will ask 4 it. he will cry when i try explaining to him he's 2 old 2 still be bfd.

Jess - posted on 03/21/2009

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My older three all self weaned at 26 months, 14 months and 13 months.  I think the fact that it was clostrum due to me being pregnant again was one reason, the other reason was they were too busy doing other things and didn't want to sit with mum for that long anymore!  They prefered cuddles on the run, especially as there were more siblings to play with! 

May - posted on 03/21/2009

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he cries alot if not gven...... he refuses to take milk in bottle. that's the problm.

[deleted account]

Quoting Yeo:

thanx. as ppl do tend to give me looks. i was just wndrng what is the right age to wean them



I don't think there is a right age.  You have done a great thing by nursing to 2.5. Are you ready to wean? When my son was reaching 2 I stopped offering and only nursed when he asked. He was still asking up until he turned 2.  

May - posted on 03/21/2009

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thanx. as ppl do tend to give me looks. i was just wndrng what is the right age to wean them

[deleted account]

For as long as you both want to. I nursed my son until he self weaned at 2 and I am still nursing my daughter who turned 2 last week. You are doing the best thing for your baby - don't let anyone pressure you into stopping.



With my 1st I was asked constantly when I was going to wean and I said when we were ready or when he stopped. With my 2nd, they don't ask.

May - posted on 03/21/2009

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my son's 2 and a half years old. but he is not wean yet. what should i do. try tell

Morag - posted on 03/20/2009

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Breastfeed for as long as your LO wants. They will let you know when they are ready. I'm still breastfeeding my youngest whos one and I'm not stopping until she's ready and she is far from ready at the moment. I have found most of the nasty comments about me breastfeeding beyond 6 months have come from women who were unable to successfully breastfeed. I've even been told outright by someone that I was psychologically harming my child because its perverted (totally ridiculous) and she never breastfed more than a few days. The majority of babies will stop by the time they are two as this seems to be a natural age of weaning due to their increasing independence, and don't let anyone try and convince you that your kid will be clingy. My youngest, although is very much a mummy's girl, will quite happily go to complete strangers for cuddles when we are out. Admittedly its slightly dangerous in this modern age, but still, it shows how completely happy and safe she feels, she doesn't even have a comforter at all (no teddies, no doll, no blankies, no pacifiers), just me and I work full time :)

Trust in yourself, trust your instincts and trust your baby :)

Rhonda - posted on 03/20/2009

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you should breastfeed as long as you and baby are comfortable with it - some recommendations are 2 years - so don't let anyone give you flak. breastfeeding is for mom and baby, nobody else should have an opinion, so just stand your ground! good luck.

Maureen - posted on 03/20/2009

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dont let anyone talk you out of it. i've seen 5 year old still BFing *that to me is pushing it a bit too far*

I BFed my son until he was 1 year when he weined himself, go as long as your daughter wants to and if anyone has anything to say about it, tell 'em to stick it

Laura - posted on 03/20/2009

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dont worry about what other people think...the majority of them are just jealous of your achievment. I breastfed my twins for 11 months and am planning to breastfeed my next child for at least a year. My first child I only breastfed for 6 months because of pressure of weaning and grandparents wanting to take the baby overnight...I really regret giving up on him so early. Enjoy the bond you have with your baby no matter what the others say and enjoy the convienience of having the milk always on tap and never having to spend money on formulas or bottles. Its so much better for their dental development and their psychological development than formula. God gave us boobies for a reason so use them.

Tamara - posted on 03/20/2009

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I'm still nursing at 18 months. We tried weaning a couple of months ago and neither of us were ready so we stopped and she'll be done when she's done.

Teresa Cannon - posted on 03/20/2009

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I loved the bonding with my son and daughter too!  The little looks and smiles.  Especially loved when they'd actually open their mouths and laugh & then go back to nursing.  My son weaned himself very gradually between 1 year and 18 months.  My daughter - I had to wean at 2 years and 4 months.  It's tough when those around you don't support you.  I glad it sounds like you'll stick it out awhile longer!  It's worth it.  I still have a very close relationship with my 14 year old son - not JUST because of breastfeeding, but I believe that plays a part.  Best wishes! 

[deleted account]

That's ridiculous! You should stop when you and your baby are ready. I know people who have continued until their children reach the age of 5!

I think a good goal is 1 year. But if you can do at least 6 months, you're giving your baby a tremendous advantage. There's nothing better than BM for developing a strong immune system and a healthy brain.

Don't pay any attention to those critical people. Just keep doing what you're doing. You're doing the right thing. That's all that matters.

[deleted account]

Hi, I agree with Heather above!

Also, I am still BFing my 27mo. old son and am 37 weeks (on Sat.) pregnant and plan to tandem nurse my son and daughter. We are doing child-led weaning and feel this is best. Since it still works for both my son and I, we're sticking w/it.

Best wishes!

Heather - posted on 03/18/2009

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My two younger children that I gave birth to breastfed until they weaned at 3 and 4 years old.  Both weaned themselves - except my daughter who decided with me that her 4th birthday party was going to be a "weaning" party, too - and I got some nasty comments, too.  Here's the thing, though..........I've found that the people who complain about one thing, usually find something else to complain about later. 



First, it was breastfeeding past a certain age, then how they weren't being toilet trained, then how they weren't being disciplined properly, then it was homeschooling, and now it's how we are dealing with them as teens and preteens........I promise you, you start to realize that it's not you at all.  It's them.  LOL



I learned to deal with it all with a sense of humor and a healthy dose of education.  If they don't know, give them a couple of facts about what WHO and AAP recommends.  After that, just let it all go in one ear and out the other.  Ultimately, it's your baby, and it's your responsibility.  :-)



I wish you the best of luck, and congratulations on your precious gift of motherhood.  Lots of kudos to you as well for choosing to provide the best nutrition for your baby!!

Emily - posted on 03/18/2009

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How weird that they think you should give a 4 month old baby milk in a bottle! At least you know enough about good nutrition and proper parenting not to listen!

Allie - posted on 03/18/2009

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i would only bottle feed if you want to have some freedom or time out. we started bottle feeding but breast milk when my little girl was a new born as i did not know how long i would breast feed for. she is now 7months and we are still going strong. Just know that you are doing your best for your baby.

Kristy - posted on 03/18/2009

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Thats ridiculous I always got those looks too I breast fed my boy until he was 8 months and the biting hurt to much. If the looks worry you try to express some milk to get her used to a bottle but don't stop breastfeeding just because of everyone else. Breast is best.

Deborah - posted on 03/18/2009

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also, the 2 that im currently feeding are my 4th and 5th children, ive breastfed all my kids, just never this long, nor 2 at a time before!!! my other kids are 14yrs 12yrs & 7yrs old, and they all fed for various lengths of time, before self-weaning!

Deborah - posted on 03/18/2009

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hi, im tandem feeding a baby and a toddler, they are 2yrs and 6mths...

and yes, ive copped hell from some people!

the right time to wean is up to you and yourbaby, when the time is right, weaning will occur all of its own accord.

your doing a wonderful job, hold your head high, and keep going strong.

Katie - posted on 03/18/2009

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Why do people frown upon those of us mothers who want to do the best for our babies? Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world so why is it such a problem for so many people?! I know what you mean - but stick at it, you're doing a great job! I breastfed my eldest daughter until she was a year old and I plan to do the same for my 5 month baby. Good for you - keep it up!

Cierra - posted on 03/17/2009

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THANKS EVERYONE I DO PLAN ON BREAST FEEDING FOR A WHILE. I JUST DONT SEE WHY SOME PEOPLE ARE SO NEGATIVE ABOUT BREASTFEEDING. FORMULA DOES COST A LOT OF MONEY THESE DAYS. PLUS I LIKE THE LITTLE LOOKS MY DAUGHTER GIVES ME WHILE SHE IS EATING WHILE IM HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH SOME ONE. IT IS SO CUTE, SHE JUST LOOKS AT ME AND SMILES LIKE SHE KNOWS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT.

Ericka - posted on 03/17/2009

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girl, you've gotta stop worrying about what other people think, and be confident in YOUR parenting! this is YOUR little girl! you are doing the best thing for her by breastfeeding! :D keep it up! theres no reason to stop until you are both ready!



it is never anyone else's choice whether or not you breastfeed NOR is it any of their business how long you breastfeed. you do what you feel is best for you and your baby! :D



i nursed my son until he self weaned at 19 months! it was beautiful, and it made us so connected. my son at 28 months old is so sweet, loving, empathetic, and loving..... i know its because i breastfed and nurtured my son!



please contact me if you have any questions..... but just keep breastfeeding as long as you want to. ignore the dirty looks, ignore the comments. if nothing else, you can simply say "thank you for the suggestion" and get on with your life or you can blame it on the doctor and say "my doctor and i are making this decision, thank you"



:D stand up for yourself. it wont be the first time, or the last time you will have to stand up for yourself. you can either do what is "popular" or you can follow your instincts. im telling you that your instincts will NEVER do you wrong. :D

Cierra - posted on 03/17/2009

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I agree with you 100%. I just want the best for my daughter, and I want her to be healthy and smart as well. Thanks for the feedback I really appreciate it. Your little girl is so beautiful, I love her little smile

Jenny - posted on 03/17/2009

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Breastfeeding is natural. Bottles aren't. What you are doing is great. An infant should be feed breast milk or formula till they are at least 1 year of age. I am going to breast feed my daughter till she is 2 years. It is recommended to breastfeed till a year but it is even better if you can do it for 2 years. It makes them healthy and smart.

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