When is best to wean from the breast?

Brie - posted on 08/15/2009 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 9 and a half mths old and breastfed - i enjoy breastfeeding, and see no reason to stop at this stage. she has 3 solid meals a day and a few snacks, she also consumes lots of water each day and is a vibrant, active and healthy little girl.
If i go out, or have to work she is feed previously expressed and frozen breast milk, so she happily takes a bottle.
I am a big beliver in "Breast is Best" however alot of people keep asking me when i'm going to stop breast feeding......
i've heard of people breastfeeding until their children are 3 or 4 yrs old (i don't think i will go that far though!) but also of others fulling weaning from breastmilk/formula at 1 yr!
Is there an specific age when they get enough nutrients from solids (and their body can fully process the solids which they consume)? or is it just a personal preference by mothers?
What are your thoughts? when did you wean completely?

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Minnie - posted on 08/16/2009

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I believe that no mother can know if her child gained what he or she needed from the breastfeeding relationship unless she allows that child to self-wean.



And that's what we're doing here.



The one year weaning age recommended by doctors in the US isn't accurate, nor is it in the child's best interest. Comparing various biological factors with our closest genetic relatives, the great apes, the natural age of weaning for a human child appears to be 2.5 years at a minimum, but more idealy age 4-5, with seven being the typical upper limit of child-led weaning.

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Staceybest - posted on 08/16/2009

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its when you feel its right. my kids were formula fed because my milk was to weak. and i swapped to cows milk at 12 months of cause they were getting solieds. but my little girl had trouble swallowing food of any kind so she stayed on formula untill 18 months then she had cows milk she is 2 and eats fine now but has to have 2-3 milk or milo bottles daily or she cant seem to keep going at a good past. my son is now 4 and still likes to have milk or milo but the differents is how they have it. ppl think its ok if its in a cup or sipper but with a bottle some frown on that. my step son is 8 and his mum still gives him a baby bottle at night. its your choice good luck dont be pushed around.

Kate - posted on 08/15/2009

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There is no age when you "should" or "must" wean. If you are comfortable continuing, then by all means, continue! Do not let the people who ask you "when is she going to wean?" deter you. It is YOUR decision as a mother and not their business at all. Breastmilk continues to be an excellent form of nutrition for as long as the baby receives it. It is far superior to cow's milk (there is NO reason to start cow's milk at 1 year or ever). Babies can't digest grains well until 18 - 24 months, and toddlers are notorious for going on eating strikes or being very picky, so breastmilk continues to provide a continuous source of nutrients throughout the second year.

I have NOT weaned any babies. I am currently nursing my almost 19 mo. old as well as my 1 mo. old. Both will continue until they self-wean even if that means I am nursing 2 or even 3 babies for awhile. I think this is best. If you enjoy breastfeeding, then consider allowing your daughter to self-wean! Many babies wean by the time they are 2 or so (but not all do). Of course, by that time, if you are ready to stop, you can actually talk to her about it and do so gently, in a mutually agreed upon way.

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Most doctors and nutricianists recommend changing to cows milk around 18 months as the proteins can be harder to digest.



I stopped early with my first child at 3 months since we were both sick, but with my two other children I continued till they were a year old. I felt that they should wait for real milk so I had my use the step two formula to make sure they had what they needed. I stopped mostly because my kids were either just too busy to want to nurse or they would bite if they were concentrating on something else.



Since you can express milk you could always try and just express it and transition her from bottle to sippy that way so that she is more comfortable once you switch to regular milk if you wait until 18 months. She would still be getting the best milk and you would know that even if she goes through a period of being a fussy eater she would still be getting breastmilk.



My youngest is almost 18 months and we are slowly transitioning him to real milk now.



Check to see when in your area its accepted that they can switch over to cows milk and just go by that (or whichever milk your eventually going to give her) She may even slowly stop wanting it as she is given other things to drink, my youngest son ended up on an apple juice kick for a few weeks! lol

[deleted account]

Granted I was nursing about 30 years ago, but I still remember the sage advice from our pediatrician. We have lots of allergies in our family, so the doctor told us it would help to keep the children from having anything other than breast milk for the first year. This I did. I also introduced a sippy cup soon after their first birthdays. Each would sit at the table for meals with us and if the child wanted, he/she had that option. Eventually, they each started asking for the cup and looked for the breast less and less.



This way, they each actually weaned themselves in their own good time. Sometimes they needed and wanted the breast and sometimes they wanted to walk around or sit at the table with the cup. The last feeding they each gave up was the nighttime one, of course, when it was easier to cuddle into sleepiness. My son gave it up on his own completely at 17 months and my daughter at 14 months. Since I knew she would be my last child and since I had bonded so closely with them while nursing, it was hard for me to let her go at the end, but that's what she wanted to do so I finally let go. They became so interested in exploring their world, nursing was no longer the center of their universe.



Bottom line: Leaving the cup out, even if it is just filled with water, was a way of making weaning their choice, not mine.

Tamara - posted on 08/15/2009

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We weaned at 18 months due to my being hospitalized. If I hadn't been hospitalized, we'd still be nursing today.

Brie - posted on 08/15/2009

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But is there a reccomended time to wean? i know that it's a personal choice i would just like to know when others have done it, and what prompted them to feel "The time is right"

Jennifer - posted on 08/15/2009

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I absolutely believe that it is a personal preference. I know mothers that have stopped at all ages. If you are comfortable to continue I would continue and when you are asked when you will stop you can let them know that you will stop when you are both ready.

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