When should you stop breastfeeding?

Amber - posted on 07/26/2010 ( 96 moms have responded )

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My baby is only 3months right now and no where near close to be done breastfeeding but at what point do you stop? I know everyone has their own opinions but I'm curious what everyone has to say.

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Racheal - posted on 08/06/2010

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formula is so absolutely disgusting and totally commercialized i dont understand if you can avoid using it why dont you!!!! why would anyone want to give there child 100000% processed synthetic CRAP compared to NATURAL HUMAN MILK, oh i now..cuz the USA overly SEXUALIZED booobies!

LOL sorry for my rant.

Amy - posted on 08/01/2010

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Morgan, I hear a lot of mothers with stories like yours. What many don't realise is that newborn babies all seem voraciously hungry, and all mothers only produce colostrum for the first few days at least - it's only a very small amount that the baby needs. The other thing that happens is that as soon as you introduce formula, it interferes with the supply and demand mechanism, diminishing supply.

Virtually all mothers will make plenty of milk for their babies if they feed on demand and don't supplement, since the more the baby feeds the more milk will be made - it doesn't matter whether it's a big baby or a small baby :-) A breastfed baby will find its own natural growth curve.

Not trying to take away from your achievement though - you did really well to get to 9 months, which is a lot more breastmilk than the average baby gets. Just a few pointers that other mums facing a similar situation might find helpful.

Candice - posted on 07/27/2010

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Since Breastfeeding is a relationship between two (or more if you tandem nurse) people, Both parties must be willing participants. So as long as you and your baby are happy with the relationship, then really the sky is the limit on the length.

FYI self weaning (by the baby) usually occurs between the ages of 2-7 years.

Racheal - posted on 08/06/2010

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amelia it is totally fine for a child to remember nursing! there is NOTHING that states psychological issues could form! if anything they have a better bond with there mom are nicer children! please do some research before making statements that could cause a woman to stop breastfeeding before her child or her are ready.

Jennifer - posted on 08/02/2010

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I nursed my son until 2.3 years and my daughter was 2 in March and stills nurses to go to sleep. For me the benefits far out weight the cons. I believe it is a beautiful and healthy God given gift for mothers to bond with their babies and recommend going to at least a year or 2. It really helps when then are cutting their 2 year molars, too.
Jennifer Polimino
www.PrayForYourBaby.com

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Lucy - posted on 08/08/2010

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I guess the simple answer is, as long as you and your baby are both enjoying it. My little boy is 15 months now and still enjoys his breastfeed in the mornings and evenings. He has recently dropped his nap-time feed on his own, so I guess he knows what he needs, and no plans to stop him any time soon.
Just in case you need a "me reason" rather than a "baby reason" to keep at it, studies show that the longer you breastfeed the lower your chances of developing breast cancer - in fact, they reckon that if every mother breastfed for 2 years, the world breast cancer statistics would drop by 75%!

Octaviana - posted on 08/08/2010

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My daughter is one year and one month and again because I think that lactating breast milk protects the body from diseases and gives a higher resistance. A breast-feed her another two months.
Studies show that breastfed babies are less likely to develop disease and if they occur, however, the effects are more moderate

Lisa - posted on 08/07/2010

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my son was almost 7 months when i dried up, i didnt get to with my daughter she was 6 weeks early and they had to send her to the NICU with out me so they put her pn bottle and she would feed off of me, i was sad it hurt not to see baby for 3 days

Kyrie - posted on 08/07/2010

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I just say go for as long as you can, I just kept putting up a goal amount of time and when I hit it I would say now I can quit but maybe I can make it even longer. With my first the goal was as long as possible and at least 1 year and we made it to 13 or 14 months. With my second my first goal was 6 months, then 1 year in accordance with American Pediatrics recommendations, and then 2 years in accordance with W.H.O., the World Health Organization. So far we are at 24 months and 2 weeks! Also, just keep telling yourself that studies prove the longer your child nurses, the healthier and smarter they'll be. For all we know, 1 month can make a million dollar difference or could mean a scholarship or a cure to cancer. So keep it up as long as you can hold out mommas!

LaToya - posted on 08/07/2010

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I've been told to breast feed until 12 months, however, I am 9 months pregnant now and I plan on giving my son the breast for the first few weeks along with breast milk from a bottle and eventually moving him onto just the bottle, mainly to keep him from using me as a teether, but will not ween him from breat milk until around 12 months. I've always heard 12 months but its mainly what you feel is best. Just watch out for teeth! Good luck!!!

Tanya - posted on 08/07/2010

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Krystal, you stopped breastfeeding when your son was 5 months old, simply for the fact that you weren't losing any weight? How selfish of you

Krystal - posted on 08/07/2010

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I stopped breastfeeding when my son was 5 months old, simply for the fact that I wasn't losing any weight and I really wanted to. I couldn't exercise and diet like I wanted to because it would have affected the quality of my milk, according to doctors. And it was just sort of becoming an inconvenience for me. I work in a restaurant, 8 hour shifts and it is almost impossible for me to get away long enough to pump... so by the end of my shift I was ready to burst. I wish I would have stayed breastfeeding a little longer, but I think it was long enough and at least I can say I tried. Maybe if/ when I have another baby I will stay breastfeeding longer. All I can say is, like everyone else has said, go by how you feel. and your baby. They are more than willing to let you know when they are ready to wean :D enjoy this time!

Courtney - posted on 08/07/2010

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My son is 6months and I still breastfeed. I plan to breastfeed til he is 1 years old. When his teeth come in, I'll pump. So do what you feel is right for you and your baby.

Ashley - posted on 08/07/2010

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Well at a year old when they no longer need breastmilk or formula is when I will stop. My daughter just turned 6 months old and eventhough I'm not breastfeeding, I'm still pumping and will continue to do so as long as I can keep up until she gets to be a year old. But that's just my personal thoughts, but many people dont' breastfeed or pump and all, and other breastfeed well after their first birthday. So its all depends on what you want to do.

Whitney - posted on 08/07/2010

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i breastfeed my son until about 11months old. until he was able to pull my shirt down because he knew where it was. then i pumped till he was about 15months and put him on formula. the doctors say the longer the better as long as your eating right and taking your vitamins

Abby - posted on 08/07/2010

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You will come to a point when you know it's time to quit nursing. Whenever YOU want to stop is the right answer, and when you feel like it's a good time for your baby to stop too. I nursed my son until he was 17 months old and I was 5 months pregnant with my 2nd. I was starting to hate it, so i knew it was time.

Emily - posted on 08/07/2010

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Whatever works best for you an your baby. I'm still nursing my 13 months old. My oldest daughter I stopped at 6 months. It all depends on you and the baby!! Good Luck

April - posted on 08/07/2010

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I always tell moms when they ask me, "Keep going as long as you and your child feel comfortable"...I konw the AAP reccomends aleast 1 year....and the WHO recommends 2 or more years....
we are hitting the 1 year mark next week and I still don't know what I'm going to do, when I'm going to ween or even HOW I want to go about doing it ....(and I've taught classes on how to ween)
Breastfeeding is a personal experiance between you and your child, and the experiance is what you make of it...

Doaa - posted on 08/07/2010

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I want to ask when my child can talk?how many words he should say by the age of 2

Tanya - posted on 08/07/2010

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Kate, you are totally wrong. Thank you Rachael, someone has some informed input!

Tiera - posted on 08/06/2010

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My daughter will be 2 years old in a few weeks. She is gradually weaning herself. At the present time she nurses only for a few minutes just before bed, by her choice. I plan to let her wean herself. I nursed my first child until 1 year and naively stopped because I thought you were supposed to stop at one year. Wish I had let her self wean too.

Stephanie - posted on 08/06/2010

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I breastfed till my son was 11 months old. I feel breastfeeding is the best for u and your child, but everyone is different. I was lucky enough to be able to come home at lunch from work and i had a really good pump. I stopped because he was eating table food alot and he started drinking whole milk. It is really your personal choice. I think it creates a better bond with your child and it is so much healthier. and it is free and u can take it with you at all times. I think a year is the longest i would have breastfed

Doaa - posted on 08/06/2010

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you should continue breastfeeding at least till your baby is 6 months.you know my baby is now 19 months and i'm still breastfeeding him and he is eating all food as well.

Andrea - posted on 08/06/2010

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Maybe a better question is "When did YOU stop breastfeeding?" or "When do you plan on stopping breastfeeding?" It is completely an individual choice that only you and your baby can negotiate. Everyone may have an opinion. My daughter turned 21 mos today and still nurses often. I know a friend who's daughter weaned on her 4th birthday, and others who never made it 4 days...so there is no "should." And it is only what works for you and your baby! Good luck! :)

Patricia - posted on 08/06/2010

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I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and I had to be off my medicines during my pregnancy and while I was breastfeeding. I breastfed my son for 3 months, that was all my body could handle being without the medicines.
The doctors said that the first 3 months are the most important because that is when you pass all the immunity and everything they need from you.
I think you should breastfeed as long as you are comfortable, don’t feel obligated; there are a lot of good formulas.

Amelia - posted on 08/06/2010

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First of all Kate is wrong. You don't HAVE to stop breast feeding at 12 months. However, your breast milk does start to lose some of the iron that 12-24 month olds need. At 12 months it is recommended that you start whole milk. Breast feeding is still fine, but I would recommend supplementing with whole milk. 12-24 month babies need the fat in whole milk to help the connections in their brain form. Also, whole milk should be given until 24 months, not 18 months like Kate suggested. I do agree that 5 years is way too old to be breast feeding. The child will remember that when they are older and could have psychological issues as a result. I would not go past about 2 and 1/2 years with breasting to reduce any chance that the child will remember it when they are older.

Racheal - posted on 08/06/2010

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kate- how can you seriously think breastfeeding is unhealthy???

Racheal - posted on 08/06/2010

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@rhiannon- your milk was the color and consistency of water because your child was getting the for milk which is supposed to meet their thirst, the hind milk which is very creamy and has the most fat is at the very end of the feeding. your baby was screaming hungry because it wasn't getting the belly filling good stuff, and FYI NOOO breastmilk is shit quality!

Racheal - posted on 08/06/2010

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The WHO(world health organization) recommend up to and through the 2nd year of life :) hope this helps!!! im nursing my 8.5 month old and i hope he doesnt want to stop before then!

Kate - posted on 08/06/2010

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I feel as though you should stop breastfeeding at 12 months, tops. The child needs to learn how to grow up on their own, and not be so dependent of their mother. I had a neighbor that breastfed until he was 5, and I thought it was totally disgusting and really unnecessary and unhealthy. At 18 months, you should be starting to switch your child to 2% milk, not breastfeeding them. 12 months TOPS!

[deleted account]

I'm a pediatric registered nurse and I also am a breastfeeding advocate for a well known nutrition company. I'd like to commend you on your decision to breastfeed your child and the longer you do it the better, however, you should determine what is best for you and your baby. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) states the following recommendation for breastfeeding your infant: "Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child."

There are so many benefits of breastfeeding for both you AND your baby. Good luck!

Silver - posted on 08/06/2010

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In my opinion, it's your personal decision as far as when you decide on weaning your child. I nursed my first child until she was 16 mths due to some circumstances, and for my 2nd child I'll probably nurse her until she's about 2 yrs. It's also quite beneficial to both you and your child. It gives you more bonding time, and you have more of a closeness with your child. Its also quite relaxing too. Enjoy your little while they are young, they grow up quickly.

Jenny - posted on 08/06/2010

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I think that is definately a personal decision. I would say whenever it feels like it is time to stop. I had wanted to do it for a year. Before I had my son I told myself at least 6 months but that when the baby is 1, I would definately stop. I ended up quiting after 1 month because it just wasn't working for me. But in my opinion for women who breastfeeding is working for I would vote for 6months to a year. Besides the health benefits, it sure saves ALOT of money. I am now stuck paying for a large can of formula ($25) every 5-7 days!!

Tanya - posted on 08/06/2010

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Why do people feel the need to 'wean' their children? They will wean themselves- obviously if your child is nursing, they are getting something out of it. Comfort/ nutrition etc. There truely arent many women that'dont produce enough' ot 'dont have quality milk'- thats just a cop out. Breastmilk is best for your baby and it is normal- why give your baby something completely artificial (formula) or cows milk (designed for cows- hello?)
The WHO recommends breastfeeding for 2 years- this is a minimum!
Please do your research on te benefits of breastmilk before prematurely 'weaning' your children!

Courtney - posted on 08/06/2010

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WHO say up to and beyond 2 yrs.
My little one is 2.5yrs and has a breastfeed when she wakes up and before going to sleep (nap and bed time) this works well for us and I am planning on letting her lead the weaning process. Breastfeeding is a far to helpful parentling tool for me as well as all the other bonuses to give up when it is at it's easiest :D
Just remember that your breastfeeding relationship is between you and your child.

Vivianne - posted on 08/06/2010

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two years is ideal coz yo child will have a very good immunity. u shd do exclusively 4 six months thou this is hard but even thou yo child does it at nyt only its k, she will still achieve da benefits up to about 2 years. i stopped ma gal at 23months t was hard but atlst im glad i did t 4 long........dnt let yo child off early if they love tha breasts thou sm ofcourse stop early but its healthy

Kimberley - posted on 08/06/2010

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I stopped breast feeding my sons at around 8 months but started introducing formula at around 6 months but if it works for you to keep breast feeding do what you want, you may find around the time teeth come into it you will have no choice!! lol just enjoy and don' worry about it just enjoy this precious time

Makha - posted on 08/06/2010

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Hi Amber. i stopped breast feeding my son when he was only 5 months old, because i had to come to school. personally i think a child should be breastfed for 2yrs at least but if necessity call for you to stop there is no harm in doing that.

Tiffany - posted on 08/06/2010

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When you feel it's time...My daughter self weened at 16 months then I pumped until 18 months. Good Luck!

Darci - posted on 08/05/2010

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If your thinking about stoping at 3 months i think thats early. I nursed my son till he was14 months. I originally wanted to stop at 1 year but my son wasnt ready so I let him nurse for naps and bed time once he hit one then he was ready at 14 months to stop completely.

Mandi - posted on 08/05/2010

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My son is 18 months old and I am still nursing. The World Health Orginization recommends you breast feed until the age of 2.

Ashley - posted on 08/05/2010

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My son will be 2 in October and still breastfeeds. Im trying to wean him slowly so that hopefully by 2 he will be done. I originally set my goal at a year, but once I got to that, hubby told me I didnt need to get a job so I stayed at home and decided on another year lol. I'm looking to go back to school so I think 2 is a good age for me. Everyone is different though. I know some people who only breastfed 6 weeks and others who did it for 4 years!

Carlin - posted on 08/05/2010

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Short and sweet - I stopped at TWO and it was fine for both of us.... one day i just started the medication to dry up and told her no more (told her i gave my boobs to the stray cat in our area and she was fine) no mess no fuss.... very sore boobs for almost two weeks tho..... good luck.

Jessica - posted on 08/05/2010

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I nursed my son till he was 10 months old. When I started weening him to solids I would only nurse him in the mornings, right before nap time, and at night. Then I would take the morning away, then the nap time one, etc. The important thing is to be in tune with your baby. He/she will give you signs that they're ready. Like reaching for your food when you're eating. Hope it helps. :)

Alisha - posted on 08/05/2010

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If you stop breastfeeding before a year, then you should gradually switch over to formula by mixing little by little in bottles with your milk so the digestive tract has time to get used to it. But hands down breast is the best!

Alisha - posted on 08/05/2010

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I stopped at 2 years old. For the last 6 months we just nursed once a day (before bed). So it's different for everyone, but at least a year is recommended. It's totally up to you and what you want to do. People didn't like that I nursed 'so long' and gave me a hard time about it but I figured it's not affecting them so I'm going to do what I want! In the end it was best for me and my daughter.

Jen - posted on 08/04/2010

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When baby is ready to be done! My son self weaned at 15mo due to my milk changing.. I was 3 months pregnant.

Dale - posted on 08/04/2010

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my little one stopped when she was 11 months, from about 8 months we went down to 3 feeds and then a month later she lost interest in the middle one so we cut that out and the a month after that she lost interest in the first one so we cut that one out and then a month later she lost all interest so i stopped when she was ready, not every child will do this (i'm very lucky)....

Jamie - posted on 08/04/2010

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Most doctors, I believe, recommended at least six months. Some orginzations recommend between 1-2 years. I decided that I would breastfeed until 2 years, but my daughter is currently 13 months, and is weaning herself. She went from nursing every 3 hours to only 2-3 times in an entire day. So go figure. I would say if you could hang in there then then try to make it to 6 months. Then you could incorporate baby food, and your formula bill wont be so high!

Lindsey - posted on 08/04/2010

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My little man (first child) will be 13 mo. on 8/9 and we are still bfing. I was committed for 6 mo. and it has been working out since. Not sure when we will wean, but I think we'll both know. As stated before, AAP says 1 year; WHO says 2. The longer you do (from now on, within reason :) ), the better!

Kayla - posted on 08/04/2010

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My son is 9 months old and he only started taking a bottle of formula at 7 months. I am still breastfeeding now though at night. He is starting to wean himself. That is what cue you should look for when you want to decide to stop breastfeeding. Your baby will give you clues as to when they are ready to wean. Take clues from your baby. It's all up to you and the baby.

Kassi - posted on 08/04/2010

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I personally only planned on nursing my daughter for the first 6 weeks or so but that was before I experienced the bonding effect. :) When she was 3 months and I went back to work we started keeping formula on hand in case I couldn't get enough pumped. Now she'd 6 months and she only actually nurses for her first morning feeding because she's entirely too interested in EVERYTHING from the dog walking by to light in the window to have enough patience to nurse any other time of day. I feel like my supply has gone WAY down because my work schedule is erratic and I can't seem to pump enough so combined with her new teeth I'll probably be weaning her completely soon, though I intend to continue pumping until it just runs completely dry. I've heard about mothers that keep nursing up until 5 or so, which I feel is a little ridiculous. I understand that there are massive benefits to breast milk, but when the child is old enough to verbally ask for is or to unbutton your shirt, it should be over. Its time to start pumping and put in in a cup at that point. When you personally decide to stop or change how you go about it is the right time. I know that I'm going to have trouble giving up the one or two feedings a day that we do just because I enjoy the cuddly close time with her, but my Lucy could care less either way, as long as she's fed. I'm sure most other babies are the same way. As long as your baby is fed and you're both happy its completely up to you and what you're comfortable with.

Michelle - posted on 08/04/2010

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I'm still breastfeeding my 2 year (and 3 month) daughter. If they do bite when they are teething it usually is when the first tooth is breaking through and if you unlatch quickly they get the message pretty clearly. I agree that most moms incorrectly are told and think they don't produce enough milk. I was struggling right after my emergency c-section and a couple of appointments with a lactation consultant really helped. I really don't understand why its even relevant if breastfeeding a toddler in public is embarrassing. It hurts when fellow breastfeeding mothers feel that way since it is a personal decision when to stop and you are only judging those that support you.

Stop when it feels right for your and your baby. Breast milk doesn't magically become void of nutrients past a certain age. There isn't an expiration date.

Nicole - posted on 08/04/2010

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If you can than go till 12 monthes at least but go longer if you can too. If you stop breast feeding before 12 monthes make sure to still use formula until they are 12 monthes and than go to 3% milk. That is sooo... important!!! We used Walmart brand formula and it worked and was cheap. And don't feed them solid food at all until they are 6 monthes it is very important or their digestive health.

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