So, you had your baby, you learnt the art of breastfeeding, everything has been going well and before you know if your tiny little baby is growing up! When is the right time to stop breastfeeding and why do people seem to take offence at breastfeeding beyond a year!
The World Health Organisation Global Strategy (2003) states
“Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond . Exclusive breastfeeding from birth is possible except for a few medical conditions, and unrestricted exclusive breastfeeding results in ample milk production.”
That may be their recommendation, but in reality we know that many peoples views do not agree with this.
I have never set a time for my breastfeeding journey to stop, it has always been a mutual decision between myself and my baby.
Each of my seven children have made the decision themselves to stop, anywhere between 18 months and 22 months, apart from Viggo who made the decision not until age 3.
Although I did find towards the end with each one, I was only feeding at night or first thing in the morning, I tended not to feed them in public, I think I was slightly afraid of the reaction I would get, although this is wrong, and a personal choice, there is always someone out there ready to give a negative opinion.
Members of my own family would ask questions like “Are You STILL feeding ?” or “Isn’t it about time they stopped doing that ?” which I ignored until each of my children made the decision themselves.
So, my advice to anyone feeding beyond a year, is, continue feeding for as long as YOU and YOUR BABY want to and ignore other people’s opinions.
There are so many benefits to breastfeeding whatever their age, just do what you and your child want to do and stuff the rest of the world!