When to stop breastfeeding?

(August 3, 2010)

Stop Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is usually recommended for all newborn babies, as breast milk contains a perfect balance of nutrients, which makes it the best option for infants. Breastfeeding is not just beneficial to the baby; it is beneficial to the mother as well. Babies usually find it easier to digest breast milk, which protects them from respiratory and gastrointestinal infections in comparison to babies who are fed formula milk. Besides this, breastfed babies show a lower incidence of allergic diseases. Psychologically, breastfeeding can enhance the bond between a mother and her baby. Therefore, with all the advantages that have been touted about breastfeeding, it is quite natural for you to wonder or to be unsure about when to stop breastfeeding.

Generally, breastfeeding is strongly recommended for about 12 months from the time the baby is born. However, over a period of time, it is quite normal for your baby to decrease the amount of milk consumed, while breastfeeding, as solid foods are introduced and increased. While doctors recommend breastfeeding for a year, the World Health Organization suggests that it should be continued till the child is two years old. As you can see, there are no set rules about when to stop breastfeeding; you can continue for as long as you want to or can stop when you feel the need to do so. While there is no substitute for breast milk, there are several leading formula milk brands that try to closely mimic the qualities found in breast milk. However, the cow’s milk that is usually available in cartons does not have the benefits of breast or formula milk and therefore should be avoided till the baby is at least a year old.

There are many reasons why a woman may want to stop breastfeeding. These reasons usually include, peer pressure, medical problems, a subsequent pregnancy, and work or time constraints. However, the most common reason that women stop nursing their babies is that they believe that the child is too old to be breastfed. However, with the options available for expressing milk and giving it to a child in a bottle, there is no reason why an older baby cannot be breastfed for longer. Even if you do decide to wean your child because he is old enough, it should be a gradual procedure. You can start by weaning your child on bottle milk and solid foods and then gradually cut down on nursing. Actually, when to stop breastfeeding should be a mutual decision between a mother and her child.

Submitted by P T on August 3, 2010 at 12:39

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