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    How long should you breastfeed your child?
    Olivia_WebMD_Staff posted:
    Another topic I see crop up in health news and regular news on and off is the subject of when is the cut-off age for breastfeeding a child?

    Some moms keep their babies at the breast for at least 6 months, while some others are still doing so when their children are toddlers or even preschoolers.

    What do you think? At what age should a mother discontinue breastfeeding and why?
    korin81 responded:
    Not sure about a time to discontinue, I think that really depends on the child and mom. But at a minium I would do it for 12 months. My Son self weaned right at 12 months. My daughter she started to wean at 13 months. I was only doing one feeding before bed with her and when she was 14 months I found out I was preggers again. I have HG when pregnant so I was forced to wean her all the way right after that cause I was barely eating as it was.

    I feel when its the best time to wean that is when you should. So far my kids have been good about doing it themselves for the most part. I hope my next (and last) is the same way. I am looking forward to breastfeeding again though .
    Anon_1723 replied to korin81's response:
    My opinion changed after I had my son. I never planned to breastfeed after a year, but now that he's 1, he shows no signs of wanting to wean, and I'm not going to force it at this stage. I work full time and still pump once a day. He nurses at night, in the morning, and on weekends.

    I feel this is a private decision between mother and child. But people are so weird. They admonish you for not breastfeeding and then if you breastfeed after a year they think it's gross.

    People should focus on real issues like combating malnutrition, childhood obesity, child abuse, and the number of families living in poverty. Nursing for an extended period of time should be the least of their worries.
    butterflygarden responded:
    This is a personal decision.

    However, I have to say that I have seen 3 and 4-year-olds who are still on the breast asking their moms for it. In my opinion, if your child is old enough to drink from a cup they should be doing so. Breast milk can be pumped into a cup just as well as sipped from the source.

    We wean our children off bottle and breast as they move forward in their development. Drinking from a cup like a big boy or girl is part of that.

    JenPBDBP2 responded:
    The AAP recommends exclusive nursing for 1 year. The World Health Organization recommends 2 years. I say it's not my business at all.
    tlkittycat1968 replied to butterflygarden's response:
    Yeah, when they're old enough to ask for the breast, they're too old to breastfeed, IMO.
    kc_94920 responded:
    I agree that it is a personal decision and there is no right or wrong answer. I think it's ridicilous to even try to determine a cut-off age, really, what's the point. Nurse your baby if you want to, don't nurse if you don't want to. Stop when you feel it's right for you and your child. Enough said.

    My oldest slowly self weaned before she was 16 months, my DS stopped at 24 months and my DD2 at 26 months. Don't offer, don't refuse work for each of them and it was painless for everyone involved all three times.
    mwhite80 responded:
    I breastfed my son for 8 months and stopped due to not being able to produce enough anymore. With my daughter I was force to stop at 6 month because she wouldnt stop biting me. Her first tooth came in at 5 1/2 months and she quickily learn how to use them.
    An_244626 responded:
    I think that babies should continue to nurse if possible until they are eating solids well and can tolerate cow's milk. Maybe 12 months?

    The "expert" advice that I had available to me when my children were babies said to nurse until the child weaned him/herself. My daughter stopped nursing at 9 months but she was in day care and getting both formula and breast milk.

    I don't think my son would have ever stopped if I hadn't forced him to. He was still nursing once a day when he was 2 1/2 with no indication that he would ever give it up. I forced the issue and stopped allowing him to nurse at bed time. I really don't think he was ready though because he started sucking on his shirt at the shoulder and did that for about a year. It was so pathetic looking.
    JenPBDBP2 replied to An_244626's response:
    He probably would have stopped after awhile. If it looked pathetic, imagine how he felt.

    Not to get down on you at all but it was my first thought.
    icequeenaries replied to butterflygarden's response:
    Breast milk production is best stimulated by nursing. No matter how great the pump it can't compare to nature.
    jashaleigh responded:
    My son is 2 and a half and is still nursing. At first I knew I wanted to nurse until he was one because that was the best thing for him and wow did that first year go fast. I nurse now because that is OUR special time. Only a couple of family members on mine and my boyfriend's side of the family is some what okay with my breastfeeding but everyone else is disgusted with it. I've had to learn not to care and just trust my instinct as his mother. I don't know when we'll decide to stop nursing but I don't think it is anyone else's decision (or society's) except myself and my son and it should be the same for all mothers and their children.
    brooklyniteinohio responded:
    18 months, 22 months, 33 months, 42 months. With each child I became more comfortable and more aware of the psychological benefits and bonding that it offered. It was a wonderful experience for everyone and very good on the budget. Portable too!
    MsTweety59 responded:
    I think the mother should breastfeed until she isn't comfortable with it anymore or until the baby is. My first child stopped when she was about 19mos. The second I stopped at 10mos (girl)because I became irritated then found out I was pregnant with the third child who stopped himself at 10mos. Each situation is different. Each child is different with different needs. Do whatever works for you and the baby.

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