For how long to breastfeed a child is completely the choice of the mother. It is the right of every mother to decide what is best for the child. There are many factors including the weight of the child, the needs, and feelings of the child, and also your own feelings that might make you feel for how long you need to breastfeed the child. Many parents are quite obvious of the duration but most of the time the decision is not that simple or obvious.
How Do You Know When To Stop Breastfeeding?
How long you breastfeed your child is completely your decision. There is no age limit for it and also no harm in breastfeeding the child for more than a year. The major health organizations recommend breastfeeding for at least a year. First six months there should be exclusive breastfeeding with a combination of breastfeeding and introducing solid foods after 6 months.
Academy of American Pediatrics (APA) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends breastfeeding for at least one year. (2, 3) After one year it’s the mother’s and the infant’s choice to continue it further or not.
It is often said that breast milk loses its nutritional value after one year, which is not true.
A study shows that the nutritional profile of breast milk stays the same throughout the second year. Its protein and sodium content increases while calcium and iron content decrease. (6)
The antibody content of breastmilk stays the same and continues to boost the immune system the entire duration of breastfeeding.
Signs That Show Its Time To Stop Breastfeeding
There are a few signs shown by the mother or also by the infant that can signal that now it’s time to stop breastfeeding.
1. Breastfeeding Is Negatively Impacting Your Health
When you get stressed, anxious, or hurt (in some females it gets painful) while breastfeeding, it is time to stop it.
Some females develop mastitis and also postpartum depression and it becomes important to stop breastfeeding considering the mental and physical health. In such cases, even the thought of breastfeeding makes the female miserable.
A lactation consultant can be seen to solve the problem but feeling discouraged and disinterested in breastfeeding the child is not worth it.
2. You Need To Join Your Work Back
After 6 months a few moms consider joining back their work. They can still provide the baby with breast milk by pumping and collecting it. Slowly the body also gets adjusted to the schedule.
It can be difficult for a few moms to find space and time along with a busy schedule to pump milk and finally end up in feeding the child during mornings and evenings. Starting it may be a bit difficult but everything fits in the schedule easily.
3. Baby Has Allergies And Intolerances
Sometimes a child shows the signs of allergy after breastfeeding. This can depend on anything the mother has eaten which was not well-tolerated by the child.
The symptoms can be fussiness, stomach issues, rashes, or other symptoms. Avoiding these foods can prevent allergies but can put the mother at stress. The change in diet is well-accepted by a few babies while a few continue to show symptoms. A transition from breast milk to a hypo-allergic formula can provide relief.
4. Low Milk Supply In A Female
Some mothers have a very low supply of milk, and it can be seen if the baby doesn’t feel full anytime after breastfeeding.
Even after trying various strategies for boosting the milk supply, it does not improve, know it that it’s time to move on from breastfeeding.
No matter what anybody else has to say, it is you and your baby’s happiness that matters the most. Whether you have breastfed for days, weeks, months, or years, know that you have blessed your child with amazing health benefits. Be proud of what you have done.