Breastfeeding can be an important, if difficult, step in the life of a new mother. It creates an instant physical and emotional connection with her child, for which reason weaning can be an equally difficult process for many mothers.
Each mother will have a different experience in how long to breastfeed and when to stop. Everyone is different, so choosing to wean is a decision that must be made by the mother with both her and her child’s circumstances in mind.
Doctors recommend solely breastfeeding for the first six months of any baby’s life as mother’s milk contains antibodies important for building the child’s immune system. As the child grows, more solid foods and other nutrition can be introduced alongside it.
As there isn’t any specific age for weaning a toddler, there are differing opinions on when to wean. Some mothers will begin after the child has reached a year old while others may wish to begin later. Experts tend to agree that weaning should ideally be led by the child, but for many mothers that isn’t practical due to difficulties and frustrations inherent to breastfeeding.
It’s important to weigh in both the mother’s needs and the child’s. As babies grow to become toddlers, they will begin to learn and adapt to the world around them. Progressively weaning while responding to the child’s reactions at this time allows the child to naturally leave babyhood behind on their own terms.