Our Family

Our Family

Friday, May 11, 2012

Breastfeeding: When to Wean

I am very passionate about breastfeeding.  It has been proven over and over again how much better it is for babies then formula and there are numerous health benefits for mother and baby (that does mean however that women who don't breastfeed are not wonderful mothers.)   It kind of boils down to the fact that God made it much better than man ever could and He knew what He was doing when he made mamas able to feed their babies.  You can read my post on why breastfeeding is the right choice here.

After making the decision to breastfeed many woman want to know how long they should breastfeed for.  That is one of those topics that you will hear somebody's opinion on, often whether you want to hear it or not, and more often from someone who has never even nursed a baby.  Some will say the magic number is one. Some will say two.  Some will say as soon as baby is eating solid foods well.  Many are shocked by the idea of a mom still nursing a three year old.  The truth is there is no magic age that you have to stop nursing you baby.

I was talking to a young mom the other day who was wondering when to wean her one year old.  Many people have told her she needs to wean him since he is over a year old.  Why?  Breastfeeding still provides your baby with all of the good things at 12 months than it did at 3 months.  It is much healthier and natural than many of the foods we eat.  Some people may think it is strange to nurse an older child, but what is the difference between nursing a baby that is 23 months old and one that is 2?  It is not like you are picking up a 2 year old and nursing him for the first time, he has been growing gradually as he has been nursing.

I have to say that the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard on the subject was that babies should not be nursed past the age of one, because as babies get older they start to know the differences between boys and girls and by then know what breasts are really for.  What?  Yes, in fact a very young baby knows what a breast is really for, providing food and nourishment to them.  Whether it's a young baby or an older toddler that has been nursed his whole life you can believe they definitely know what breasts are for apparently better than many adults.

So, the real answer to the question of when to wean your baby depends on you and your baby.  If you have decided that you are ready to stop nursing or you need to for various reasons (for me the decision usually came when I was about 5 months pregnant with the next baby) then it is time to start weaning your baby.  If your baby looses interest and does not want to nurse anymore it is time to start weaning your baby.  My little angel is 14 months old and I am still nursing her 8-10 times a day.  At 14 months old my Christian decided he didn't want to nurse any more.  Every baby is different.  Make your decision on what is right for you and your family.  Do not wean your baby because you feel pressured by other people and their opinions.  Cherish the time that you have to nurse your baby because no matter how long you decide to nurse for it will go by very quickly.
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