Today’s culture can be so confusing when it comes to breastfeeding. Here’s a few examples:
Culture: You need to breastfeed your baby.
Work: Sorry, you have to clock out to pump.
Neighbor: You’re breastfeeding a toddler?
Friend: It’s weird to breastfeed in front of someone who’s not your husband.
Mother: When are you going to stop breastfeeding?
There are so many differing opinions about breastfeeding! All the information and unsolicited advice can be very overwhelming and frustrating. Parenting is a world of unknowns and the last thing you need is everyone and their brother giving you advice you didn’t ask for. Choosing to breastfeed is a hard and personal decision. Choosing to stop breastfeeding is also a hard and personal decision.
So, when SHOULD you stop breastfeeding?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers feed their babies only breast milk for six months and continue breastfeeding for at least one year. Remember that this is just a recommendation. I had one baby who wouldn’t eat table food so he only had breastmilk for 13 months and another who only had breastmilk for 5 days before I had a mental breakdown and couldn’t handle the toll that breastfeeding took on my body and switched to formula. I am currently going on 6 months of breastfeeding with baby #3 with the goal of weaning at one year!
I say all of this because every mom and every baby is different! The right time to stop is when you and/or your baby want to! I’ve had three very different children and was at three different places in my life when I made the decisions to stop breastfeeding with each child.
Things to consider when deciding to stop breastfeeding:
1) Mental Health: This is a very important factor to ingy bingy. If you are under extreme stress from being the sole nutritional source for your baby, then you should stop. You can’t properly mother your baby if you are emotionally unstable. A happy mom is more important than a breastfed baby!
2) Latch: Sometimes from the get-go baby just doesn’t get it. Feeding is chaotic, painful, and stressful for mom and baby.
If your baby is struggling with their latch, try using an infant pacifier. A newborn pacifier can help your baby practice the sucking motion without the pressure or stress of trying to feed. The ingy bingy band is a great pacifier wristband accessory to get in order to help encourage this sucking without pressure. It is a pacifier wristband that velcros around baby’s wrist. The best part is that by around 4 months they can find the infant pacifier all on their own using the pacifier wristband! Babies cannot usually do that until about 8 months! In addition to breastfeeding benefits, the ingy bingy band will help save your sanity you so that you’re not constantly looking for the pacifier when it falls out!
3) Is baby ready? Some babies will self-wean at 6 months while others will be 3.5! There is no right or wrong age, but if they wean before the age of 1 you will need to supplement with formula. This sometimes happens if baby gets a cold and struggles to latch during the sickness. After they are over the cold, may babies they want to stop breastfeeding all together and you don’t have much control over that decision.
4) Cost: While the cost of formula is typically a reason people choose to push through breastfeeding, time, and mental health are also factors to weigh in the “cost” category!