When to Wean

In the United States most women stop breat feeding their infants around the age of 6 months. In fact it is the goal of many organizations to convince mothers to  stop breast feeding definitely by 12 months and hopefully by 6. Even though it is known that breast milk (or formula) is the best form of nutrition through the first year of life. Some women stop because it is very difficult and not worth fearing feedings, others because they are worried about the social aspects, and some because it simply isn’t convenient.

In my opinion, breast feeding is the best way to go. Save the fact that it may not be a possibility, or an extremely difficult one, this is what is best for the child. Once the child reaches the age of around 6 to 12 months, however, they’ve started eating solid foods and are able to become a part of family meal times. I don’t think that at this point it is worng to start weaning to a bottle or a sippy cup. I’ve had family members and friends that breast feed their kids until they’re 3 or 4 and it is a little weird. I understand that there are benefits, but it’s awkward for everyone else. Maybe this shouldn’t be as important as we as a society make it, but the truth us, it is that important.

If people want to keep breast feeding into the preschool years, then they should, but they shouldn’t feel their child will miss out if they don’t. And if it feels socially awkward to continue then you should stop. You should breast feed for at least the first 6 months, 12 would be even better, as long as it is a comfortable experience for you.

-Melinda Perkins


~ by fairydust4ever on September 20, 2009.

2 Responses to “When to Wean”

  1. Wow! 3 or 4 years old definitely seems a little long and weird to breast feed a baby, I agree with you on that one! Also, wouldn’t that hurt? Anyway, I don’t want to have too much of a mental picture of that in my head, but 6 months to a year definitely seems necessary. Interesting post.

    Ryan Van Wagenen

  2. I find it very hard to believe that any organization would discourage women from breastfeeding after 6 months. I would like to know who you are talking about when you say that many organizations are doing that. In ALL the information that I have read about, credible organizations that deal with babies and pregnant women encourage them to breast feed as long as they can, preferably to a year.

    Becky Knoblauch Smart

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