Stopping breastfeeding

When to stop breastfeeding


There is no normal length of time to completely stop breastfeeding.

Weaning onto solid foods should start at six months but can begin as early as four months if you feel your baby is ready (i.e. reaching for solid foods) - consult your health care adviser first though!

When you stop the breast is up to each mother and child to decide in terms of their needs, wishes and restrictions.

The World Health Organization recommends integral breastfeeding for up to a minimum of 6 months, and also stress the benefits of prolonging breastfeeding for up to a year or more (alongside introduction to diverse foods). There is therefore no medical reason not to prolong breastfeeding.

In the West, we tend to breastfeed for a shorter period for cultural reasons (as well as religious, psychoanalytical, sociological and economic reasons such as the development of artificial milk after the Second World War).

But be aware that scientifically there is nothing against long-term breastfeeding: it can be beneficial to the baby. There's no reason why you shouldn't but the decision is yours!


Parenting Editor
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