The World Health Organisation recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for up to six months, then breastfed along with complementary foods for up to two years and beyond.
Some women stop breastfeeding relatively early, either by choice or because they cannot physically continue. Some stop because they "want their own body back" or want a break from breastfeeding before becoming pregnant with another child. Others choose to practice "extended" or "full term" breastfeeding, continuing to feed their children past the age of one, and in some cases even up to the age of five.
Many people in Western countries find breastfeeding of older children, especially those old enough to walk and talk, a bit confronting. Some people worry that children who are breastfed as toddlers and preschoolers will face social stigma from their peers and adults. Others say that mothers who continue to breastfeed beyond six months or a year are doing it solely for their own benefit rather than the child's. Then there is the old adage that "if they're old enough to ask for it they're too old", though strangely this is not applied to other foods like, say, broccoli.
With so much conflicting advice around and everybody having their own opinions on the subject, how do you know when it is time for you to stop breastfeeding?
I think this is very individual and depends on your family circumstances. If you are going back to work or finding it difficult to breastfeed, then you may need to stop sooner. Women are gifted with intuition and know when it's time to stop. In many cases, babies wean themselves, when they are ready.
It's a personal choice which is between the woman and the child. I prefer to let my children wean themselves when they are ready. In the meantime we both receive the health benefits (reducing their risk of cancer and mine too) of breastfeeding.
Minimum of 12 months but for me it is when my baby tells me they no longer want it. Breastfeeding is best for children and should be continued for as long as possible. My first Breastfeeding baby weaned at just over 3 years second weaned herself (she was tandem fed) when she was 18 months old and I'm still Breastfeeding a 2.5 year old. Babies should never be forceably weaned unless there is a real medical reason for it
The minute their first two teeth come through. Chewing raw veggies and a big steak is good for their teeth and they need to get ready for their second teeth and using them. Breast is best for a human without teeth.
Actually, the first set of teeth are called "milk teeth" for a reason. Traditionally children would wean when their milk teeth or baby teeth started to fall out and be replaced by their adult teeth, at which point they would no longer be able to latch correctly.
You can most definitely feed a child with teeth. Women do it every day (myself included). Babies can be born with teeth or start to get them really early, at just a few months old. That doesn't mean their bodies are suddenly ready for solid food or to do without milk. Even once they are ready for solids they can continue to have breast milk as well.
When it is right for the mother and child. My son tried to wean at 9mths but I didn't let him. I continued feeding him until he was 18 months old. By then breastfeeding had been mainly a nighttime feed or for comfort for a few months. It was an easy transition for both of us.
A friend weaned her daughter at 3 years. She had a conversation letting her know that once she turned 3 she would no longer need the breast. On her third birthday the child knew and gave it up with no trouble.