How long should a woman breastfeed her child?
This is a question that can generate some fairly heated discussion. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants be fed only breastmilk (no water, formula, other liquids or solids) for about the first six months of life. Women should continue to breastfeed their babies for the next six months while they introduce solid foods. By the age of one year, the main source of your baby’s nutrition has shifted away from your breastmilk to the solid foods he is eating.
Breastfeeding will continue to convey its many benefits to a baby who nurses beyond the age of one year, but not to the extent it did previously when it was the only source of nutrition. There is no recommendation for when women should stop breastfeeding. Most moms start weaning by stopping the midday feeding, then the morning feeding. Giving up the before bed experience usually is the last to go because of all the snuggly, emotional bonds associated with it.
AAP, La Leche League, and others suggest that breastfeeding continue as long as mom and baby wish. Nevertheless, I personally am not convinced of the benefits of breastfeeding for a four year old who can feed and dress himself and may be attending pre-K. What do you think?