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?

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10 Responses to “How long should a woman breastfeed her child?”

  1. James from Says:

    This is a great article! My wife was only able to breastfeed one first son and only for two months….for our second child she did not lactate enough and my wife boy was angry when he would feed as he always stayed hungry! Well that only lasted for 3 days… Thank god for Formula!

  2. breastfeeding advice Says:

    The important long term benefits of breast feeding include reduced risk of asthma, allergies, obesity, and some forms of childhood cancer. The more that scientists continue to learn, the better breast milk looks. In addition to making your baby healthier, breast feeding may also make him smarter. Many studies have proved that breast fed babies tend to be more smarter than babies who were fed with formula or other methods

  3. Lindsay Says:

    Thanks for your input. I wouldn’t say that studies have proven it yet, but breastfeeding may enhance brain development. Some studies suggest that children who are breastfed may score higher on tests of cognitive ability than children who are fed formula.

  4. yetunde akintoye Says:

    virtually i suggested that a baby feeding should last for about 9/13month.course i did feed my baby for almost 14month

  5. concerned neighbor Says:

    my neighbor’s child is now 2 she will be 3 on Jan 11th…she is still doing it and says she will continue till the child wants off..the mother has stated the child will latch to only one breast always the same one and feed off it while playing with the other one…I’m not convinced this is a good idea…child can dress herself with a little help and feed herself…please comment if this is normal behavior you say they can feed as long as mother can produce I know for a fact that some moms can produce till their child is 12 as a mom got charged for doing it to her child so there has to be a cut off that the government deems necessary

  6. amanda2331 Says:

    Ewww at concerned neighbor!! I would be a bit concerned too. Its disgusting. I breast fed my oldest for 2 months and that was weird for me. Now going on 3?? That’s just wrong naturally and gross. Get out together “mom” and learn what’s good for your child and what’s not.

  7. Jordan Says:

    I dont think anyone should judge! Especially if the child is still in diapers! Every child develops differently and their needs are different as well! My son is 2 and he is not ready to give up his nighttime feeding. He cries so hard that he makes himself sick! If it was something that was hurting him, then I would let him cry it out! But, its not! Its actually a beautiful thing…the bond between mother and child! If anyone has healthy suggestions on how to wean him off his nighttime feeding, please lmk. Until then, im going to stay tuned into my sons needs. Take care ladies

  8. rye Says:

    Well let me say this first, breastfeeding is indeed natural. There is nothing more natural that nuturing your child from your own body. The term “gross” is used in situations that are unpleasant. GOD created us women to nuture our child through breastfeeding. Formula hasn’t always existed but the woman has! I say continue to breastfeed until baby is ready to wean. Showing signs that he or she doesn’t want the breast anymore. The appropriate age depends on You and your baby! Have a good day all;)

  9. Modesty Simpson. Says:

    What if a woman were to breastfeed and formula feed?

  10. Sara Says:

    You can continue breastfeeding or giving your baby breast milk as long as you wish. After your baby’s first birthday, begin switching any supplemented formula with whole milk and be sure to speak with your baby’s health care provider about any questions you have about your baby’s diet.