As we all know that there are several benefits of breastfeeding, but after a specific time period, mothers should stop feeding. But most of us are confused about what age to stop breastfeeding. Each baby is different and based on the situation; some mother can feed their child up to 5-6 years. The older the child, the longer it will take to wean them away from breastfeeding.
Frankly speaking, there is no exact rule about what age to stop breastfeeding. As a mother, you should know the fact that breastfeeding after eight months will not provide any magical benefits to the baby. Once the child crosses one year, breast milk will only become a liquid food for the baby and it will only give psychological satisfaction and physical comfort to the baby.
The process of discontinuing breastfeeding should be slow. It will prevent your child from becoming fretful and your breasts from becoming harder and painful.
Most doctors will recommend breastfeeding at least one year, but the World Health Organization recommends feeding for at least two years. Most women stop feeding earlier than the recommended age because of their employment. Nowadays most of the employers are providing crèches where mothers can continue breastfeeding. Even mothers can express their milk to feed the child when they are away from the home.
You can stop breastfeeding if your baby shows any of these signs and indicate that they are ready to start solid foods by showing any of these signs:
Weight gain: At least your baby should feed for at least six months and the weight of the baby is double that of birth weight. Stopping feeding even earlier can increase the risk of food allergies.
Teeth: Teeth, mouth, tongue and the remaining digestive system all grow in the same period in preparation for weaning to proper solid food. Also, the baby will be less likely to drool as he now has total control over the ability to swallow.
Increased appetite: Growing appetite means the baby is not satisfied with only milk. You should give solid foods to satisfy your child’s nutritional needs.
Curiosity: If the baby is eying the food during your meal time, then it is an indicator that the baby is ready to chew on some food. If the baby tries to grab the food or imitates your chewing, then the baby is ready for the real thing. If the baby makes some gestures that seem to say feed me daily, you can immediately start solid foods.