When is it time to stop breastfeeding?

There’s no single answer to this one—breastfeeding is a personal decision up to you and your baby.

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

Weaning starts as soon as babies begin to take anything other than the breast and always happens—eventually,” says Frances Jones of BC Women’s Hospital Milk Bank lactation service. Extended breastfeeding, beyond infancy, can have many positive effects, she explains, such as fewer illnesses for the baby and a reduced risk of certain cancers for the mother. “Keep breastfeeding until you and your baby decide to do something else.”

We asked our readers how they knew it was the right time for them.

My daughter was 16 months old and I was eight weeks pregnant. I was nauseated, so it was time. —Tanya Nix, Kelowna, BC

We made it just shy of his fifth birthday. It had tapered off naturally when he turned to me and said, “I not do that anymore.” —Tania Crook Vocilka, Guelph, Ont.

My goal was to nurse until six months, but around five and a half months, I started to resent breastfeeding. We started to switch to formula at that point. No regrets. —Robyn Willroider, Almonte, Ont.

When my daughter was six months old, and I was watching her play on the floor independently, I realized I was spending so much time pumping that I was missing great bonding opportunities with her. —Marianne Spring, Cochrane, Alta.

I’ve decided I’ll stop when my daughter wants to. She turns three this week and we’re still going strong! —Erin Wilson, Surrey, BC

My daughter began to lose interest. She was about 14 months old when she went down to two feedings, and was completely done by 17 months. —Sacha Coutu, bright’s cove, Ont.

It just wasn’t going well at all, and with a traumatic birth, long recovery and postpartum depression, it was breastfeeding or my sanity. At a few weeks in I had to let it go. —Tiffany Austin, Calgary

Once my daughter started to bite at 11 months, I knew it was time to wean. —Laura Mathison, Vancouver

All three of mine stopped nursing when they slept through the night at 13, 15 and 20 months. The night feeding was the last one to go. It felt like a very natural transition for us.—Sarah Cameron, Owen Sound, Ont.

A version of this article appeared in our April 2015 issue with the headline, “Your top 10 most googled parenting questions,” p.67.

Read More:
Would you breastfeed a child past age two?
Baby-led weaning: What you need to know
Breastfeeding: When to start weaning

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