When is the right time to stop breastfeeding?
I am almost 7 months into my breastfeeding journey with Holly. But the question is, when is the right time to stop?
I say ‘journey’ because:
- I wanted to give up on day 2
- I suffered horrendous cracked & sore nipples
- I didn’t sleep for a whole week
- I was constantly doubting my capability
I didn’t think I would make it this far and I’m forever being told “Wow, you’re so lucky to be able to breastfeed!”
Lucky? Please, this took determination and complete mental strength. Perhaps lucky in the sense I’ve not experienced any issues, but either way, lucky isn’t the word.
I set a goal for 2 days, 2 days to ‘try it’ and if it didn’t work out – formula it is!
But 2 days past, it was getting easier, Holly and I were both learning and by week 4 – it was a piece of piss!
Then, I’d set my goal for 6 months – according to most mothers I had spoke to, 6 months was a great achievement.
This wasn’t to please anyone – but to prove to myself that I did have determination if I put my mind to it.
6 months came by fast, and before I knew it – I wasn’t ready to stop, and neither was she.
Holly is coming up to 7 months old and still breastfeeds on demand.
Personally, I couldn’t justify taking away her main food source as well as her comfort.
Before I knew it, the “When are you going to stop breastfeeding?” question came rolling in, left right and centre.
Was it normal to just ‘stop’ and be done with it?
From 6 months old, I have now set another goal – 1 year old. This raised a few eyebrows from people I had informed of this choice, but why?
I know why, because breastfeeding a baby is OK, despite the odd bellend who lives to kick up a fuss. But feeding a baby, AFTER 6 months? Why has it all of a sudden become so uncommon?
Each to their own of course – I do have my own time limit of when I’d hope to stop breastfeeding Holly and I do have my own opinion of what age, I think, breastfeeding should stop. But I couldn’t comment on another parents choices.
This is where bottle feeding does come into thought – why would you stop giving a young baby their regular bottles of milk?
You wouldn’t. So why are breasts any different?
I believe babies should be the ones to stop when they’re ready. I’d much prefer knowing Holly self-weaned from breastfeeding rather than me taking it away altogether.
Those who haven’t breastfed, or understand the emotional bond of breastfeeding – it’s not easy. It’s not easy just ‘giving it up’ or ‘sticking baby on a bottle’ and quite frankly, it’s annoying hearing it.
No, I’m not making a rod for my own back – she feels secure, she is comforted and she is fed – all by me.
I think there comes a point when you know its time to stop – when both yourself and your baby feel ready. But I don’t feel us breastfeeding women should take into account of what other peoples personal view’s are.
I feel as soon as you have a baby – whether you’re breastfeeding, formula feeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, everyone feels they have the entitlement of an opinion.
…Which if you didn’t know, none of us bloody want!
I’m happy to feed Holly as long as she wants to – there is a point where I would want to stop, but until that time comes, leave us be!