Breastfeeding: is There a Time Limit?

Let’s start by saying it’s completely up to you how long you want to breastfeed for, and you don’t need to decide in advance what the time limit will be. You might set yourself goals or just go day-by-day and see how you get on. Both are totally fine!

Breastfeeding provides nutrition and comfort to your baby and has incredible health benefits for you as well.

The decision to stop breastfeeding can sometimes be influenced by well-meaning friends and family. If you seem to be struggling or there is an assumption you should be sleeping more – introducing formula is a natural suggestion that can be made. This undermines confidence and can lead a parent to thinking that stopping may be the best route for them to take.

It's important to remember that stopping breastfeeding will have the biggest impact on you and so the final decision should only ever be with you. It could be useful for you to speak to a breastfeeding counsellor or a midwife, if you’d like to do this then be sure to head to the ‘support me’ page of the butterbean website to contact a midwife directly via our helpline.

mother_breastfeeding_her_baby

Recommendations of when to stop

There are no recommendations to stop at any one time.

The official guidelines from the World Health Organisation are to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and then continue for up to 2 years alongside complementary solid foods.

"The longer you breastfeed up to two years, the greater the health benefits might be for you and your child. Yet the most important thing is to continue breastfeeding for as long as feels right for you and your baby, rather than what other people think." – World Health Organisation

Its useful to know that and then decide for yourself. Stick to what works for you as a family and you as the feeding parent.

3 common reasons for stopping breastfeeding

Stopping breastfeeding is a personal choice. Here are 3 common reasons for stopping:

  • Breastfeeding difficulties. This could be nipple pain, thrush, engorgement, lack of confidence in your own supply… remember that almost all breastfeeding challenges can be overcome with the right support so if you’re facing difficulties then you don’t need to stop. You can always find more information on common challenges on the ‘Prepare my Mind’ section of the website.
  • Returning to work. Many parents stop breastfeeding when they return to work. If you don’t want to stop then it’s important to understand your rights and how your employer should support you.
  • The age of your child. Some parents stop because they believe their child is too old to breastfeed. This is completely down to personal preference and shouldn’t be influenced by anyone else. Remember, it’s no ones business how long you choose to breastfeed for and the longer you breastfeed for the greater the health benefits.

mother_breastfeeding_her_baby

Consider the pros and cons of stopping breastfeeding

If you are thinking of stopping breastfeeding, then always work out the pros and cons first. Ask yourself questions, like:

  1. Will your baby need formula instead, and will that be easier? Feeding babies is hard work no matter how you feed them, so make sure your alternative won’t make life harder.
  2. Who will do most of the feeds? What is the agreement you have with your support network?
  3. How will you ease off lactation so you don’t become engorged?
  4. How do you feel about not breastfeeding anymore? Often it’s family and friends who influence a mother to stop breastfeeding when in actual fact it has the biggest impact on YOU. So you need to be the one who makes the final call about what’s right for you, your body and your baby.

Further support

If you would like to speak to someone about your options then you can always contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212

If you found this blog helpful and would like more advice on breastfeeding and beyond, be sure to explore the ‘Prepare my mind’ section of our platform. Here, we teach you how to feed your baby with confidence, in whatever way you choose!

 

mother_breastfeeding_her_baby

Breastfeeding: is There a Time Limit?

mother_breastfeeding_her_baby

Let’s start by saying it’s completely up to you how long you want to breastfeed for, and you don’t need to decide in advance what the time limit will be. You might set yourself goals or just go day-by-day and see how you get on. Both are totally fine!

Breastfeeding provides nutrition and comfort to your baby and has incredible health benefits for you as well.

The decision to stop breastfeeding can sometimes be influenced by well-meaning friends and family. If you seem to be struggling or there is an assumption you should be sleeping more – introducing formula is a natural suggestion that can be made. This undermines confidence and can lead a parent to thinking that stopping may be the best route for them to take.

It's important to remember that stopping breastfeeding will have the biggest impact on you and so the final decision should only ever be with you. It could be useful for you to speak to a breastfeeding counsellor or a midwife, if you’d like to do this then be sure to head to the ‘support me’ page of the butterbean website to contact a midwife directly via our helpline.

mother_breastfeeding_her_baby

Recommendations of when to stop

There are no recommendations to stop at any one time.

The official guidelines from the World Health Organisation are to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and then continue for up to 2 years alongside complementary solid foods.

"The longer you breastfeed up to two years, the greater the health benefits might be for you and your child. Yet the most important thing is to continue breastfeeding for as long as feels right for you and your baby, rather than what other people think." – World Health Organisation

Its useful to know that and then decide for yourself. Stick to what works for you as a family and you as the feeding parent.

3 common reasons for stopping breastfeeding

Stopping breastfeeding is a personal choice. Here are 3 common reasons for stopping:

  • Breastfeeding difficulties. This could be nipple pain, thrush, engorgement, lack of confidence in your own supply… remember that almost all breastfeeding challenges can be overcome with the right support so if you’re facing difficulties then you don’t need to stop. You can always find more information on common challenges on the ‘Prepare my Mind’ section of the website.
  • Returning to work. Many parents stop breastfeeding when they return to work. If you don’t want to stop then it’s important to understand your rights and how your employer should support you.
  • The age of your child. Some parents stop because they believe their child is too old to breastfeed. This is completely down to personal preference and shouldn’t be influenced by anyone else. Remember, it’s no ones business how long you choose to breastfeed for and the longer you breastfeed for the greater the health benefits.

mother_breastfeeding_her_baby

Consider the pros and cons of stopping breastfeeding

If you are thinking of stopping breastfeeding, then always work out the pros and cons first. Ask yourself questions, like:

  1. Will your baby need formula instead, and will that be easier? Feeding babies is hard work no matter how you feed them, so make sure your alternative won’t make life harder.
  2. Who will do most of the feeds? What is the agreement you have with your support network?
  3. How will you ease off lactation so you don’t become engorged?
  4. How do you feel about not breastfeeding anymore? Often it’s family and friends who influence a mother to stop breastfeeding when in actual fact it has the biggest impact on YOU. So you need to be the one who makes the final call about what’s right for you, your body and your baby.

Further support

If you would like to speak to someone about your options then you can always contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212

If you found this blog helpful and would like more advice on breastfeeding and beyond, be sure to explore the ‘Prepare my mind’ section of our platform. Here, we teach you how to feed your baby with confidence, in whatever way you choose!