Deciding when to stop breastfeeding is a highly personal issue. You and your child know the best time, nobody else does. Even though your baby is probably already an expert at eating solids and breast milk is not the primary source of nutrition, it continues to provide energy, vitamins, and antibodies that strengthen your child’s immune system. Furthermore, breastfeeding remains a great source of comfort and security. Despite the fact that children’s excessive dependence due to breastfeeding has been criticized, research has shown the opposite. You may continue breastfeeding to reassure your baby when sick, altered, after a fall or just because you want to keep doing so. The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding along with complementary foods up to two years or beyond.
Dealing with criticism
People always seem to have an opinion about everything, breastfeeding during the first year, or even after 6 months is not an exception. Don’t let criticism affect you. Breastfeeding is a natural act full of tenderness and love! The best indicator to know that you are right is your own instinct, your partner’s support, but not the views of others. Likewise, if you feel that breastfeeding doesn’t affect your child’s social growth or interfere between you and your partner, just keep on breastfeeding.
Experts suggest that when your child begins to talk, you can create a secret word that only you and your baby know. In that way, when your child wants to be breastfed, your little one can say this word. You can also decide to only breastfeed at home, that way your child will know that when you are out he will drink milk out of his own bottle, and not from mom’s breast. Don’t forget to listen to instinct and think about what is best for you and your little one. It is a fact that you’ll have to hear some unsolicited advice or opinions from family or close friends. Listen to them and give your thanks for their concern. Use your sense of humor to lighten up the conversation, and remember that at the end of the day, you will decide what is best for your little one!