Common Reasons Women Stop Breastfeeding


Breastfeeding plays an important role for mothers and their children. It strengthens their bond and provides a feeling of security. Inevitably, the nursing phase comes to an end, though the reasons vary.

Here are some of the most common reasons a woman may choose to stop breastfeeding:

Child’s Age

When children reach a certain age, mothers wean the child from the breast. The ages vary on a case-by-case basis. Under normal circumstances, mothers will stop breastfeeding by the time a toddler is two years old.


Career-minded women are often anxious to return to work when their maternity leave is over. Those who return find that they need to cut breastfeeding early to better accommodate stay-home fathers or other daycare providers. Others are able to store milk for their babies using a breast pump.


Occasionally, women find that they are pregnant again when they return to their doctors for a check-up. There is nothing wrong medically with breastfeeding while pregnant. However, societal norms often frown on this practice.


Some women, especially new mothers, find that breastfeeding causes their nipples to become sore. Left unchecked, soreness can quickly become a pain, thereby raising the level of discomfort. Fortunately, there are treatments and ointments available to help alleviate this.

Public Nursing

When done discreetly, breastfeeding in public doesn’t break any laws. It can, however, garner unwanted attention. Because breasts have become a point of sexuality, observers point and stare. This becomes a major source of discomfort for nursing mothers to the point where they quit breastfeeding completely. While breastfeeding advocates are working to change this social stigma, it’s a slow process.


Nursing mothers often fear that their child is not getting enough to eat. Worry sets in when they can’t see how much their baby drinks. Since breast milk digests easier than formula, it moves through the body faster. In turn, breastfed babies nurse more often than bottle-fed babies. In this way, it’s easy to see why mothers think the child isn’t getting enough.

Inadequate Milk Supply

For some women, ending nursing isn’t a choice. Their body simply doesn’t produce enough milk to sustain breastfeeding. This happens for a variety of reasons. The frequency of bottle feedings, the mother’s diet, and age all contribute to the amount of milk the body supplies.

Medical Problems

If the mother is suspected to have a medical condition, doctors request she stop breastfeeding. Breast cancer, HIV infection, and even alcohol or drug addictions include some reasons breastfeeding is stopped.

Women have been breastfeeding since the beginning of time. It’s the most natural way to ensure children receive the proper nutrition in the starting stages of their lives. If you are breastfeeding and thinking about stopping, talk to a lactation consultant about how you might be able to overcome some of the challenges.