How Long Should I Breastfeed My Toddler?

Breastfeeding is an interesting topic because doctors have really gotten more women to breastfeed their infants by emphasizing that breast is best. However, once you pass the year mark many pediatricians, family, and friends start to get a little squeamish that you are still breastfeeding. It’s kind of shocking to many breastfeeding moms who have been supported until this point because they find themselves in a strange place. They have a toddler who still enjoys breastfeeding and there is no reason to give it up, but everyone else seems to be pushing for the child to be weaned. What is the best course of action?

The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends breastfeeding at least one year and then as long after that as parent and child are happy. The average weaning age worldwide is somewhere close to four years old, so there is no reason for you to wean your toddler unless either you or he is ready. If you are happy breastfeeding and your toddler still enjoys nursing there is no reason to stop.

Your toddler actually began weaning himself when he started eating solid foods. Now, the feedings are probably down to one or two per day and they are mostly for comfort rather than nutritional value. However, your toddler will receive great antibodies from continued nursing and special time with mom that only nursing allows.

Many toddlers will wean themselves between 18 and 24 months without much help from mom at home. Others who are still breastfeeding at this age will probably be able to wean easier because you can explain that they are getting old enough to stop nursing and start drinking from a cup. Tell your toddler they are always welcome in Mommy’s lap for hugs and snuggles.
So, the answer to the question of when you should wean your toddler is completely up to you. Don’t feel pressured by friends, family members, or even your own pediatrician. Do what works best for you and your toddler and you will be making the best decision.