When to Stop Breastfeeding: Moms Share How They Knew It Was Time

When to stop breastfeeding a baby is a highly personal choice: Some moms throw in the towel once they reach the American Academy of Pedetrics' recommended one-year mark; others play it by ear and let their kid call the shots on when to quit. To help you decide when the time is right to wean your child, we polled moms on the instant they knew they were ready. Their answers ranged in age from 6 months to 6-plus years, based on the onset of teeth (ouch!) to the cost of formula to their own child's growing self confidence.


"Six months, once teeth were in. Sorry, I'm not a chew toy. Getting bit only happened once with each kid and that was enough for me."

"Both of my nurslings self weaned -- my son two months shy of his 6th birthday, my daughter two months after her 7th birthday. Yes, there were times when I wanted my body back. There were times when the thought of pumping one more time made me want to scream. And there were plenty of occasions where I was made to feel uncomfortable nursing in public. But in the end, their need for comfort, nutrition, and mom won out. I have no regrets for nursing as long as I did. It was something they needed, and when they were ready, they stopped. There were no tears, no sense of loss, just completion. My guys are now healthy, active, and independent 7- and 9-year-olds. They are not clingy or babyish. They're very confident kids. I owe a lot of that to letting them reach their milestones in their own time; not pushing them to 'grow up' on society's timetable. I feel very good about that."

"I nursed my daughter until she was 13 months. I absolutely loved the convenience of nursing, along with her sweet little head resting against me. However, right around 12 months, she started to periodically slip her head under my shirt and find her own way to the breast. The final straw was when she was seated on my lap while I attending a meeting. She promptly proceeded to pull up my shirt and nurse, in front of everyone. Fortunately I grabbed her blanket to cover up before she got into position. Needless to say, I knew it was my duty to close shop!"

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"My goal of a year was based on the fact that I didn't want to pay the cost for formula, knowing I could feed my kids for free. Once I reached my goal, I began the process of weaning; my son nursed at night until 14 months then just stopped on his own."

"I am still breastfeeding my son, but as his first birthday fast approaches, I realize I am ready. A string of moments made me realize that while the beautiful bond of breastfeeding has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life, I am ready to move on to the next chapter. It was the moments that my husband had to play on his phone quietly because I was nursing. It was the time I had to spend in the car nursing before heading into a store or restaurant. Having a baby does put a strain on a marriage, and breastfeeding makes it that much harder, and it's time to shift back some of the focus I originally had on my husband. It will definitely be a bittersweet moment but it's the best for our family."

"We took a cruise when my son was 11 months old. Before the trip we had started the weaning process, but during the cruise, my son would barely eat and nursed like crazy. My milk came back in and I felt like a cow once again! That's when I knew I needed to wean this boy quickly, once and for all. After we returned from the cruise, it was four weeks and my son was finally off the boob for good. Now I'm nursing my daughter, currently 4 months, and I'm counting down the months to her turning 1 so I can wean her and have my body back to myself."

"I knew I was ready to stop breast feeding when my 6-month-old was nursing every hour! I could not keep up with him. There wasn't enough time in the day!"

"I nursed my son for 24 months; right around his second birthday he stopped. It wasn't a planned of conscious thing; it was more of a mutual agreement. As my son started to walk, then run, he became more confident, needed me less, and I celebrated each independent moment. I kept thinking while nursing him, Will this be the last? I didn't notice until a week or two went by and I realized my breasts weren't so full and that he wasn't climbing into my lap or sending me signs he wanted to nurse. He had grown up. And as with each stage of growth of a child, I felt sadness and joy."

When did you know the time was right to stop breastfeeding? 

Image via Ozgur POYRAZOGLU/Flickr

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