When to stop breastfeeding my older child

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Pregnancy & Parenting

Ask a Mum: Should I Stop Breastfeeding my Child?

Q: My son is 3 years now and I am still breastfeeding him. My husband and other people complain that he is too old so we should stop. Advise on what to do.

Joanna, 28, Mother of two, says:

With breastfeeding, as every other area of parenting, you need to do what feels right for you and your child. Increasingly, many people form negative perceptions about breastfeeding older children. Even in countries where full-term breastfeeding was the norm, it is starting to seem awkward for people. It seems that the issue here is other people’s opinion, and from personal experience, third party opinion is never a good basis for a parenting decision.

Breast milk still continues to provide great nutritional benefits, much better than cow’s milk, which is usually the alternative at that age. Breastfeeding also gives unmatched nutritional benefits in the older child.

Ask a mum should I stop breastfeeding?

In the second year of breastfeeding, 500 ml (about one packet or bottle of milk) fulfills almost half the child’s protein, and Vitamin C requirements as well as giving him Vitamin A, folate, calcium, energy and 94% of Vitamin B12. It’s also a great way of bonding and attachment. Studies have also shown the incredible immune-boosting properties of breast milk even in older children.

Personally, I am still breastfeeding my daughter, who is 2 years 8 months, and shall continue until she weans herself. It can be tough with negative opinions, but I always go by the motto “my baby my rules.” Do what feels best for you and your baby, and allow your baby to wean himself off the breast when he is ready.

See this article for a Kenyan Mum’s story on how breastfeeding was a panacea for her child.

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