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How Do You Know When You Should Stop Breastfeeding?

For me, I wanted to finish lots of times, but I felt it was my duty to breastfeed as long as I could. Not everyone feels that way, and that’s ok. This is just my story.

I didn’t feel like I could stop breastfeeding any more than I could suddenly decide to stop changing nappies or giving hugs. These things are all a part of parenting for me.

When I wanted to quit I just accepted I was having a hard day, but kept going and found things changed for me soon enough. I got through my bad days and made it to the good days again.

When my son was about 2.5yrs old, I was pregnant and really hating breastfeeding. I was suffering aversions and nipple pain, and hormonal aversions that we’re making me think bad things, so I night weaned him.

Night weaning gave me enough space (and sleep) to enjoy breastfeeding again. I also felt gratitude to my son for giving me that space and this appreciation made it easier for me to feel positive about what was left of our breastfeeding journey together.

Then when my second daughter was born, I needed to put more boundaries in place for my son. These boundaries were steps towards weaning, but to me, I was preserving the breastfeeds we had left. I wanted to approach them with love, not dread.

At the end of the day, everyone will share their personal stories, but I hold the World Health Organisation’s recommendations to breastfeed til at least 2 in very high regard.

Ultimately my son stopped breastfeeding when he was 5.5 years old, and my daughter (who will be 3 in a month is going strong with no end in sight.

But at the end of the day, you know your own story better than anyone else. It’s not up to anyone to give you permission to stop – to be ok with your decision, you need to give YOURSELF permission to stop. I’ll support you whether you decide today is the day, tomorrow, next week or next year. But you need to be the one who makes the decision.

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