Many new mums feel guilty if they want, or need, to stop breastfeeding before one year. However, while it’s true that the longer you breastfeed, the better it is for your baby, deciding when to stop breast-feeding is a personal choice.Most experts agree that you should feed your child exclusively with breastmilk for at least the first six months and then gradually introduce solid foods. Breastfeeding can continue, with solid food supplementing nutritional intake, from six months onwards but if you decide to wean your baby off breastmilk before one year there is certainly no need to feel guilty.
Breastmilk is designed to be the perfect food for your baby, and provides your child with the prefect nutrition; however, if, for example, you decide to go back to work when your child is under a year, and you’ve checked with your doctor which formula is the best choice for your child, then there should be no problem.
A big part of breastfeeding is the bonding experience between mother and child, and you can still have that with a bottle fed baby, although you won’t get the release of the hormone oxytocin from your side. Make sure that you hold or cradle your baby while bottle-feeding too, and you should find that there’s no big trouble with the transition.
As you may know, the most important breastmilk you can give your baby is the colostrums which comes in right after your baby is born. That means that even a few weeks of breast-feeding can give your baby a good start in life, although it’s best to continue as long as you can.
Deciding whether and when to stop breastfeeding is a personal choice. If you are in doubt, speak to your doctor – he or she can advise you on the best alternatives.