A Modern History of Breastfeeding

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When to stop breastfeeding?

A Modern History of Breastfeeding

A bit of history here, during our parents' and grandparents' era, bottle formula was marketed as being healthier than breast milk, and parents were told that children should be given bottle formula sooner rather than later. It was during this period of time that mothers made the transition from breastfeeding a child until they were toddlers (2-3 years) to bottle feeding between 6 months and 1 year.

So, in the days before formula, it was common to see a 3 year old still breastfeeding. During the last few decades, it has become uncommon--in part because many mothers are in the workforce and breastfeeding is not convenient, but also because of a growing stigma surrounding breastfeeding that took hold around the 1950s.

Thanks to research from groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, March of Dimes and La Leche League, more mothers are rediscovering the joys and benefits of breastfeeding. All three associations mentioned encourage give breastfeeding until your baby is at least six months old, but preferable one year old. However, this is not a finite science; the American Academy of Pediatricians states that breastfeeding should occur as long as it is mutually desired by the mother and child.

More and more research suggests that the longer your baby receives human breast milk instead of formula or cow's milk, the better. Choosing when to stop breastfeeding is a personal choice. Many toddlers simply stop on their own, whereas others will have to be weaned from the breast.



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