If you’ve chosen to breastfeed, you likely know all about the health benefits it provides both you and your child. Besides unparalleled nutritional value, breastfeeding can help new moms recover from the trauma associated with childbirth. Bur breastfeeding is, and always should be, a choice. Deciding to nurse, and for how long, is entirely up to the lactating woman. So if you’re wondering if there a breastfeeding age limit, know that it’s a loaded question and the answer depends entirely on who you ask.
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), mothers should exclusively breastfeed for at least the first six months of their babies’ lives, followed by continued breastfeeding while introducing age-appropriate foods until a child is at least 12 months of age. After that, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests babies “should be given nutritious complementary foods and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years or beyond.” The APA recommends breastfeeding continues “as long as mutually desired by mother and baby.” In other words, the only age limit is the one you decide for yourself, your baby, and in keeping with your own unique situation.
According to a 1996 study published in Clinical Pediatrics, out of 179 moms, 83 percent still breastfed their babies at 1 year of age, 66 percent at 2 years, and 44 percent at 3 years of age (with the average cutoff being before 3). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also cites that 60 percent of mothers don’t breastfeed as long as they plan to, whether it’s due to…
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