10 months old
When to Wean?
If you’re still breastfeeding your little one, the looming one-year mark probably has you contemplating when you’re planning to wean. Since your baby has been born, you’ve heard the same thing over and over: try and breastfeed for at least a year. If you can make it to a full year, you’ll never have to introduce formula or worry about bottles. Plus, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it for your baby’s health.
Of course breastfeeding for a full year isn’t always feasible or even desirable for some women, and the 10-month mark might have you thinking about how much longer you want this to continue. Ultimately, the decision is up to you:
Continuing past the one-year mark
- There’s no reason to wean at the year mark, so don’t listen to those well-meaning family members and strangers who comment on it being “weird.”
- It’s perfectly understandable to have conflicting feelings about the end of breastfeeding. This is a significant part of your relationship and your bond with your baby. Your baby’s heart was once beating inside of your body, so the thought of him or her no longer needing your body can be hard to take.
- In fact, the one-year mark isn’t the end-all, be-all of breastfeeding when it comes to your baby’s health. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least the first two years.
- Plus, studies have shown that breastfeeding for two years reduces your risk of breast cancer by 50 percent. If you can breastfeed for a total of seven years (combined with all of your kids), your chance of breast, cervical and ovarian cancer is practically down to zero. If you don’t mind continuing to breastfeed, that’s a huge benefit to consider.
- Also keep in mind that you’ll most likely reduce down to around three shorter nursing sessions (usually in the morning, naptime and at night), because your one-year-old baby’s main source of nutrition will come from solid foods. You’ll most likely be able to put away the pump for good.
- Another perk: Gradually reducing your nursing sessions will make weaning practically seamless, usually causing next to no engorgement.
Preparing to end breastfeeding
- It’s usually easier to wean around the one-year mark or shortly thereafter, once your baby has less of a need to suck, yet isn’t quite as set in their ways as with an older toddler.
- It’s also perfectly understandable to start itching for your body back. In one way or another, your body has belonged to your baby for almost two years. It’s natural to want a little freedom back.
- There are also many circumstances that make weaning before the one-year mark a necessity, like your health, a job change or an overall lifestyle that’s hard to coincide with a nursing schedule.
- If possible, it’s always best to wean gradually – eliminating one nursing session at a time. Not only is this easiest on your baby, but your body might be able to side-step painful engorgement by slowly reducing your milk supply.
- There are some circumstances where gradual weaning isn’t an option, such as if your baby decides to self-wean earlier than you were planning. Here’s what to do if your baby stops being interested in breastfeeding.
- If you feel physically and emotionally ready to cut the breastfeeding ties – whether at 5-, 12- or 24-months – read about weaning here.