Firstly, there is no ‘right’ time and there are no rules about how long you have to breastfeed for although organisations like the WHO, UNICEF and now the AAP recommend continuing to breastfeed along with solid foods up to 2 years of age or beyond, if mutually desired by mother and child.
The mutually desired bit is important here. Ever tried to get a toddler to do something they don’t want to do? So yeah, if your child does not want to breastfeed anymore they will let you know!
Some signs they might be ready to stop include:
· Distracted feed
· Skipping feeds
· Shortened feeds
· Eating solids more reliably and consistently
· Drinking well from a cup
· Greater independence in other areas
· Less interest in breastfeeding altogether
It’s absolutely ok if you are the one who doesn’t want to carry on anymore. You don’t have to wait for your child’s say so, but there may be times when it is easier to wean.
Things to consider:
· Night weaning is recommended from 18 months onwards as this is the age where communication is more developed and it's easier to explain what is happening
· Try not to wean during a time of change – starting childcare, moving house, new sibling
· You might want to wait for your child to have greater understanding of the process so you can talk to and involve them in it – my picture book works from around 1.5 onwards, for example.
Ultimately the right time is when you are ready, but it can take a while to get to that point emotionally! If you need support, check out my gentle weaning guide for more tips!