Wed | Oct 17, 2018

How long should you breastfeed?

Published:Monday | May 4, 2015 | 12:01 AMJody-Anne Lawrence

TIME magazine stirred up much controversy in 2012 when they used a picture of a woman breastfeeding her five-year-old son as their cover photograph. Something unheard of then for a child of that age, but has become more normal over the years.

Many mothers admittedly have 'come out' about breastfeeding saying that they have breastfed their children more than a few months. While this is obviously something that people have become accustomed to, we have to think about whether it is in the best interest of the child.

Ideally, exclusively breastfeeding a child should occur up to six months. The breast milk has all the nutrients that the baby would need for those few months and might do not need anything more up until that point said paediatrician Dr Heather White.

While this is the case, Dr White does admit that the period of time that a child is breastfed is completely up to the mother. After introducing the child to other foods, the mother can still breast feed to up to two years.

Some mothers may choose to go longer and there is nothing wrong with it.

"A mother can choose to go for as long as they want. The milk does have nutrients. It is not useless and if the mother wants to continue breastfeeding, once they have milk, it is up to them," said Dr White.


Mother weaning


Well, while it is up to the mother to stop breastfeeding, sometimes the children forget that and lay demands on the milk. They reach into their mother's blouse at the most inappropriate times and refuse to sleep without that comfort. Is there a best way to get that baby off that breast?

The answer to that question is no. With the exception of a few mothers whose children never really took to breast milk, very few mothers go problem-free in the weaning process. Many mothers deal with a relapse to comfort their child or just never started weaning because they did not get the opportunity.

The following three mothers share how they got it done:

"I had to leave him over at my mother's house for a night in order for him not to want it and for me to not be tempted to give him. After that, I rubbed aloe vera on my breast not to give him but to ensure that I was not tempted to do so."

- Tracey-Ann Lawrence


"I had to do it by force. He would cry and fight for it, but I had to just make up my mind to stop and, after a while, when he realised it was not going to happen, he just stopped."

- Rosannie Hewitt


"He was only a few months because I changed my job. It was by force. I tried giving him formula and he took a week before him even taking it. However, my new job took me away for short period at a time therefore he was forced to take stop taking the breast."

- Georgia Lumley

Side bar:

Is it ok to breastfeed in public?

I did not like to breastfeed in public. Sometimes I have no choice because my daughter wants it but I cover up as much as possible

- Melissa Gray

Not really but if the mother is discreet then fine by me. Certainly not a public showing of herself.

- Nackeisha Blake

The breast should not be exposed at all. I am not comfortable with that.

- Georgia Lumley

Labour ward takes away much of your pride. The baby is hungry and needs to be fed location does not really matter. However, the taking of pictures and posting it is not necessary.

- Sheena-Kay McFarlane

If the child needs to eat take them into a corner and feed them. Sometimes I feel like people wait to be in the most public location before they feed the child.

- Tafari Jackson

I think breast pumps were invented to eliminate the need to breast feed in public.

-Shirrica Douglas