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How long should you nurse your baby? Well, La Leche League International believes that ideally, the nursing relationship should continue until the baby outgrows the need. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend that babies be breastfed exclusively for at least the first six months of life, and that the nursing relationship continue (with the addition of solid food) for as long as mother and baby desire it. No upward limit has been set by either organization. In fact, it may be more useful to think of breastfeeding in terms of years, rather than months or weeks.

Weaning is a gradual process that begins with the introduction of the first bit of solid food. Most babies will continue to have breastmilk as their main source of nutrition, with small additions of solid food, for at least the first year. Once your baby has molars, better hand-eye coordination, and has more interest in solid food, he or she will gradually increase the amount of solid food intake, and reduce the amount of breastmilk he consumes.

So, when should you wean? Babies, left to wean on their own timetable, will wean (on average) sometime between 2 and 7 years of age. Here are some articles that may help you to see weaning from a different perspective.

A Natural Age Of Weaning by Dr. Katherine Dettwyler
Breastfeeding and Fertility
Extended Nursing Fact Sheet


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