When talking to moms about their nursing experience, I often hear something along the lines of: “I breastfed my baby until they were 10 months old, when one day they just stopped nursing”. Hearing this story multiple times has led me to do some research on natural weaning age, and nursing strikes, and here is what I have found:
- Between 9 and 14 months, children are often incredibly focused on developing new skills and can become easily distracted. They may seem less interested in nursing and this is often mistaken by parents as weaning. This should be considered a nursing strike. If you are wanting to continue nursing… simply offer the breast whenever you can, your child will come back around.
- Natural weaning is a gradual process, any sudden halt in nursing should be considered a nursing strike. Although if you are wanting to wean your child, these “strikes” can be a convenient time to begin (after 12 months of age).
- In cultures where children are nursed for as long as they desire, most will continue breastfeeding until at least 3 or 4 years of age.
- A child’s immune system is not completely mature until about 6 years of age…breastfeeding will provide benefits for as long as it is continued.
- Natural weaning rarely occurs before the age of 2.5 years.