There is no prescribed age by when you should stop breast feeding your baby. However WHO recommends that babies should at least be breast feed till 6 months if not more (Source: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/breastfeeding-deciding-when-to-stop)
In fact our government organisation http://www.bpni.org/ (Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India) also prescribes babies to be exclusively on breast feed till six months, no water or any other foods. Although we do have baby formula available in market especially Nestle & Similac (https://www.nestle.in/; https://similac.com/). This is only for mothers who are not able to feed due to whatever reasons.
To stop breast feeding means to start weaning. It may be an emotional situation for mothers to stop feeding & start weaning. Breastfeeding is I believe one of the strongest bonds. However there is a time when you need to gradually reduce your feed & start giving the baby some solid food. The bond between mother & child never fades.
The ideal time when you should start weaning is about 6 months. It is when you should, based on doctor’s recommendation start giving your baby some external foods. However you do not need to stop breast feed. You can continue to breast feed as long as you may like or you are able to feed.
As your baby gradually gets older & accepts other foods, you may continue to phase out breast feed. But this may not depend on you alone, it’s on your baby too, how long he/she wants your feed. Babies find real solace & comfort in mother feed. Breastfeeding for them is not just food but protection, warmth & love. But you need to be patient with them. You may feel irritability at times, especially at night when the baby always wants to suck on you whenever they wake up.
- Exclusively on breastfeed for first six months.
- You can continue up to 2 years or beyond combined with other food
- You need to gradually stop feeding & start weaning
- Each child is different, so do not expect this to happen overnight.
- Most importantly, you need to show Patience