Breastfeeding – When Is The Best Time To Stop?

Is there a right time to swap from breastfeeding to bottles? Do you let your baby guide you, or do you make the decision yourself? Is there a right or wrong answer?

Breastfeeding - When is the best time to stop? | As a first time mum I am working out how long I want to breastfeed for. Its a tough decision to make. I don't know whether there will be an event that forces me to stop, or whether it will just naturally happen.

As I have mentioned in the past, my reasons for breastfeeding were pretty selfish. It wasn’t an easy transition, but one I am immensely proud of.

We are now 8 months in now. JHogg and I went away for a wedding in October and my original plan was that I would stop then, as Piglet was staying behind with my parents. As with most plans I make, things changed and I decided we weren’t quite ready to call it quits yet.

So we’ve been plodding along quite nicely with picture perfect breastfeeding. I always stare lovingly into Piglet’s eyes while he feeds, never watching tv or playing on my phone. We wouldn’t dream of lying in bed half asleep while he helps himself, always feeding on a schedule of course.*

*Some of this may be a lie

Seriously though, for 8 months it has been dandy. Piglet doesn’t have any teeth yet so I wasn’t worried about biting. Instead, Piglet developed a new form of torture instead.

As he is increasingly nosey, his new habit was to pull and twist mid feed. He is generally craning his head to see something else going on in the room and trying to take the milk with him. Ouch.

I can’t help but feel that this is some form of karma. When we were trying to establish breastfeeding I was bracing myself for cracked and sore nipples, but they just never came. I breezed through that part with only mild discomfort.

I was getting quite annoyed by the tugging and considered that maybe it was time to end breastfeeding. Piglet takes a bottle happily so it wouldn’t have caused any issues in that sense. However, just when I was ready to throw in the towel he stopped. So for now, we’ll carry on.

When will be the right time for us to stop? It’s hard to tell. In an ideal world I want to feed until around 12 months, that way we can transition straight to cows milk and a sippy cup rather than having to use a bottle and formula in between.

Once Piglet gets teeth though I don’t doubt he’s going to bite! Will I be able to soldier on through that though? Time will tell!

37 thoughts on “Breastfeeding – When Is The Best Time To Stop?”

  1. I think you just know when the time is right don’t you? I gradually dropped to just doing the first and last feeds, but then stopped altogether when each of them got a bit bitey. 😉 x #bestandworst

    1. 4 is still fab! Piglet took 2 months to breastfeed so technically i’ve only been feeding for 6m despite him being 8m old 😉

  2. It’s such a hard one isn’t it? I always said I would stop at 12 months when he could go on to cows milk, but when that came, I wasn’t ready to stop and neither was he! He loved his cows milk, but also still loved the boob. We eventually stopped last month at 15 months – I returned to work full time so the feeds got less and less until he wasn’t interested anymore. Although I was sad, I was also ready. Alfie got his first toot at 6 months, and had 8 by the time we finished feeding, so whilst it’s a little bit of an adjustment period, you can still feed with teeth if you choose to 🙂 #bestandworst

    1. I won’t be returning to work, so I don’t have any incentive to stop. We are down to 4 feeds a day and I don’t see us going to any less than that for quite a long time 🙂

  3. The right time is the time that’s right for you. With my first children this was at around 4 – 6 months during the day for going back to work with 6 – 8 months for evenings, with my younger child and triplets I kept going till they weaned themselves which was around 2 years old. If it works for you it’s great, if you’ve had enough or need to stop then that’s OK too. #BestWorst

    1. I’m lucky that he’s happy to swap between boob and bottle so easily, and has no issues with formula so unless I’m going to be away from him for a while I don’t need to bother with expressing. Good for you going to 2 years! As happy as I am with doing it right now, I imagine I’d have had enough long before 2 years haha

  4. This sounds perfect. If it’s working keep going. I fed the grem until 9 months. She bit me and we were only doing night feeds. I just swapped for a bottle but we were going on holiday straight after!! Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst

  5. My two bit once or twice but the reaction from me was such that they didn’t do it again! I fed both mine for 21 months and only stopped with Little B because I’m pregnant again – my advice would be to go with the flow! #bestandworst

  6. There never is a right time for things like this really is there, you just kind of know and work to your own needs, and baby of course! #TwinklyTuesday

  7. Lisa (mummascribbles)

    I definitely think you just know when it’s the right time. I moved to bottles when Zach was 6 months because he was feeding every 2 hours 24 hours a day and it was killing me! I’m now 2 months into feeding Oscar and despite the initial thoughts of I can’t do this, I’ll definitely go on as long as I can but I won’t feel guilty this time about stopping when I need to. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Absolutely! Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone and circumstances change, you have to go with what is right for you at that time

  8. I think the right time to stop breastfeeding is when you are ready. With my first I stopped about 12 weeks as it went horribly wrong and I was becoming so distressed with it. With my second I stopped about 7 months as it just felt right. He was doing the nosey thing your little one was doing and I just felt it was time.
    You’ll know when is right.

  9. You won’t necessarily get bitten once teeth come through, and if you do, it doesn’t last for long. It’s quite the surprise though! You’ll know when it’s time too finish breastfeeding though. I thought I’d feed for a year, and ended up going on for four, my sister stopped after eight months as that was what was best for her. It’s an instinctive thing I think.

    1. He appears to be self weaning, hes almost dropped 2 feeds in the last few weeks so is only having morning and night pretty much. I’m happy to continue for as long as he wants to, for now anyway!

  10. I breast fed till 6 months then started with formula and baby food, only because I started stressing out like you about whether my son was getting enough, to be honest, he finishes his food so with his formula it’s a little like how your baby is doing the feeding too, one big feed morning and evening and then more like snacking inbetween. Health visitor isn’t helpful as he’s on the 95th percentile for height but on 25th for weight so they keep making me feel like he’s underweight. Those graphs are bullshit btw. So I’m in same boat with not knowing what I’m doing lol and what’s worse is, this is my 3rd child ?????

  11. While I dont agree with extended feeding I think its all about when’s right for you both. My eldest weaned herself around 9 months mainly as I ended up only doing 2 feeds a day as I was back at work. That for me was about the right amount of time and I knew she’d had a good start! Thanks for joining us for #marvmondays

    1. I don’t see us going past a year, but another few months would be nice I think. He has finally say though really – I can’t make him feed if he doesn’t want to!

  12. Same dilemma here! We’re currently at six months (I wanted to make it to 3 as a minimum, then changed that goal to 6) and part of me wants to keep feeding for ease but then I like the idea of formula so that I can share the load a little! My little one has two teeth – he doesn’t bite but he scratches, twists and pinches me whilst he feeds. He does the same tearing his head away – babies are so nosey!! Trying to decide when to stop for both of our sanities,I’m not ready for it to end but at the same time sometimes I find it hard carrying on!! #marvmondays

    1. Since writing this post he has started to wean himself, so I’d say the end of the road is coming for us. He is taking the lead on what happens and that’s fine by me

  13. There’s no one best time, just whenever you and/or your child feels ready. With my first I planned to breastfeed for 6 months, then decided to keep going to 12 months, then discovered the WHO recommends 2 years minimum … To cut a long story short we ended up stopping when she was 4.5! Like you every time I felt like stopping she would stop doing whatever was frustrating me. Good luck with your decision!

  14. We’re still breastfeeding at 16 months with 12 teeth. She won’t drink cows milk and besides breastmilk has so many added benefits. Piglet and you will come to some mutual agreement about when is the right time. #marvmondays

    1. I don’t think it’s going to be a mutual agreement, he’s starting to wean himself from me. He’s just not fussed that much anymore. We will see if he changes his mind – but he’s definitely got all the control at the moment!

  15. I like your post – it’s really thoughtful. I don’t really have anything to add because I never had children this young (mine were both adopted as toddlers) but I think ultimately you and your little one will know when it’s right to stop! #marvmondays

  16. My auntie Breast fed my cousin until he was 3 years old! There were a few occasions where he bit down right on her nopple and wouldnt let go! And I just fed at night with Amelia for the first month so it definitely is rigt to say it’s up the the individual person and child 🙂 Lovely post and good luck when the teeth arrive 😉 #MarvMondays

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  19. I like your post I need help my son is 18 months old and I have stopped breast milk last month by still milk is coming out from breast so what to How To dry milk compelty old help

  20. I wish I’d weaned my son earlier. He’s 20 months now and was in the process of cutting him right down when the shit hit the fan and now we’re in isolation. I spend all day fighting him off so I’ve given in and we’re back to regular breast feeding, even though he eats plenty of food. It’s more a comfort thing. I’ve found it so hard trying to wean him though, should have done it before he was able to follow me around all day shouting boobie!

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