If you’re enjoying breastfeeding, you can continue for as long as you and your baby want to. That could mean until she’s a year, or even two years, old. There’s no need to stop before you’re both ready.
Most women set goals for breastfeeding of between three months and a year. Though in many parts of the world, it’s usual to breastfeed for two years or even longer.
How long you keep breastfeeding for is your decision. It will depend on how you feel emotionally, as well as your personal circumstances.
Whatever you decide, try to give your baby nothing but breastmilk until she’s six months old (exclusive breastfeeding). This will give your baby a healthy start in life.
When your baby is ready to try her first solid food at six months, you can still carry on breastfeeding her.
The support of your partner, in particular, and your friends and family, will make it much easier for you to continue breastfeeding for as long as you want to. Sometimes, mums come under pressure from friends and family to stop breastfeeding before they’re ready. But the decision is yours and yours alone, so try not to be pressured into anything.
Your baby may be feeding around the clock in the early days, but she’ll start cutting back as she gets older. Many mums find the first few weeks of breastfeeding tough, but those who stick with it are usually glad that they did.
As breastfeeding continues, you may find that friends who are breastfeeding are an invaluable source of support.
Returning to work doesn’t mean that breastfeeding has to end. Lots of women successfullyexpress breastmilk and combine breast and bottle-feeding, though it does take a little planning. Continuing to breastfeed can be a great way to maintain a close relationship with your baby, and may even help both of you to cope with the daytime separation.