Breastfeeding: When Should You Stop?
Lately, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding women’s decisions to breastfeed their children. Our society likes to dictate how and when mothers do so, when in reality, each mother and each child experience breastfeeding differently.
Some mothers choose not to breastfeed, and it is not within our rights to persecute those women when we are not in their position and may not fully understand their personal reasons for this decision.
On the other hand, many women choose to breastfeed their children for long periods of time, and it is not uncommon for some to breastfeed past the 2-year mark, or to simply let their child self-wean. The World Health Organization actually recommends for mothers worldwide to exclusively breastfeed infants for the child's first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, they should be given nutritious complementary foods and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years or beyond.
So why does society condemn the mothers that do so?
The answer is simple—it does not fit the status quo. If you haven’t already noticed, we like to categorize things here in America. Many individuals are offended and confused by unconventional practices or by anything that does not conform with what we are taught. It is often our ignorance that prevents us from being open-minded about new ways of thinking when a majority of the time, the conventional way of doing things is not always the right way or the best way. In reality, evidence suggests that the practice of breastfeeding has so many benefits; breastfed babies tend to have a higher IQ, improved development, are better protected against disease and illness, etc.!