I’m wondering today (just because I’m the nosy type)…

at what age do or did you wean your babies?

Most everything I’ve read on the subject recommends weaning around one year of age.  

Then there are the more naturally minded “experts” who encourage mothers to continue breastfeeding at least until age two.  

I tend to learn toward extended breastfeeding, although as a new mom I never really thought about how long I planned to nurse.  I just knew when my first little one reached the twelve month mark she wasn’t ready to wean.  

So we kept nursing for a few more months, and I’m glad we did.

Ten-plus years of mothering have taught me at least two things about weaning: 

  1. Babies grow up way too fast to rush it. 
  2. Mama knows her baby and her body best. 

Both our daughters weaned around sixteen months old.  My little boys each weaned just a few months before their second birthdays.

Baby C just turned a year old last week, and he is definitely not entertaining thoughts of weaning.  Neither am I.

 You know what?  I’ve never regretted nursing my babies “that long”.  I consider myself blessed to be able to breastfeed my babies to my heart’s content (not that it’s always been easy!).

I realize not everyone can nurse that long, and not everyone necessarily wants to.  And that’s okay.  I don’t believe there is a “magic age”, but I’m interested to hear what has worked for you other mamas! 

So how old were your little darlings when they weaned?

In our case, I’m referring specifically to breastfeeding, but please feel free to comment whether or not you breastfed.

(All babies wean from something, right?)

Would you like to comment via your FB profile?

Leave a Reply

Or

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

57 thoughts on “What’s the right age to wean your baby?

  1. We have one child. He nursed until he was 3 1/2 yrs., but would have kept going. I think I was getting close (emotionally/mentally) to being done, but also the milk supply was getting low. It’s an indescribable, wonderful experience. You are their nourishment, their comfort, their ‘security blanket’, not to mention what it does for you!
    You have to learn to ignore the naysayers, and continue until YOU and your baby know it is the right time to stop for you. It is different for everyone.
    I miss breastfeeding, but we are unable to have any more children. My husband had prostate cancer (He’s been cancer free for 6 Yrs!) and the following year I had to have a partial hysterectomy.
    We are SO thankful for our one beautiful, amazing boy! He is our ‘sunshine’. 🙂 (He is 9 1/2 now)

    Posted on April 26, 2014 at 12:22 pm
  2. It’s been different with each of my babies. Under pressure from, well, everyone, to stop and her not being super interested anyway, I weaned my first at 13 months. Baby 2 nursed till 18 months, the last 6 in secret (same pressure). I was pregnant with baby 4 was 6 months and dried up when she was 11 months old. Neither of us were ready. Baby 4 had no interest after 14 months. Baby 5 is 3 months old and already I’m getting the same pressure to quit. We’ll see what happens. I’m a more confidant mom now but he’s also been more difficult to nurse as it is.

    Posted on April 22, 2014 at 7:20 pm
  3. I’ve been nursing for the last 14 years except for about 12 months of it. Crazy to think about! I have 8 kids…not 14 years with one kid! 😉

    My first nursed until he was 5 months…I was 1 month pg with my second and between it hurting (so I didn’t let him nurse as long or often as he wanted) and him being happy with formula I offered in exchange, he stopped. (Ah, if I had known a little more…)

    My second nursed to about 16-17 months of age, stopped of his own accord about a month or two before my third was born.

    My third nursed until he was three…all the way through my 4th pregnancy and the tandem nursed. He wasn’t interested in stopping but I decided to wean him just before he turned 3. Of all of my children, he persisted in asking to nurse longer than any.

    My 4th nursed until he was three. Tandem nursed with his baby sister for about a year. I don’t recall who initiated the weaning.

    My 5th nursed until she was about 15 months…I was 7 months pg with my 6th and I don’t think she liked the taste because she self weaned (my previous 2 didn’t seem to mind any change in taste during pregnancies).

    My 6th…I really don’t recall when she stopped. It was between 2 and 3 years. Nursed though the following pregnancy (next baby was born just before she turned 2) and also tandem nursed with the next.

    My 7th nursed until a few months before he turned 4. Also tandem nursed with the next. It was only 1-2 times a day at the end. He would ask and I would just say, “Not right now.” Then he’d go a few days without asking. And then he stopped.

    My 8th is 31 months old and he still nurses at least in the morning, at nap and at bed time. And anytime he’s tired and needs to regroup. But not in public unless I’m with other nursing friendly moms or visiting family. I don’t think he’ll be able to nurse as long as the others because there’s no baby to keep the supply going and I’ve got a couple of things coming up where I’ll be away from him for 24 plus hours. I don’t think my milk supply will make it.

    Tandem nursing was delightful for when I had a newborn. When an older baby had been nursing, I didn’t get sore and cracked when the newborn started nursing and when my milk came in after having the baby, the toddler was able to drink the excess so being engorged wasn’t the pain it was otherwise.

    Posted on April 18, 2014 at 8:35 am
  4. My son was about 15 months. My daughter is 20 months, and we’re still going strong. We’ll nurse as long as she wants.

    Posted on April 17, 2014 at 7:29 am
    1. Sounds like a great plan! 🙂

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Alix!

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm
  5. I am still nursing my first and she just turned one last month. I plan on nursing until she self wean… but she is pretty connected to nursing so I can’t imagine her doing it anytime soon! Thank you for sharing, this is so encouraging!
    Stopping by http://www.ourlifeonabudget.com 🙂

    Posted on April 17, 2014 at 6:36 am
    1. Stasia, at this point, I can’t imagine my little guy ever actually WANTING to wean, either! 😉

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm
  6. I have one daughter, who was weaned in stages. During the first year it was nursed on demand. During the next year, she nursed at home pretty much on demand but not while we were out, and it was mainly naptime and bedtime, with meals at home. After her second birthday we were down to just nap and bedtime. At her third birthday she was told there was no more. For a couple of nights she was a bit unhappy but it worked just fine.

    Posted on April 17, 2014 at 12:50 am
    1. I nurse my babies on demand, as well, and have found that they gradually wean themselves… eventually. 🙂

      Thanks so much for sharing, Laura!

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm
  7. I have always started out breastfeeding, but unfortunately at around 2-3 months I no longer make enough milk, despite trying everything natural and I am forced to supplement or the baby stops gaining weight. 🙁 I have 3, am due with #4 in June and each have stopped nursing completely at different times. My oldest quit around 6 months, my second quit around 14 months and my 3rd quit around 7-8 months. It was sad, but they were just not getting what they needed from me. My youngest is 17 months and still loves to snuggle on my lap with his blanket and bottle, which is special for both of us. 🙂

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 11:30 pm
    1. Naomi, even if you can’t breastfeed long term you are still giving your babies a wonderful gift by breastfeeding for as long as you can! Good for you, you’re doing a great job!

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:44 pm
  8. I have 6 children. #1 I nursed till about 13-14 months. #2 was 15 months, # 3 was 15 months, #4 was about 16-17 months, #5 was 3 till he was done (nursing mostly just once in the night when he woke up) and I’m still nursing #6 who is not quite 2 1/2. There was almost 8 years between my last 2 and so the two youngest have both been my babies without getting pregnant again cutting off my milk supply. #2 and 3 were not cut off because of pregnancies but because my husband was adamant that it was time to wean them. The younger ones he hasn’t minded me nursing them longer. Think he understands more now about that stuff. Would really be willing to quit nursing my youngest but he absolutely loves it and it’s a wonderful comfort thing for him. Not sure how long it will continue.

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 9:18 pm
    1. Marilyn, breastfeeding is definitely a lot about comfort for older babies! Even at a year old, my little guy needs lots of comfort nursing, although he nurses a lot when he’s hungry too. 🙂 It’s a gift we are blessed to give our little ones!

      Thanks for commenting.

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:43 pm
  9. I nursed my oldest until about seven months. I had wanted to nurse for at least a year, but my husband wasn’t quite as receptive. 🙂 She was weaned from the bottle the day after her first birthday. My second self-weaned at eleven months (I guess the hubby was a little more used to babies and their needs by then). I was hoping for a year with that little guy, but he was just too nosy to be very interested in that much face-to-chest time. He also was weaned completely the day after his first birthday. With the one on the way, we’ll just wait and see. 🙂 I don’t think there was any particular reason that I chose their first birthdays for complete weaning except that it was the most ‘appropriate’ age I had read about. No one I knew had ever breastfed so I was jubilant to make a go of it to begin with. 🙂

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 8:01 pm
    1. Wow, great job, Jessi! I can’t imagine going it alone like you did! I must say I had quite a bit of support, which is a blessing. Lots of mamas don’t.

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm
  10. My oldesr three kids all weaned between ages 3-3.5. My youngest is still going strong at 19 months. By age 3 my older kids were down to nursing just once a day (at bedtime) and sometime between 3-3.5 they gave up that last nursing. It was a very gradual process with all of them My oldest was 32 months when my 2nd was born, so I tandem nursed for almost a year, but for many of those months she was only nursing once a day. My 2nd weaned just past age 3 when I was 20 weeks pregnanat with the 3rd. My 3rd weaned at 3.5 (and I didn’t get pregnant with the 4th until a few months after that).

    I always weaned when it felt “right” which for me, was sometime after age 3, but before age 4.

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 6:58 pm
    1. Our weanings have been gradual too, Amelia, very similar to what you described. My mom always says, “If weaning it hard, then it must not be time to do it yet.” I believe her!

      Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:39 pm
  11. My first child I nursed until she was 5 months old. When she was 3 months old I found out I was pregnant with our second and my first refused to nurse once I hit my second trimester, Nevermind that it was extremely painful so we stopped. With my second, I only had intentions of nursing until he turned A year old but he clearly wasn’t ready to stop and neither was I. I tried to wean him and I went through a slight depression and was emotional (not sure if that’s normal and due to hormones) but we continued and he finally weaned himself at 2 1/2 yrs old, which was when I entered into my second trimester of our third child.

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 6:57 pm
    1. I have a feeling the “slight depression” you experienced was probably due to hormones. I’ve experienced it before, as well, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so I’m assuming it’s pretty normal. Our bodies do amazing things during the child bearing years! 🙂

      Thanks for sharing, Nancy!

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:38 pm
  12. I’ve always had a goal of about two years. My first two were around 20-22 months. My third was really hard to wean. She didn’t want to, but I was pregnant and it hurt terribly the whole time. Finally we weaned when I had two months of the pregnancy left. My fourth weaned a couple of weeks after having our fifth. She was almost 25 months.

    Though I desperately wanted to wean my third because of how it hurt, I’ve later wished in some ways that I could have nursed her longer. I think it would have benefited her emotionally, but I just simply couldn’t do it anymore.

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 6:52 pm
    1. Sometimes it’s tough to find a balance in motherhood, especially when the needs of our own bodies come into play. It’s important to take care of yourself, especially during pregnancy; I’m sure you did the right thing!

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:36 pm
  13. My daughter weaned herself at 20 months, the day we found out I were pregnant with our son. Our son is 10 months old and still going strong.

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 6:51 pm
    1. Thanks for sharing, Cori!

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:35 pm
  14. I think it’s important to spread the word about nursing beyond one year because it can be so taboo, so thank you for sharing! My oldest daughter weaned at 15 months when I was pregnant with my second. I’m currently tandem nursing my second (2.5) and baby (4 months). I’m tiring of nursing the older one, but I’m definitely hoping my baby will nurse to around age two.

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 6:21 pm
    1. Kelly, I so agree with you… we mamas need to do what we can to encourage other moms to not give up breastfeeding just because someone suggests their baby is “too old” to nurse.

      I’ve never tandem nursed, but I’ve definitely nursed a toddler while I was pregnant! Good for you for giving your babies (and yourself!) a beautiful, healthy season of nursing. I’m hoping my little guy will get another year in before weaning, too. 🙂

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:48 pm
  15. At 3 1/2 years old my youngest child still uses me as a human pacifier. Yes, I’m ready to be done and get my breasts back to myself. However, knowing that he IS my last I don’t know when I will encourage him to stop. I suppose that because he does sleep with me in bed won’t make weaning any easier. 🙂

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 6:06 pm
    1. Aw, it’s tough letting “the baby” grow up, isn’t it? Weaning always feels like the end of babyhood somehow.

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:34 pm
  16. I wasn’t able to nurse my kids to a point of weaning. Made me very sad. My 4th, I was able to make it up to 9 months and was very proud of myself for it.

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 5:40 pm
    1. Great job, Jersusha! I’m proud of you too!

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:33 pm
  17. I am still nursing my son who turned two three months ago. I’m really trying to wean him, but he is super picky and says “go nummy, pwease?”,
    which is precious, and so I try to offer an apple juice and a cheese or something half the time and the other times we sneak off and “do our business”. 🙂 He usually announces that he wants to go nummy in front of people, so all my friends know I’m still nursing him and no one cares, or at least they don’t act horrified. 🙂 Hopefully I won’t be nursing him until he’s 12. 🙂

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 4:05 pm
    1. You made me laugh, April! Of course we’ve all heard of a few strange folks who DO nurse their kids until ages ten and twelve, but I don’t think that is a common problem! 😉

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:33 pm
  18. I have always breastfed until I got pregnant again(breastfeeding has not been birth control for me!;) But my baby just turned 13 months yesterday and I’m still nursing. I really have no desire to push weaning yet, and he seems to be completely fine with that. I’m not sure how long I’ll continue, but for now it works for us. 🙂

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 3:33 pm
    1. I’m right there with you, Jessica! No end in sight right now. 😉

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:31 pm
  19. Around the time of their first birthday, loosely. By then they were eating solid foods and it just seemed like the right time.

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 3:32 pm
    1. Thank you for sharing, Monica!

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:30 pm
  20. There are deffinately benefits to their immune system to breastfeed for 2 years. 2 years are recommended by doctors in other countries.

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 2:19 pm
    1. Very true, Tatyana. I’m hoping to see the American tends change!

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:30 pm
  21. I like to answer nosy questions 🙂 I have nursed all 8 of my babies for over a year. I must admit that I have never had any problems nursing. I don’t think I even became engorged with my first one! I’ve had one child go on a nursing strike one day; thankfully, my husband was home that day, so he could hold the crying baby while I pumped! And I have had one breast infection that last for maybe 4 hours; I thought I was going to die 🙂 And I’ve had my babies without drugs, but that breast infection about did me in! Anyway, I have basically let them wean themselves. We had some family situations with the first, so I guess I decided for him, but he was around 18 months and barely nursing. And I did discourage another from nursing after a miscarriage, because I was sad and confused. I do love having that comfort for them when they’re sick or hurt. After they’ve weaned, I feel helpless.

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 1:24 pm
    1. I’ve been blessed to never have endured breast infections, either. Lots of mamas deal with mastitis and I can only imagine how painful it must be!

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:29 pm
  22. 3 of my children were adopted as toddlers or preschoolers, so they didn’t nurse at all, and I noticed how much harder it was on them.

    My firstborn nursed only 8 weeks, because I had to go back to work. Each subsequent child got a little bit more. 9 months, 11 months, 11 months, 13 months, 3.5 years, 4 years.

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 1:00 pm
    1. You brought up an interesting point, Shecki. I usually think about breastfeeding from a nutritional point of view, but the emotional element of comfort is huge, too.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:27 pm
  23. I’m expecting my first (due 5 days ago!), and I don’t plan to wean at all. I’ve talked to lots of moms and I kind of expect my baby to just do it himself. I’m going to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, and then introduce only SOME foods–but only feed him real food after he’s already nursed. At 1 year old, I’ll allow him to eat lots more food but continue nursing until he weans himself. Honestly–I don’t have a problem nursing until he’s 3 if he wants to keep nursing. (But I’ve not heard of a baby that keeps nursing that long….at least not often enough to keep Mom’s milk supply up).

    I just know that nursing is a wonderful source of both nourishment and bonding for a baby. I don’t want to take that away from him when he wants it!

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 12:25 pm
    1. Congratulations, Rachel! What an exciting time you have ahead of you! Enjoy those sweet snuggles (I know you will!).

      Blessings on you, Mama. xoxoxo

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:26 pm
  24. My experiences have been all over the place. My oldest was 8 months when my inexperience and thinking it would just work well caused lack of supply and she weaned. My second was a similar story; she weaned at five months. My third I was determined, but I got pregnant and he quit at 8 months. My fourth I persevered, pumped to up supply, and nursed her into my fifth pregnancy – she nursed until 18 months. My fifth weaned at three months, when I became pregnant again. My sixth nursed until 14 months and baby #7 is 6 weeks old and nursing like a champ. There’s no perfect age, but some of them have been a sadder end than others. Pregnancy ends my milk supply quickly, and nursing through the night is a must for me to be able to continue producing enough. It’s been a learning experience, for sure.

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm
    1. I couldn’t agree more, Adrienne: it’s a learning experience for all of us.

      You’re an awesome mama… wow, seven little ones. I’m proud of you!

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:25 pm
  25. My first baby nursed until about 11 months, my second baby only nursed for 8 months because I got pregnant and my milk dried up. My third only nursed for 6 weeks because I was going to school and she got too used to the bottle while I was away 🙁 and my fourth nursed for 15 months, and I only weaned her because I got pregnant. I’m planning to nurse this one for as long as he or she wants to!

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 11:36 am
    1. Thank you so sharing your story, Miranda! And congratulations on your pregnancy!

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:23 pm
  26. I breastfed my first two each for 27 months. They each weaned during the pregnancy with the next kiddo. My third is not quite 11 months old and going strong.

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 11:13 am
    1. Little ones usually wean so easily when they’re ready, don’t they?

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:22 pm
  27. My eldest two sons weaned when they were 18 months because I hit 5 months pregnant, but they would have continued had it not been for a new baby. My youngest son was weaned at 3 years old, and we forced the issue a tiny bit just because we wanted out bed back! I was so distracted with two little kids that having that time with my baby, even when he wasn’t a baby anymore, was wonderful for both of us. It also made traveling easier because my presence was immediate comfort in any situation. I miss it. Parenting is so much about ignoring well-meaning but wrong advice. I just ignored the naysayers just like I do in so many other situations!

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 10:55 am
    1. I do the same, April. Every wise mama comes to the point of taking well-meaning advice with a grain of salt. 🙂

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:22 pm
  28. I didn’t get to breastfeed because we adopted, but my first was still taking five bottles a day at 12 months, including one in the night! I was told at 12 months it was time to stop, but he obviously needed it. He finally dropped the night one at 15 months (which was a relief because by that point my youngest was three months!), but still took a bottle once a day until I stopped him at 2-1/2. I’m convinced if he was breastfed he would have been a long one….probably 3. My youngest didn’t care and as soon as he could grow up, he did. He quit at 18 months (which is the only reason I made my oldest stop). I don’t think anyone ever regrets going longer, only stopping early. Even at 2-1/2 it was so hard for my oldest and looking back there was no reason he couldn’t have kept it longer.

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 10:50 am
    1. “I don’t think anyone ever regrets going longer, only stopping early.” Tracie, well said and I so agree!

      Thank you for reading and sharing. 🙂

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm
  29. Awww, how I miss nursing! My middle child who is now 6 would have gone on forever lol I weaned her 🙁 at 26 months, then when my third came along she tandem nursed at 3 to 3 1/2.. it may sound weird to some but who can judge something so personal and intimate..enjoy your one year old, Happy Birthday to him!

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 10:49 am
    1. Thank you, Tanya! I agree…. who can judge? I will never regret those precious seasons of babyhood with my little ones! 🙂

      Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm
  30. With our first two children I tried breastfeeding, but sadly had little encouragement or knowledge at the time to persevere. When our third came along, I was determined to keep at it. I loved breastfeeding! He weaned at 15 months. He was ready, but I wasn’t! Our fourth weaned at 7 months, I was pregnant with our fifth and I think it did something to my milk (?), he wasn’t interested in nursing anymore. And our fifth has just weaned himself at 11 months. Once again, we found out we were expecting, and it seems like my milk somehow changes. He was still nursing in the night, which made me very happy, but 5 days ago he refused and has wanted nothing to do with nursing since. I’m sad, I was hoping to nurse until at least two.

    I agree, it’s not always easy. For the first time, I had problems with blocked ducts (and not just in the beginning, but throughout the past 11 months). There were several days I cried and cringed every time I nursed. But it was definitely worth it! I look forward to nursing our next little one for however long I can.

    Posted on April 16, 2014 at 10:14 am
    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Kimberly! I agree that getting pregnant does change the dynamics of nursing. I have definitely been there and done that! 🙂

      Blessings on your pregnancy, and may you enjoy a beautiful season of breastfeeding with your new little one when he or she arrives!

      Posted on April 16, 2014 at 10:26 am