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How Long Should I Breastfeed and How Do I Wean?

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

How long should I breastfeed?

Experts recommend that you feed your baby only breast milk until he or she is 6 months old. Breastfeeding for the first 6 months can decrease your baby's risk for illnesses. These illnesses include respiratory (lung) infections, allergies, asthma, and stomach problems. Your baby will need a vitamin D supplement soon after birth. Talk to your healthcare provider about the amount and type of vitamin D supplement that is best for your baby. Experts also recommend that you continue to breastfeed your baby until he or she is at least 12 months old after he or she starts eating solid foods. You can breastfeed longer if you choose to.

What is weaning?

Weaning means that you breastfeed your baby less or you stop breastfeeding him or her. Weaning starts naturally when your baby begins to eat solid foods. He or she will start to breastfeed less during this time.

When should I begin weaning my baby?

Talk with your healthcare provider about the best time to wean your baby. The following are general guidelines:

Why should I avoid early weaning?

What can lead to early weaning?

You may want to wean your baby from breast milk early if you are having problems. Most of these problems can be fixed to allow breastfeeding to continue. Talk with your healthcare provider if you are thinking about weaning early for any reason.

Why is it important to give my baby solid foods after he or she is 6 months old?

How do I introduce solid foods to my baby?

What problems may happen when I start to wean my baby from breast milk?

Where can I get support and more information?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan how you are going to wean your baby. To help with this plan, learn as much as you can about weaning. Ask your healthcare provider any questions you have. You and your healthcare provider can work together to plan the best way to wean your baby.The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.