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At 8 months, our daughter is fed up of breastfeeding. She eats solid food enthusiastically, similarly for formula in a bottle, but seems done with boobs. She'll take breastmilk from a bottle, but prefers formula.

We could persevere with nursing, but it's probably just not worth it unless there's a great reason.

So... is there a great reason?

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Mine wound up weaning at about that age. It happened naturally and both of us were comfortable and perfectly healthy. The nutritional benefits start dropping anyway as they start eating solids. –  balanced mama Nov 28 '12 at 17:47

2 Answers 2

By 6 months, they've gotten a lot of vaccinations (if you are doing vaccinations) so their immunity is a lot stronger by then. Every baby weans at different times too so yes, like philosodad said, you can just bottle feed them breast milk if you wanted them to continue to consume breast milk.

There have been studies though comparing the overall health of breastfed babies vs. non-breastfed:

  • Breastfed for 16-30 months of age: Breastfeeding was noted to decrease the number of infant illnesses and indirectly improve toddler health.

  • A statistically significant protective effect against Hodgkin's disease among children who are breastfed at least 8 months compared with children who were breastfed no more than 2 months.

  • Children given cow's milk-based formula in their first three months were 52% more likely to develop IDDM (diabetes mellitus) than those not given cow's milk formula.

  • Preliminary data from researchers at the University of North Carolina and Duke University comparing 54 children with JRA and a control group without JRA (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis) of similar age and race indicates that children who were breastfed were only 40% as likely to develop JRA.

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My wife is a clinical dietician with a specialization in pediatric nutrition. What she has told me is that the literature suggests that most of the benefits of breast milk for infants--such as building up immunities--are seen in the first six months.

Of course, this is not an either/or situation. If your research suggests that breast milk is still important for your daughter at 8 months, you can always pump and bottle feed her.

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