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My son is about 16 months now and I've been breastfeeding him since he was born. I haven't been able to break the habit, because if I'm around I breastfeed him when he gets fussy. But I started work so on those days I don't breastfeed him until night. I can't seem to break the habit completely. I don't know how to begin. He's been so clingy to me and only wants me and he's been fussy all day yesterday. I don't know if this is temporary or it will go away as he gets older but I need help. Father isn't around too much and my parents help the best they can. Any suggestions.

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To wean now or not is more of a parenting decision than something that can be answered objectively and definitively; but globally and biologically it is normal for a 16 month old to still be breastfed in addition to eating solid foods. (I would say that it's fairly common, if you consider the world as a whole, for babies up to 2 to nurse at least a few times a day, and biologically normal but less common for young children age 3-4).

Breastmilk is no longer a nutritional need for a baby over the age of 1, but still confers immune, nutritional, and bonding benefits, so don't have to worry that you are doing something wrong if you decide to keep going with part-time nursing (breastfeeding just when you and baby are able to be together) or if you decide to wean so that it's easier to leave the baby with others or overnight (or for any reason that makes sense to you).

A baby that is experiencing changes, like a parent going back to work, will often experience a bit of a behavior regression, and wanting to nurse more often, fussiness and clingy behavior are classic symptoms of a baby working through the stress of a change in routine.

I think the crankiness and clinging are far more likely to be related to being separated from you, and just normal behaviors for your baby's age and developmental stage, and not specifically related to or caused by to breastfeeding. If anything, this behavior will probably -increase- temporarily with weaning, as it's introducing another change that needs to be adjusted to. Either way, it will pass with time as your child gets comfortable in the new routine.

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    It's not conferring bonding benefits if the mother is sick of it. The more you say breastfeeding bonding matters, the more you are saying that adopted, and foster kids, and kids with no moms aren't bonding correctly with their parents. – swbarnes2 Aug 22 at 19:20
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    Saying that breastfeeding is a good way of bonding in no way means that there are no other good, correct or legitimate ways of bonding with children. Kids clearly also bond with dads and other non-birth-parents who are almost never in a position to breastfeed. It a fallacy to say that stating that one thing is good is the same as saying all other things are bad or inadequate. I agree that once mom is ready to be done continuing to breastfeed from a sense of obligation is not healthy or bonding. Hence "Don't worry if you decide to wean... for any reason that makes sense to you". – Meg Aug 23 at 18:06

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