The American Academy of Pediatrics is not the absolute authority in all things baby, but we do give weight to their recommendations. The FAQ "How long should I breastfeed my baby?" offers:
The AAP recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months of life. This means your baby needs no additional foods (except Vitamin D) or fluids unless medically indicated. Babies should continue to breastfeed for a year and for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby. Breastfeeding should be supported by your physician for as long as it is the right choice for you and your baby.
An urbanMama and our current Weekend Warrior Ali writes about stopping breastfeeding before the end of the baby's first year:
After two straight weeks of biting at every feeding, calls to the breastfeeding support group, solicitations of opinions from two parent/baby groups I'm in, and trying everything from saying no, to saying nothing but looking away, to putting my baby on his mat and turning my back on him - I finally threw in the towel today on breastfeeding. He basically seems to prefer the bottle, where he can get more faster. My son is 7 and a half months. I feel like this is a time of mourning for me. I am sad to see my baby moving past this stage, and I also feel a bit like a failure. There is a lot of pressure, for better or for worse, to breastfeed in Portland, and the message I have been getting these past two weeks is basically to just keep doing it. It finally dawned on me at 4 this morning as my son was lying on his mat crying hysterically that this was not working for anyone. I am planning to continue to pump at least 2 times a day so that he will at least be getting some milk, but he will no longer be getting milk from the breast and he will no longer be getting the majority of his food from breast milk. I'd be interested in hearing how other moms who stopped breastfeeding before the year was up dealt with the sadness, guilt, or other emotions that came up for them.
Your stories to share, mamas?