There is only one rule to follow when it comes to breastfeeding: How long you breastfeed is up to you. It’s an individual thing and is controlled by a wide range of factors.
The Swedish food administration recommends that mothers breastfeed “fulltime” for at least six months and after that alongside other foods until the child is one year old.
But the most important part is that you who are breastfeeding are comfortable and that it feels right. Some mothers stop breastfeeding after only a couple of months, some never start. Others breastfeed for years, some until the child is six years old. There are people that believe that there is a big benefit, from a health perspective, in breastfeeding for a long time. But even that is a taboo in the society. Breastfeeding older children is seen as something strange. But you should do as you want, and as you think and feel is best for you and your child.
But how do you know what is best?
Some children stop breastfeeding on their own. They breastfeed less and less and eventually lose interest. For some mothers, breastfeeding is too difficult: it hurts, they get no sleep because the child wakes up during the night at all hours and wants to breastfeed, it has a negative effect on your mental health – it’s not strange that you don’t want to have your breasts available at all times.
Again: the well-being of the mother is important. If you are not feeling good while breastfeeding then stop it. Do not force yourself to something that is always an uncomfortable or negative experience because of guilt or some sort of belief that children have to “breastfeed” until they are two years old.
In other words, pay attention to signals from yourself, your own body and the child. Ignore the social pressure. Then you will know when it’s time to stop breastfeeding.