When Should You Stop Breast Feeding? A Response to Dr. Stoppard

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breastfeeding rocksToday an article in the Daily Mirror in the UK was brought to my attention.  It’s called ‘When Should You Stop Breast Feeding?’ by Dr. Miriam Stoppard.  And for lack of a better term, it’s crap.  It angered me enough that I felt I should use this avenue to actually respond to her article line by line, so here we go (Dr. Stoppard’s comments in italics)…

There’s no keener fan of ­breast-feeding than me. I always advocate breast milk as the perfect food for babies from birth to weaning.

Wow – that’s quite the statement – no keener fan, eh?  Given that I’ve actually read the rest of your piece, I’m going to call bullshit on that one.  In fact, based on what’s written next, I’m going to question you even calling yourself a fan of breast-feeding.  But of course, if you come out and say that, I’m sure everyone will disregard what you have to say next, so of course you’ve got to pull this little nugget out, no matter how disingenuous it is.

For years, we’ve followed the World Health Organization guideline that where possible babies should be breast-fed for six months.

Well that’s good.  After all, the World Health Organization bases its guidelines on research based evidence and practice, examining factors such as physical health and emotional health of those involved (though admittedly with a focus on physical health).  As someone who’s supposedly a huge fan of breast-feeding, I would hope that you supported and followed these guidelines (which, btw, are six months of exclusive breastfeeding and then breastfeeding more generally for 2 years or more).

Recently, the Institute of Child Health put forward the case for mixed feeding from four months.

I went to their site and while I couldn’t find anything specific to that, I trust your statement.  After all, the Institute of Child Health is based in a hospital with research focused on certain aims.  However, what was truly interesting was that when I checked out their “recent publications” section, the only thing remotely close to this topic was from 2011.  I also couldn’t find any media releases on such a topic, so I’m going to assume you’re speaking of this 2011 BMJ paper.  In the realm of science, it’s not exactly “recently”, but you’re behind on your reading and I suppose I’ll let that slide.  So let’s look at what this article found:

  • No nutritional deficits or problems outside of iron for children breastfed six months versus four (of course, the data was based on US studies in which cords are routinely clamped early during birth which has been found to be one of the greatest predictors of iron deficiency – but let’s ignore that little problem and the other studies that all suggest there is no iron deficiency based on breastfeeding status).
  • Lower infection rates for children breastfed six months versus anything less.
  • Possible evidence of gluten allergies if gluten isn’t introduced between four and six months (though based on suggestions of when to introduce gluten with no control for breast versus formula feeding).
  • No long term (6.5 years) effect of breastfeeding for blood pressure, cognition, atopy, and dental carries.

So even though these doctors questioned the multiple studies that found lower infection rates in Western countries, they didn’t question the studies that found iron deficiency (and didn’t acknowledge the link to cord clamping), nor did they question the one study on gluten intolerance that had no examination of breast feeding, but was based on wheat introduction recommendations for all babies, regardless of what was followed and who followed them.  Yeah, great science for recommendations.  Regardless, their evidence hardly suggests any problem with the six month suggestion.

I’m with them. Many mothers wean their babies around four months anyway and in the Third World it’s often an economic necessity.

Ah, so we should do it because it’s just what “many mothers” do (and I assume you’re talking Western moms)!  Even in the “Third World” (isn’t that term so outdated by now?) where it’s done out of an “economic necessity”.  Do you even realize that by stating why it’s done in Developing nations you’re countering your own argument?  It’s done because of money.  Not because it’s best for babe or mom or anyone involved in the breast feeding dyad.  It’s done because they have to.

Plus breast milk often doesn’t deliver the iron needed for a six-month baby.

Except if you delay cord clamp.  Then babies get the iron stores they need and breast feeding becomes a moot point.  Good of you to recognize that.

But if you’re a mum dedicated to ­breast-feeding, when should you stop?

Um… when you and babe are ready?

I’ve spoken to breast-feeding consultants who say breast-feed for as long as possible, quoting the nourishment and protection of breast milk throughout toddlerhood.

I don’t even know what to make of this sentence.  Based on what you’ve previously suggested (and what you’re about to suggest), you must believe these people know nothing because clearly breast feeding offers little benefit even in the first six months and, well, we’ll get to your thoughts on toddlers breastfeeding in a moment… So why throw this in?  Because otherwise this statement should be the only thing left in the article!

For me, the line was crossed when I saw a cover of Time magazine showing a mother standing breast-feeding her four-year-old child who was standing on a chair to reach his mother’s nipple.

Yes, the “line”.  Let’s ignore the sensationalism of the actual cover – the awkward pose, the unnaturalness of the way they were photographed – in order to suggest that that unnatural image should sway one’s intellect.  I’m glad to see you’re able to think so clearly and rationally and not let yourself be swayed by propaganda and journalism focused on selling stories instead of sharing the truth.  Great qualities for a doctor who’s supposed to be knowledgeable and read between the lines.

This mother belongs to the school of extreme parenting where mums breast-feed into late childhood, let their child sleep with them and, as babies, carry them everywhere in a sling.

So according to you, the vast majority of mothers in history and many mothers in other cultures are “extreme”?  Okay, let’s look at the various definitions of “extreme” as an adjective in the dictionary:

  1. of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average: extreme measures.
  2. utmost or exceedingly great in degree: extreme joy.
  3. farthest from the center or middle; outermost; endmost: the extreme limits of a town.
  4. farthest, utmost, or very far in any direction: an object at the extreme point of vision.
  5. exceeding the bounds of moderation: extreme fashions.

In our society, the first definition does fit.  However, in a global and historical context, it would be flipped.  Our current practices would be deemed “extreme” relative to what has been done and is done around the world.  The third and fourth definitions don’t really fit because there’s no spatial allowances when discussing parenting.  The fifth might fit, but I would argue, who wants to parent in moderation?  Aren’t we supposed to jump in with all we’ve got to ensure our children thrive?  But personally I like the second definition so I’m going to assume you’re using that.  Yes, us parents who breastfeed as long as our children want, who sleep with them, and carry them as babies are “exceedingly great”.  So thank you.

The mother on the Time cover believes in letting her child decide when breast-feeding should stop.

Yep, she believes that her child will intuitively know when he’s had enough.  Like all mammals and primates that we’re related to.  Because, after all, pregnancy is the natural weaning stage for many animals (typically after a biological age that mirrors a much longer period in human infancy), but forced weaning at the same stage as we do for infants?  Sorry – you just don’t find that.

I’ve never heard anything so irresponsible.

Really?!  Because I’ve heard of parents letting kids do hard drugs in their house or even sharing with them.  Of leaving young children in the bath alone, unsupervised as their children drowned.  Of dropping their babies into scalding hot water then leaving the house while the child died.  But I don’t know what I was thinking because of course letting your children self-wean is way more irresponsible than any of those actions.

No young child should be asked to shoulder the burden of such a decision.

Last I checked, letting a child self-wean wasn’t asking them to shoulder any burden.  In fact, it’s allowing them to learn about their bodies and share what they’ve learned.  They get a chance to know when they’ve had enough milk – whether it be for comfort or nutrition – and make a decision.  Isn’t that empowering?  In fact, I think it’s one of the first independent steps we can allow a child to make.  Otherwise it’s us telling them what they need, providing them no chance to learn on their own.

If you subscribe to that, which other decisions would you let your child make? To go to nursery or not? To get up in the morning or stay in bed? It’s clearly wrong.

I’m not sure what to say here.  One, your analogies are false alone in that they don’t even equate to breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding is something the child can have control over so long as mom is okay with it (and of course a mom who is not enjoying the experience or suffering from it should look to alternatives and weaning, no one is suggesting otherwise).  Going to the nursery or getting up in the morning are things that simply have to happen for the family to function oftentimes.  But breastfeeding?  Nope.  That is something that is a choice for a particular dyad to make and the decision on who to let make the choice as to when to stop is something that every dyad must decide.  By the way, I wonder what you think about kids who self-wean early?  Like at a year?  Is that okay or should the mother have stopped them earlier?

This doesn’t bother advocates of extreme parenting.

No it doesn’t, thank you for recognizing that in our “exceedingly great” parenting, we are quite happy with our choices.

They know that it would be an unusual child who would reject the breast their mother is offering them.

Well, yes and no.  We know that many children will wean earlier than the average just as some will wean later.  Some of us want to wean earlier but understand that the breast offers our children some control over their food intake, their ability to soothe, and provides them with a sense of comfort other things don’t.  So we follow their lead and watch them learn how to make these decisions themselves.

No. This is about mothers who desire to keep their child dependent on them.

Hmmm… really?  Funny, I breastfeed my 25 month old daughter (and she’s looking to be one to self-wean very late) and I’ve never felt that she was dependent on me beyond the obvious fact that she’s 25 months and thus dependent on me to survive.  But older children?  I know children who are highly dependent on their parents and none of them breastfed late.  I would argue that you keep your child dependent on you by making all the decisions for them, in essence crippling them from being able to function without you over their shoulder telling them what to do.  Breastfeeding doesn’t do that.  In fact, when it’s child-led, breastfeeding is really about the child exerting her/his autonomy in telling the mother what s/he needs.  Isn’t that independence?  Not dependence?

A parent should be encouraging a child to be independent.

Wait – I thought letting a child make a choice was forcing them to “shoulder a burden”.  Now we’re supposed to encourage them to be independent?  What kind of independence are you thinking of them?  But generally, I agree we need to encourage our children to learn independence.  And what better way to teach them independence than to allow them to make choices or participate in choices that are relevant to them?

Extreme parents say it protects their child from “the pain of weaning”.

I’ve not heard that particular phrase, but let’s suppose that’s the only argument (though hopefully by now it’s clearly not).  The “pain” here, I imagine, is the pain of having a choice taken away from you.  Of being told you don’t have a say in something that is central to your life.  Of being forced to be dependent upon the whims and decisions of those around you – giving you no choice nor any freedom to contest such decisions.  And as a parent, I would hope to be able to avoid that pain when possible.  I acknowledge that won’t always be possible and my child will have to adapt, but when I don’t have to force such submission and dependence on my child?  Well, I would like to avoid that “pain”.  After all, I’m not in the process of teaching my child submission to other people, but to be independent.

Far from it being upsetting, most babies offered a mixed diet are happy about it.

And what evidence of “happy” do you have for it?  Because really we’re talking about 4-6 months, which was your original argument before you went off the tracks on late breastfeeding (because really, none of the toddlers are exclusively breastfed).  Are they smiling more?  I can’t find a shred of evidence to suggest such a ludicrous claim.  In fact, I don’t think you could even measure it objectively!

My guide is the appearance of teeth.

Great – and that’s your guide.  Unfortunately what works for you doesn’t work for everyone else, nor should you expect it to.  After all, don’t you want us to be independent and make our own choices?

Nature arranges for them to erupt when a baby needs food that has to be chewed.

First, most babies’ first teeth emerge at six months, so why the problem?  The argument you first presented was that babies should get food before that.  There was no consideration of teeth here.  Second, babies first get one or two teeth.  Not exactly enough to even chew food with, so what are you suggesting?    That when a tooth emerges a baby is capable of chewing food on his or her own?  Really?  Do you understand how chewing works?

That should be when breast-feeding is gently suspended.

Wait – what does gently suspended mean?  Mixed?  Suspended implies giving it up, not mixed with food, but given up.  So a baby with one tooth is suddenly independent, eh?  What about the myriad health benefits of including breastfeeding (even if not exclusively) up to two years?  The effects on cancer, other infections, health care costs, etc.?  Especially as a baby can still nurse with a tooth.  Just as they can drink other liquids as well – just because we have teeth doesn’t mean we give up anything that doesn’t involve teeth.

Frankly I have to admit that I’ve rarely read such an incoherent, illogical, and frankly irrelevant piece masquerading as advice to parents.  Despite having read it through several times and breaking it down sentence by sentence, I still don’t quite know what your point was at the end of the day except to try and convince parents that breastfeeding needs to stop earlier than they’re doing it, regardless of when that is.  But even that I’m not sure of.  For someone who started out saying she was an advocate of breastfeeding, you certainly have a funny way of showing it.  I can only hope all parents can see your piece for what it is – nothing.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Perhaps her relationship with Nestle goes some way to explaining her need to persuade mothers to quit breastfeeding early? She’s a disgrace to her profession.

    • Tine Brok says

      Ah, our old friends Nestle. Advocates of breastfeeding from way back. That explains the odd assertion that switching ‘third world’ babies to formula is a positive economic move. As opposed to something that’s more likely to kill them when mum can no longer afford formula or mixes it with contaminated water. I now know all I need to about Dr Stoppard…

  2. Joanna says

    And of course there’s no mention of the WHO guidelines to continue breastfeeding for at least 2 years – the 6 months guideline is for exclusive breastfeeding before the introduction of solids.

  3. says

    You are my new hero! I was incensed at her piece yesterday. I notice she never mentioned her links with nestle in her article. Amazing piece, I was grinning ear to ear reading it.

  4. emma says

    i agree with everything you have said apart from one thing why cant they chose weather to go to nursery or not i think school should be the child’s choice as much as anything else you teach you child how to walk talk and why should you be told at a certain point someone else should do the teaching now

  5. says

    Excellent. Have shared. Thank you for injecting common sense into this ridiculous article. I guess the one thing I would add is that it’s highly suspicious that this piece has come from someone with an interest in the formula milk/ baby foods industry (through her associations with Nestle). Surely that sort of interest needs to be disclosed?

  6. Sandra Goad says

    I am so glad there are people who can analyse and refute the prejudicial and unfounded article that Stoppard wrote. But the same media opportunity is needed to publicise the truth about breastfeeding. And of course the truth about formula milk and Nestle action in the developing world.

  7. jenni says

    I made a complaint to the press complaints commission when i read this original article in the mirror… your response is everything i wanted to say and more. couldn’t agree more. thank you!!!!

  8. Zoe says

    Fantastic response! I read the original article yesterday and was dumbfounded. I was especially confused by her comments about ‘third world’ mothers weaning for economic reasons, she clearly has no idea!
    I am also breastfeeding a 25 month old who is showing no signs of weaning, oh well I guess I’m just an extreme parent sitting happily on the other side of Stoppards “line” (and it’s really quite nice over here :-)

  9. Anonymous Coward says

    Keep bringing up this choice which you think should be the child’s [innate] trigger for moving to food, but you seem to be running off the assumption that human babies have that innate knowledge, citing the rest of the animal kingdom as your proof.

    Please go and look at a human 6 week old and then look at almost any other 6 week old mammal. For example a 6 week kitten can run, pounce, chew and clean for themselves. A 6 week human can barely move. Even as they age, they have little in the way of “built-in” movement or communication skill.

    Much of this is down to the fact we’re not wired up the same as the rest of the animal world. Our brains are far more complex and as such, far more has to develop out and be learned as we age.

    To further complicate things, once we hit 1 year old and start to communicate, there’s almost no remaining inborn survival instinct. A social, conscious mind takes over and that is what begins to make the big life decisions. This is the same conscious brain that is learning.

    If you’ve continued to breast feed past this point you’re conditioning your child in an exactly Pavlovian way: boob = food. When you get to this stage, you’re not waiting for your child to naturally drop off, you’re waiting for their conscious to decide they don’t want food any more. Think about that for a minute. It’s a habit you eventually have to help them kick.

    Your baby is not a know-it-all-already monkey. They’re a very blank slate that you can do real damage to if you expect unreasonable things from.

    • says

      I have to admit I don’t really understand your points. Yes, a six-week old kitten can do all these things, but humans can’t – even more reason to keep them on the boob. I would completely disagree that we have no built-in instinct at a year though – we continue to have instincts our entire life. As to your argument that it’s Pavlovian conditioning, I again disagree. A) No one is saying you exclusively breastfeed them for years until they stop so they certainly do have other food sources, and B) Most toddlers view the boob as comfort as well. The idea that something we do naturally and for myriad reasons is seen by you as “habit” to be broken suggests you don’t fully understand the history or cultural variations in breastfeeding. As I said in the original, historically and cross-culturally, full-term breastfeeding is actually quite normal and we thrived as a society for it.

    • Tine Brok says

      Boob DOES equal food for babies! That’s how we’ve managed to survive for this long as a species. What a strangely illogical and uniformed reply, Anonymous Coward. Newborns are ANYTHING BUT a blank slate. Have you ever watched a normally born baby (sans pain relief drugs which can impair these abilities in newborns) crawl up his mother’s belly and self attach? What an offensive suggestion, that we are all simply products of pavlovian conditioning! As a psychology teacher, I can tell you that even behaviourist psyches would no longer contend that we are all ‘nurture’ and no ‘nature’. If your assertion was correct, then no child would wean, ever. My daughter self weaned at 3. My friends’ children (all excesively great parents) weaned themselves between 3 and 4, although some wean later, some earlier. Science and tradition show us that the health benefits of breastfeeding are ‘dose related’ – ie the longer you feed for (YEARS, NOT MONTHS) the greater the benefits. And the tooth thing… some babes are born with a tooth, my son got his first two at 3 months. What, offer a steak then, because now he can chew??

      • Just me says

        Just for grins let’s talk about when animals wean. they do it when their mother says so not on their own. I have seen an the farm, cats stop their young from feeding, certainly cows stop their young from doing it and other stock as well. they don’t leave it up to the young to decide when is best, they act like real parents and make the decision for them.

        • says

          In many of those cases it’s because mom is pregnant again. And not all animals do this; however, other primates do. Let’s also be clear that being a “real parent” is about making decisions for your child that the child can’t make or that will harm the child, not making ALL decisions for your child.

    • Elle says

      Anthropological analysis indicates that a human child only reaches the weaning maturity displayed by other mammals at the age of four years, i.e., a six-week-old kitten is the equivalent of a four-YEAR-old human. This comparison is based on various factors, such as tooth-development, brain maturity, and independence and relative survival skills.

    • says

      Anonymous Coward, I’m not sure how it is that you feel that because human infants are more dependent at a young age than other mammals that they should be weaned sooner, or that a one year old is being “trained” to accept the breast because they are no longer going on survival instinct. How is it that if they aren’t going on instinct that they can’t have needs met by breastfeeding? I just don’t get the leap of logic there. If you look at the higher primates, most of them breastfeed until they begin to get their permanent molars, which in humans is around 6 or 7 generally. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to compare mammals who are more closely related to humans than mammals such as cats?

  10. Erinn says

    First I would like to say THANK YOU..! Your rebuttal was perfect! I cannot believe that this Stoppard woman was allowed to publish such trash. Breastfeeding mothers encounter so many obstacles already with lack of support from family/friends, doctors/health professionals with incorrect information, and the way the media portrays breastfeeding in general. Now I fear that many young women, some of who are still deciding whether or not to breastfeed their babies and/or for how long, will take this woman’s advice as legitimate. How awful and dangerous to the health of these babies and their mothers. This Stoppard woman needs to be, for lack of a better word, STOPPED! Shame on you Dr. Miriam Stoppard! To the wonderful woman who took the time to respond to Stoppard’s garbage… JOB WELL DONE! :D

  11. Leeann says

    You know she is paid by Nestle? That makes her article even worse! And as for early weaning being of economic benefit- bf is free! So keeping it exclusive to 6 months would be cheaper! And blw means baby eats what you do so no wasteful jars or special food! I put in a comlpaint to the press complaints. =D

  12. lcd2 says

    This may seem naïve of me but I really don’t see the correlation between starting solids and stopping breastfeeding. Both my children showed interest is solids at different times so that’s when I starting giving them food. That had zero impact on whether or not I continued breastfeeding them. If you stop nursing you would have to give a bottle. The original article is ludicrous!

  13. Bex says

    Thank you so much for this reply.. you have said almost everything I wanted to say but a whole heap better.
    Can I add a couple of things, straight from her own website?

    Her opening line.. “I have always aimed to give people the confidence to follow their instincts” I don’t think I saw this ideology once in your article Miriam… Instead you berated those who subscribe to a more instinctual method of child rearing with your constant snide remarks about EXTREME parenting.. (Which by the way, as a “health professional” looked anything but professional)

    Number two, also from her own website…” After seven years practising medicine and specialising in dermatology she entered the pharmaceutical industry eventually holding the posts of Research Director and Managing Director.” … When it comes to medical advice about my child I think I’ll stick with the advice of my paediatrician, rather than a dermatologist who works in pharmaceuticals, thanks all the same… I’m not saying you don’t have a lot of experience in the field of child-rearing advice, or in dermatology/ pharmaceuticals- but it doesn’t sound as if your experience as a “child rearing expert” is necessarily related to your medical degree- and I’m not sure I agree with you using your MD title as part of your marketing campaign.

    Number 3, “The name Miriam Stoppard stands for accessible, practical, caring, authoritative, credible, and reassuring advice. I other words “the thinking has been done for you!” ™”
    Just as well you’re doing the thinking Dr Stoppard, because when we engage our own brains when reading this article we find it full of holes and statements carefully edited to suit your agenda- (whatever that is)

    Are you sure this was the same woman writing this article???
    Thanks for letting me have this rant.

  14. Irena says

    I live in third world. Moms here stopped early or not breastfeeding because of ignorance and laziness, not economic reasons. I am actually confused. What economic reason does she meant? If you could get free, readily available breast milk vs. Buying formula in cans. Isn’t it more economically friendly to breastfeed?

  15. Jespren says

    The tooth arguement always annoys me to no end. They are called “milk teeth” for a reason! Logically it would be the ruption of adult teeth and the LOSS of the milk teeth that would physiologically signal the time to wean off breastmilk, you know, that transition that tends to happen between 4-6 right around the historical norm for full term breastfeeding?? And even if you think the eruption of milk teeth means they should quit the milk, wouldn’t it be a full (or at least mostly full) set of teeth not just the 1st one? 1 tooth isn’t much help. And of course then there are the newborns born with teeth and, those like my first child, who get their first tooth extremely young. My 1st was barely into his 3rd month when he got his first tooth in. Or, inversely, what about those kids who get them very late? One of my friends kids didn’t get their first tooth until nearly 12 months, would she recommend ebf until 11 1/2 months for that kid but only 3 months for mine? Yeah…makes perfect sense.

  16. jmdm says

    What a great read. Sadly there are so many clueless twits out there and the sad thing is that the less informed are at risk as they believe them. I was told once by a local Dr that BF was uncivilised and for the poor as the more educated of us used formula. Thank you, a great piece. j

  17. Nerolie says

    My DD was born with two bottom teeth. Was I supposed to not feed her?? How ridiculous that article was. Made my blood boil just reading it!
    Great response :)

    • Sarah L says

      Yup. You obviously should have mixed up some rice cereal for her right there in the recovery room. What an extreme parent you are. ;)

  18. Sarah L says

    Yeah, I bought the whole “Babies should stop breastfeeding when they get teeth” idea, too… then I actually had a child. Like the rest of my parenting ideas that were completely separated from any knowledge, experience, or reality, I let that one go pretty quickly. It was a good thing, too, since my first baby started getting teeth at 3-1/2 months old.

  19. rebekah says

    my god i seriously wonder if these ‘experts’ write such rubbish delibrately to sound stupid and watch us responding with ‘WTF!!??’
    arent experts ment to be educated??
    oh and FYI, dr.stoppard, i didnt get teeth till i was TWO YEARS OLD and my daughter didnt get her first tooth till she 15MONTHS, what does your ‘first tooth’ weaning thoery make of that?????

  20. Angela says

    Great response to this article! I am also an advocate of breastfeeding on demand into toddlerhood. However, I need to respond to your one comment that no other mammals decide when to wean their offspring. I grew up on a farm and still farm, and have spent a lot of time observing animal behaviour, both in our domestic animals and in the wild animals surrounding where we live. I have to say that on many occasions I have seen a mother animal push her older offspring away from nursing in preparation for the birth of her new offspring that she is pregnant with. For example, with our beef cattle we generally wean (separate) the cows and calves when the calves are about 7 months old. If you observe wild ruminants (for a non-domestic comparison) you will see that although they wean their offspring later, they do begin to push their offspring away as the birth of the next year’s calf approaches.

    • says

      Yes, thank you! I had forgotten about the birth of new animals leading to forced weaning – a very common event too. My bad :)

  21. Cody Landis says

    This was an awesome rebuttal. I especially like the comment about teeth. My nine month old still doesn’t have any teeth, does that mean she thinks he doesn’t need/want solids? I must have been doing things wrong for the last three months.
    I’m sorry but that dr is an idiot. She really shouldn’t publish such garbage.

  22. Genevieve says

    Thanks for this great rebuttal! I can’t believe someone would write that rubbish in this day and age. There are so many benefits to breastfeeding – but this lady is just crazy. And after reading in the comments that she is paid by Nestle? Well, now it makes sense! Clearly she has an agenda that doesn’t include what’s best for baby.

  23. Sarah says

    I’m so glad that I was recommended to EBF until 6 months, and have had “extended” BF modeled by moms around me. Out of curiosity — is it known what the average age and age range of BF cessation is when moms and babes are not subjected to external pressures to stop?

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