Nothing on this wonderful green earth gives me greater joy than breastfeeding my two-year-old son, Quinn. This special bond is almost indescribable, and I plan on breastfeeding for as long as is acceptable, but I do not wish to be one of “those moms” who keeps her child on the breast for too long. So, my question to you is twofold: What is the average age at which a mother typically stops breastfeeding? And what are some signs that it’s time to move on to the bottle?
– Signed, “Saddened”
Thank you for this timely query, as you have no doubt been keeping abreast (BOO-YAH!) of this hot debate, and i’m relieved to hear that you do not wish to turn into one of those freaky mother earth ladies who forgoes convention for the sake of participating in some crunchy weirdness gleaned from articles in communist magazines such as The Utne Reader or Mother Jones. And I cannot say with any amount of accuracy when to pull junior from your breast, but I can draw on my skills as a childless male with no nephews, nieces, or acquaintances under the age of thirty to give you my thoughts. Here goes:
If little Quinn starts executing “The Motorboat” between your breasts, it’s time to stop. The motorboat sounds like this: “BLUBLUBLUBLUBLUBLUB…” If this description fails to spell out this fun activity for you sufficiently, try googling “breast motorboat.” I’m willing to bet that an image or two (million) pops up for you.
If he is capable of unhooking your bra by himself in under 3 seconds, it’s time to stop.
If he starts requesting chocolate chip cookies prior to breastfeeding, it’s time to stop.
If he says things to your husband like “in your face!” or simply flips him the bird before unbuttoning your blouse, in his mind he has entered into a competition…and it’s time to stop.
And lastly, if the wee lad happens to see some risque female images on a poster or on television, and then proceeds to give you the look that says “It’s time,” well then, it IS time. Time to flip the lights on and off and say, in no uncertain terms, “last call!”