I am often asked, “How long should I breastfeed my baby?” My standard answer is “As long as both of you desire!” But sometimes parents are looking for more details about what is normal and what is the expected age of weaning. I usually quote from one of the leading experts on this topic, Dr. Katherine Dettwyler. Dr. Dettwyler is an Anthropologist who, among other things, studies breastfeeding from an anthropological perspective. Her research has been a gift to our profession and to mothers and babies all over the world.
Since I am asked this question so frequently, I decided to write a post about the subject. And since I see no need to re-invent the wheel, I asked Dr. Dettwyler for her permission to post this excerpt from her paper, “A Natural Age of Weaning.” Thank you, Dr. Dettwyler, for your gracious permission to reprint a portion of your paper here: Continue reading