How Long Does The Average Mom Breastfeed (U.S. & WORLDWIDE)?

Published on: November 3, 2023
Last Updated: November 3, 2023

How Long Does The Average Mom Breastfeed (U.S. & WORLDWIDE)?

Published on: November 3, 2023
Last Updated: November 3, 2023

Breastfeeding is doubtlessly the healthiest and the most nourishing food for newborns. Naturally, babies need their mommies more than anyone else in the world.

Their milk is the only food they want and need to stay healthy and protected. When a baby gets older, it is ready to try adult foods to get all the required nutrients.

How long does the average mother breastfeed? When is it time to stop?

At What Age Does A Kid Need Breast Milk Most of All?

According to the report of pediatricians, newborns need breast milk till six months old. Mother’s milk is full of vitamins, minerals, fats, carbs, and proteins.

Moreover, it has antibodies to many viruses and infections a baby can face. Infant formulas from Organics Best have similar ingredients to breastmilk, but it doesn’t contain those antibodies. 

Regarding the investigation by the World Health Organization, the best option is to breastfeed until a kid is two years old.

However, babies benefit from even longer breastfeeding due to the comfort it provides a kid with.

The need for breastfeeding depends on the child. Some kids manifest interest in adult foods earlier, while others cannot refuse night feeding and breast-sucking habits up to three-four years old.  

However, all experts agree that breast milk is the only food an infant needs for up to six months.

Parents should not add water, tea, or any other beverage and mashed vegetables and fruit at that period.

If a baby stays hungry after meals, one should consider an organic baby formula because it:

  • is suitable for a baby’s vulnerable digestive system
  • lets a baby stay full longer
  • doesn’t contain sugar, salt, and artificial taste enhancers
  • lacks antibiotics, chemicals, and other harmful substances
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When Should A Mother Start Breastfeeding?

Children may feel fine without food several hours after birth, but all doctors put a child on a mother’s breast to let a baby adapt to a new environment.

It is essential to provide skin-to-skin contact to stimulate a baby’s desire to eat breast milk. 

The first milk is usually thick, fatty, and nutritious, so a baby might find it hard to get.

While staying in a hospital, mothers should consult a lactation and breastfeeding specialist to learn how to feed a baby correctly to avoid lactostasis and dehydration in a newborn.

How Long Do Mothers in Different Countries Breastfeed?

The breastfeeding period of mothers worldwide depends on many reasons. Below you can find statistics about the United States, Australia, and some European countries to see the difference.

Breastfeeding Period In The US

85% of babies were breastfed during their first month of their life in 2019, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

55% of them remained breastfed and got other food when they were six months old, and only 35% of those babies had breast milk till 12 months old.

In the same year, 62% of mothers exclusively breastfed their babies, and only 25% of them managed to keep exclusive breastfeeding until their babies were 6 months old. 

It means mothers were forced to give up breastfeeding due to life circumstances. The most common reasons were the following.

  • Poor financial support from the state, so mothers had to go back to work to make their living.
  • Medical leave laws didn’t let them expand the breastfeeding period. Some organizations refused to pay for the maternity leave period, which made 15% of women refuse to breastfeed soon after childbirth.
  • Mothers got sick and gave up breastfeeding. Later, they could go on feeding babies when the milk was out of harmful drugs, but medical specialists didn’t recommend pumping to save their breastfeeding abilities. 
  • Evidence-based maternity care practices were low quality, so mothers couldn’t learn how to breastfeed to have enough milk for the baby’s needs.

Today, the government tries to encourage breastfeeding by improving programs that failed in 2019, leading to a catastrophic baby formula shortage during the pandemic.

Breastfeeding In Germany

It’s hard to find a woman that breastfeeds after a baby is 6 months. Most moms breastfeed during the first six to nine months after labor, and only 9% of babies are breastfed till they are 12 months.

Most clinics agitate baby formula, so mothers feel pressure and prefer baby formula to breastfeeding.

German specialists state that a mother’s breast milk loses nutrients after 12 months of breastfeeding, so there’s no need to continue it.

Moreover, maternity leave usually lasts only for 12 months, including pre and after-labor periods.

Breastfeeding In Sweden

Swedish people feel more positive about breastfeeding thanks to various state programs.

Their maternity leave lasts 470 days when a mother receives 80% of her salary and financial support from the state.

However, they practice the early introduction of adult food and support a mother’s desire to stop breastfeeding when a baby gets its first teeth.

Breastfeeding Periods In Other European Countries 

In Britain, only 45% of women breastfeed longer than 2 months because of the government’s requirement to return to work.

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During the first 2 months, they get 90% of their salary. Then, the sum gets smaller, and parents cannot provide a baby with everything required.

In France and Greece, breastfeeding is not popular, so organic baby formulas are highly needed there.

In Portugal, the situation is better, but not that much. The maternity leave is only 4 months, where 3 months are for mothers and 1 is for a father, if he wants or there is such a necessity. 

Breastfeeding In Australia

Australia is 100% positive about breastfeeding, but their statistics resemble the US ones.

83% of newborns ate breast milk from their first days, and 56% went on getting it at the age of 6 months in 2022. 30% of children stayed breastfed till 12 months old. 

At the hospital, doctors teach moms how to hold an infant and breastfeed to have good milk flow and avoid lactostasis.

The government provides solid financial support and gives up to 18 months of paid maternity leave.

Fathers can support their wives and get a paid vacation for three months to help them handle duties and improve their physical and mental health

What makes mothers give up breastfeeding early in Australia? These are 4 main reasons:

  • it’s inconvenient because of their lifestyles
  • it’s a family tradition to feed with baby formula
  • moms are not ready to refuse alcohol and smoking
  • mothers have to take medicine incompatible with breastfeeding

What Are the Pros Of Breastfeeding For A Baby?

Breast milk is a perfect meal for a newborn because it contains everything a baby needs to thrive. Below you can find a list of preferences.

  1. It is a source of healthy fats. Moreover, it has the required amount of water to keep a baby hydrated and sugar to guarantee the glucose supply. 
  2. Breast milk is a perfect source of protein, which is significant for muscle development and healthy body mass. 
  3. It is perfect for digestion because it is “created,” specially for newborns.
  4. A mother’s breast milk has antibodies to different bacterial and viral infections. Consequently, a baby copes faster with diarrhea, ear infections, allergies, and respiratory diseases.
  5. According to statistics, breastfed babies seldom die from sudden infant death syndrome. Moreover, premature babies less frequently suffer from short-period and chronic diseases.
  6. Thanks to breastfeeding, babies get a wider palate for all their teeth, so they have fewer chances of getting orthodontic problems because of teeth that go over each other.
  7. Breast milk helps children overcome various diseases faster, and the death rate from pneumonia in such cases is rare. 

The Benefits Of Breastfeeding For Mothers

While breastfeeding, a mother’s organism produces oxytocin that gives the euphoria of love.

Exhausted mothers feel happy while feeding their babies because their hypothalamus releases the love hormone, which helps to control post-labor depression.

Besides, it stimulates the contraction of the uterus, preventing its after-labor bleeding.

Another benefit of breastfeeding is its dietary nature. Women who become overweight during pregnancy can faster lose those kilos than non-breastfeeding moms. 

According to clinical research, women who breastfed long had fewer cases of mammal, ovarian, cervical, and breast cancer.

They were less likely to suffer from osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart problems, excessive weight, and diabetes 2. 

Finally, breastfeeding is an emotional boundary between a mother and a child. Both desire to be with each other because they cannot exist separately because of the high need for a mother to give milk and a baby to eat it.

How To Stop Breastfeeding

Lactation experts don’t recommend giving up breastfeeding soon after childbirth.

Besides, there are recommendations on how to do that right for a baby and a mother to avoid physical and psychological problems.

Tips For A Mother

Lactostasis occurs when a baby cannot consume the whole portion of the produced milk, or a mother gives up breastfeeding abruptly.

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The best option is to reduce feedings gradually. Consequently, six-month-old babies are ready for less frequent breastfeeding because their stomach is ready to try adult food.

Mothers can progressively replace lunch or dinner breastfeeding with adult food, such as organic cereal or vegetable puree. 

Tips For A Baby

For most babies, the weaning process is quite painful and stressful. They don’t understand why their mommies don’t want to embrace and feed them anymore.

Moreover, the sucking process for babies works as a chill pill for adults. How should one wean a baby from breastfeeding?

First, one must be sure that a baby is ready to replace breast milk with baby formula or adult food. Otherwise, it will lack nutrients and suffer from different diseases.

Then, one should start with “deleting” daily breastfeeding and leave only night feeding if necessary.

Finally, night feeding must be stopped. If a baby feels too stressed, a father or another relative (a grandma, for example) can calm down the baby if possible.

Mothers can still smell like milk, so babies can get more anxious about the forbiddance. 

If there is no one to help, a  mother can play a trick and apply bitter creams and smelly lotions to distract a child from the desire to eat breast milk.

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Written by Allison Langstone

Allison produces content for a business SAAS but also contributes to EarthWeb frequently, using her knowledge of both business and technology to bring a unique angle to the site.