Many women plan to stop breastfeeding at six months and move on to bottles. However, as your baby grows, you will get more expert at breastfeeding and experience brings a relaxed attitude. You may find to your surprise that you want to continue for another six months: "Now I've got this far, I might as well carry on for a year, rather than use formula and bottles and have to sterilise for six months."
As NCT breastfeeding counsellor, Gemma says: "If I could give a mother something, it would be confidence - the confidence to relax, and confidence to know that she really is the person who knows what is best for her baby."
Sandra is sure that breastfeeding her baby has made all the difference to their relationship: "I dreaded the birth of my third baby. I was so unhappy at the prospect of having another baby to care for. The unfolding of my love for her was inextricably bound to our breastfeeding together. Through breastfeeding, my love for her grew; by breastfeeding I supplied all her needs myself. I grew so proud of myself and my lovely new baby, whom I subsequently breastfed for 11 months."
At this stage, your baby can start using a beaker with a spout for mid-day drinks of juice or water, and you won't need to worry about getting him or her used to a bottle after the breast.
"I'm a bit of a breastfeeding junkie. At the end of a long day (and some days are very long!) she lies soothed in my arms as she strokes my skin, her eyes close and she becomes totally satisfied and peaceful. I stroke her brow and her soft, chubby cheeks and I think I know why this symbiotic relationship is the ultimate nurturing experience."