Sensitive Period For Weaning (5 To 6 Months)

Sensitive period for weaning – If the introduction of solids is done at this age the interest is captured and can later on prevent problems with feeding. Children are best breast fed until at least a year and supplemented with solids. At times by 10-12 months the child may not want breast milk, one must learn to follow the lead of the child. Prevention of feeding problems is essential when children get to the toddler phase and may often get picky with their food. There is ideally a good variety and positive experience with food for the child.


Sensitive Period for Order (age 18 months to 2 years)
Sensitive Period for Language (birth to 6 years)
Sensitive Period for Movement (birth to 4 years)
Sensitive Period for Refinement of the Senses (birth to 5 years)
Sensitive Period for Weaning (5 to 6 months)
Sensitive Period for Numbers (4 to 5.5 years)
Sensitive Period for Manners and Courtesies (2 to 6 years)

8 Comments on Sensitive Period For Weaning (5 To 6 Months)

  1. I believe the information provided is just a bit outdated. Cows milk should not be given in place of mothers milk. It’s is more of an allergen and lacks nutrition found in mothers milk. That was the routine suggestion and now after more research we have learned this is not ideal. Unfortunately dr Montessori isn’t here to change her mind – not saying she would. Also, I disagree that children cannot be independent while being dependent on mothers milk. They form a secure attachment and they get a ton of good nutrition and anti bodies to fight off sickness. There are many indigenous people who practice extended nursing and their children are not dependent people who cannot find their independence. Nursing has long been attacked in our culture and it needs to stop. For the health of our children and our mothers. I wanted to add – stopping nursing to avoid struggling with a 2yo child to break ‘routine’ is very sad to me. In my personal experience my child weaned on their own at 2y4m with no pressure from me. In fact research suggests most children will wean around 2.5yo. Again, just new information after more research has been done. Our old beliefs need to be reconsidered in light of new research.

  2. I agree that it would be appropriate to find a time that is mutually agreeable for mother and child to “end” breastfeeding, but a child of two typically has a routine in place that they follow. Toddlers thrive on routines, so I would imagine it would be very difficult for a two-year-old child to suddenly decide that it is time to stop a part of their daily routine- especially one as special as breastfeeding.

    I feel that breast milk does have amazing properties for a young child (primarily the omega 3 to omega 6 ratio that is not found in many solid foods), and perhaps, a child should be given breast milk in a glass if the mother feels the child needs it nutritionally to balance out their diet, but I am certain that a child would not be happy about a change to a schedule that is so intimate as breastfeeding at the age of two.

    This is why I feel it is best to follow the WHO guidelines and Montessori Method, which suggests weaning (or providing solid foods for texture and nutrition at around six months while slowly diminishing breast milk as the solitary food) until about age 1 (give or take). By that time, most fruits and vegetables (and some animal protein) can be successfully digested by the child.

    Also, Ruth, I would love to see those studies you quoted so that I may further my own research.


  3. i have breast fed my son for only 2 months and then started to feed him via feeding bottle, my problem is that he is now 26 months old and he did not want to stop using it. He may drink anything in a glass ; juice, water etc but he never want to drink milk except in his old feeding bottle.
    What can i do to stop this habit ?

  4. I also am a bit disappointed in this answer
    “Children do not need the nutrition that breast milk may be providing and all their nutritional needs should be provided by normal everyday food. There is no more nutritional value in breastfeeding for the child that age.”

    Actually this is not true. A child’s immune system is not fully developed until the age of 6 or 7. Until then a breastfed child’s immunity will be boosted by the antibodies present in mother’s milk. Of course as the previous poster said you can’t force a child to breastfeed, and a lot of children will have weaned naturally by the age of 5 or 6, but to say that those who continue to breastfeed get no benefit from it is entirely false.
    Also to imply that they are somehow emotionally stunted and lacking in independence is also untrue. I know several children who didn’t wean until 5 or 6 and all were well adjusted, independent, happy children.

  5. I love this site, but I am disappointed in this answer.
    ” A child breastfeeding at 5 yrs is the mothers choice”
    I personally have never seen a child this age breastfeeding because its mother wanted it to, you cannot force a child to breastfeed.
    The World Health Organization recommends feeding up to 2 yrs of age and there after until is mutually agreeable between mom and child.
    A lot of studies have been done on this issue and current research says the longer a child is attached to its primary caregiver the more independent they will be.

  6. Montessori did talk about breastfeeding children. Her opinion is that children be breast fed until 12 months and transferred to cow’s milk at about that time too as the child’s digestive system will be developed by then. It of course depends on each child but that is a fair guideline age. World Health Organization advises that children be exclusively breast fed until 6 months of age for purposes of health and the developing immune system.

    A child who breast feed until 5 years old is the mother’s choice. Children do not need the nutrition that breast milk may be providing and all their nutritional needs should be provided by normal everyday food. There is no more nutritional value in breastfeeding for the child that age.

    It cannot be said that breastfeeding until 5 years of age can be nutritionally detrimental to them but can emotionally be since it can be impeding in the development of the child’s growing independence. A mother need not be breastfeeding in order to have that same sort of closeness or special attachment that they have with their baby. As the child gets older there are more age appropriate activities and hugs and kisses from parents will always be special. The direct contact that happens at this age is now solely for the pure enjoyment of direct contact without any need for any nourishment. The relationship changes from dependency to enjoying each other’s company and closeness. The child learns about being their own person within the company of the mother.

    There is an appropriate time for everything. To stop breastfeeding is a natural way for detachment and independence to develop for the child if given the opportunity at the right time that it naturally occurs.

  7. “Children are best breast fed until at least a year…”
    At what age should we stop breast fed? e.g. some 5 years old children still breast fed. Is that still okay? Or is it more harmful to them? Did Montessori mention anything about this?

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