How long a parent decides to breast feed is a personal decision that is reliant on both physiologic, lifestyle, and cultural reasons. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), breast milk alone is sufficient to sustain growth and development for the first six months of life.
The AAP also recommends nursing until the baby is at least one year and to continue as long as it is beneficial to both mother and baby.
Going back to work, ability to pump while on the job and personal preference all factor into the decision making process of how long to breastfeed. Most pediatricians advise that solids be introduced after six months of age, as most babies are ready to handle the motor component of swallowing food. Waiting until this age has also been shown to reduce the risk of obesity in the future.