A mother-of-four has shared how she breastfed her youngest daughter until she was nine.
Sharon Spink, from Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire says the extended nursing has cemented a lifelong bond between them and her daughter has enjoyed good health because of the milk’s nutrients.
The schoolgirl decided to stop taking her mother’s milk eight weeks ago, a decision that was supported by Sharon, reports Daily Mail.
The mother says the road hasn’t always been easy, with some people branding her extended breastfeeding as child abuse.
Sharon, 50, says she wants to break down the stigma around breastfeeding older children – believing there are many mums out there doing it.
‘When I came to have Charlotte, I had decided on natural term weaning.
‘It’s nice for the child to be in control of when they want to wean, rather than forcing the issue.
‘She naturally self-weaned earlier this year. It was a gradual process and her choice.
‘She was feeding about once a month if she wasn’t feeling great or was feeling a bit run down, and was going longer and longer without feeding.
‘Now she hasn’t done it for about two months. She told me she would stop when she was 10 which will be in April next year but it seems to have come to a natural end earlier, although I would have allowed her to continue for as long as wants to.
‘As she’s been reducing anyway I don’t feel sad about it. If she would have stopped suddenly I think I would have missed it, but it’s just nice that it’s come to a natural end.
‘It’s how I envisaged it would end. It was her choice and was done in a very gradual way.
‘We have such a close bond and I’m convinced it’s because of breastfeeding her for so long.
‘It cemented our bond and I don’t think that will change now it’s stopped. I think we’re closer because of doing it. I haven’t had any pangs since she stopped and she still comes for a cuddle.
‘With Charlotte it was about the security. Children find a lot of comfort in the breast, and the older they get the more it becomes about comfort rather than nutrition.’
Sharon says she stopped feeding in public when Charlotte was about four or five.
‘Charlotte doesn’t talk about it at school. It’s not something that would come up in conversation with schoolmates.
‘The reaction I get from within the breastfeeding community is one of support. There were a lot of positive comments.
‘Obviously there have been the negatives – usually from typical keyboard warriors who post their opinion.
‘I have been called every name under the sun. I’ve been told it’s child abuse, I’ve been called a paedophile and told it’s wrong and that I’m a freak.
‘The first time it upset me because I wasn’t used to it but now it’s water off a duck’s back.
‘I’m sure it’s more common that people think but mums are too scared to talk about it and are scared of the backlash from people that don’t understand that it’s normal.
‘I feel like my body is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. It’s what breasts are for. We have to support mums. It’s about choice.’
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