A mum who breastfed her youngest daughter until she was nine has spoken out in defence of ‘natural weaning’, saying she would have done it for longer if her child wanted to.
Sharon Spink explained her decision to keep Charlotte ‘on the boob’ beyond the recommended weaning age was because she feels it’s “completely normal”.
“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,” the mum-of-four said.
“I would have allowed her to continue for as long as wants to.”
The decision meant Charlotte didn’t stop breastfeeding until just two months ago, something the 50-year-old believes is the reason they share an incredible bond.
“We have such a close bond and I’m convinced it’s because of breastfeeding her for so long,” Sharon said.
“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.”
Negative responses to ‘mummy milk’
However, her unconventional parenting choice has been met by backlash from others — with some suggesting the behaviour is ‘child abuse’.
“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,” she explained.
“The first time it upset me because I wasn’t used to it but now it’s water off a duck’s back. Charlotte knows it’s not true.”
Sharon said that while Charlotte — who refers to breast milk as “Mummy’s milk” — has only just stopped feeding, she didn’t talk about it at a school.
They also stopped feeding in public when she was five because of negative comments, but used to do it everywhere until that point, including at the hairdressers, the supermarket and even at church.
Becoming a breastfeeding advocate
Now Sharon — who struggled to breastfeed her first three kids — has decided to share her ’empowering’ message after recently qualifying as a breastfeeding counsellor.
“I feel like my body is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. It’s what breasts are for,” she said. ““We have to support mums. It’s about choice.”
Australia’s infant feeding guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding of infants to around six months of age when solid foods are introduced .
Continued breastfeeding until the age of 12 months and beyond is recommended if both mother and infant wish, according to The Department of Health.
While not everyone is a fan of the long-term breastfeeding, a recent study showed women who do it earn more money than those who don’t.
Additional reporting by Caters News.
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