A mother who still breastfeeds her five-year-old son and bathes naked with him says she will continue to do so because she wants to break down stigma and show that it’s totally “normal”.
Stay-at-home mum Amy Hardcastle, from Lancashire, says it’s easier to nurse older kids because you can tell them when you feel sore.
When her son Max was first born in July 2013, Amy didn’t feel comfortable breastfeeding him but she soon grew confident. The 27-year-old has been giving her son solid food alongside her milk since he was six months old. But, after learning about the benefits of mum’s milk, Amy said she felt no need to wean him off completely.
We almost quit breastfeeding at four weeks old because of latching problems, but someone helped me out just in time. I have breastfed Max for five years, and he breastfeeds now a few times a week, but neither of us have decided to stop nursing yet.
I try to explain that just because something isn’t the cultural norm here, it doesn’t make it wrong. Breastfeeding makes complete sense since my body continues to produce milk to sustain and nourish my child.
Once you’ve cracked breastfeeding it’s just about going for as long as it works for both of you. When he was younger I used to breastfeed in public – but it’s always at home now.
I’ll keep going until he wants to stop. I don’t have a problem continuing until he’s fully done. I have friends who were also happy to continue to carry on until the child weaned and they stopped much younger because all children are different.
I don’t give my son breast milk over food, if he’s hungry then he eats and if he wants to nurse then he does so. Breast milk never stops being good for you and it’s mostly about comfort and closeness.
It actually gets easier to breastfeed as they grow older you don’t have to breastfeed every two hours. You can also talk about it with them, I can let him know if my breasts are feeling sore or if I’m feeling touched out and need to say no or ask him to wait until later.
Amy wants to normalise breastfeeding older kids, and openly posts pics on Instagram, though some reactions have been negative.
From time to time I get something nasty or aggressive come through, but I just don’t think about it too much and block it out. I want to normalise these things that people aren’t used to seeing and showing people that there are other ways to do things.
Solidarity for any mums who still nurse their toddlers and children should be validated. As long as we are both OK with it then there’s nothing wrong with us continuing to do so.