Breast is best many studies say – but the question is, for how long?
One UK mother feels that the expert answer should come from the child. Initially expecting to breastfeed her daughter Belle for six months to a year, she quickly changed her mind once that time came. Now, six years later, this mum feels it's perfectly normal and the best decision she ever made.
I bet you're wondering: What type of mother is this? Well, according to the Britain-based Daily Mirror, Denise Sumpter, 44, is a proud mother of two and a Ph.D. student of ancient science. Her 18-month-old son, Beau is also breastfed, and sometimes Belle will feed alongside him.
A personal choice? Yes, but that didn't stop this story from going viral as many were either proud or outraged. In the Mirror, a lactation consultant named Luci Lishman calls the mother "an inspiration," adding, "It's a personal choice that isn't for everybody." The online publication offered an opposing view from retired midwife and breastfeeding counselor Clare Byam-Cook, who says "it isn't necessary or normal."
The mother attributes Belle's intelligence, talents and confidence to her breast milk and insists these benefits are why she continues. However, some commenters on Yahoo! Parenting feel there will be long-term psychological damage. Luke comments, "Forget about the 'health benefits,' this mom is throwing her kids to the wolves.
" … as if it's not hard enough for kids in this social media driven age," Luke adds, "they're going to have to deal with this? How dare she do that to them!"
Others agree that breast milk is beneficial, but disagree with the child using the breast to self soothe. Amy, another Yahoo commenter, feels Belle would benefit more if mom "just pumped the milk and gave it to her in a big girl glass," adding, "I think breast feeding for a few years is great but this does seem excessive."
As for Sumpter, she defends her decision, keeping the focus on her children. In the Mirror, commenters like Gill agree: "If the mother is clear about the issues and has faced whether it is hers or her child's needs being met … then I don't think it is anybody else's business!"
So let's think about this for a moment. At 6, many children are losing their first tooth, attending their first dance recital or playing with their best friend. When I was 6, I remember finally having my training wheels removed. However, this child's comforting memory in years to come will be breastfeeding. Startling or soothing? We will leave that to the expert: the child.
Image courtesy of Daily Mirror