Mom accused of child abuse for breastfeeding her child for 9 years
"I have been called every name under the sun," Sharon Spink said. But she believes her practice created a lifelong bond between her and her daughter.
Breastfeeding until the age of nine seems to be something that is unheard of. However, Sharon believes other women do it and just don't say anything. According to the Daily Mail, she wants to remove the stigma surrounding breastfeeding of older children.
After Sharon had trouble breastfeeding her three children, she decided to try harder with her daughter Charlotte. She "decided on natural term weaning." Charlotte has not breastfed for two months now.
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"It's nice for the child to be in control of when they want to wean, rather than forcing the issue."
The 50-year-old-mother resides at Sherburn-in-Elmet in North Yorkshire. She explained how her daughter gradually refrained from what they call "mummy milk."
"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."
"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."
Sharon said she is not sad, but would have missed doing it if her daughter had stopped suddenly. She stated, "it's just nice that it's come to a natural end."
According to Sharon, there was no talk before Charlotte stopped:
"We haven’t had a discussion about her not doing it anymore. I just hope when she’s older she’ll remember that feeling of comfort and security it gave her rather than it being about feeding."
The mother attributed Charlotte's good health to her extended breastfeeding practice. But online, she received a lot of backlash.
"I have been called every name under the sun. I've been told it's child abuse, I've been called a pedophile and told it's wrong and that I'm a freak."
She doesn't let it deter her and has talked to her daughter about it.
"The first time it upset me because I wasn't used to it but now it's water off a duck's back."
Sharon receives support from her family and is strong in her stance. She also pointed out that in other countries older children are breastfed at later stages as well.
She is now a qualified breastfeeding consultant and advocates for the practice.
Meanwhile, the National Health Service recommends breast milk exclusively for children less than six months. They encourage mothers to continue the practice afterward alongside solid food.
No specific age is given to stop. But most mothers stop after a while in order to take care of other responsibilities.
One international study found that the UK has some of the lowest rates of breastfeeding worldwide.
In the United States, breastfeeding recently became legal to perform in public nationwide. The bill in Idaho, however, is still unclear as to the extent that women may or may not need to cover up.
Meanwhile, mothers continue to show varying extents as to how, when, and up till what time they will breastfeed their child.
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