A mom of four has finally stopped breastfeeding her daughter after the 9-year-old weaned on her own a few weeks ago. The mother said breastfeeding has cemented a strong bond between her and the girl.
Sharon Spink, a mother of four from Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, first came into the spotlight four years ago after revealing she was still breastfeeding then 5-year-old Charlotte.
The woman is an advocate of natural term weaning, meaning, she thinks children should be the ones deciding stop feeding on their mom’s milk. After almost a decade, Charlotte has finally detached completely, a decision that Sharon supported even though she admitted she would miss breastfeeding.
Spink claims her daughter is always healthy thanks to the beneficial properties of her milk and admitted that Charlotte had been breastfeeding mostly for comfort in the last months.
“It was a gradual process and her choice,” she said. “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.”
Despite being criticized for her actions and even being accused of child abuse for breastfeeding her daughter, Sharon still believes she did right in letting Charlotte take the initiative to wean. She also states that she wants to break the stigma around breastfeeding older children.
She told Metro UK:
“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. We have such a close bond, and I’m convinced it’s because of breastfeeding her for so long.”
The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding babies up to the sixth month and then start introducing complementary foods, along with breastfeeding if necessary, up to two years or beyond.
Sharon qualified as a breastfeeding counselor last year, and she explained that because she couldn’t breastfeed her three other children properly, she was determined to make it work for little Charlotte.
“My initial goal was to get past the six months mark then it became 12 months than two years which is the WHO minimum recommendation. After that it was seeing how far she wanted to go,” she told Daily Mail, and continued:
“There were times when I wanted to give up especially in the early days of feeding, but you think I'm doing this for my child. This is what she wants, and I'll carry on because I know it's helping her. By four and a half Charlotte was sleeping through the night, but she'd still come into the bed and have a feed.”
Sharon hopes her story can help other moms out there understand that is normal for their child to breastfeed past the two-year-old, at some point they will naturally wean on their own.
“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.”
Charlotte said she never talked about it at school, and her father was understanding of the situation.