Mums will always have a different answer for the age they think is the best time to stop breastfeeding their children. Now, one mum has defended her decision to breastfeed her three-year-old son, after being called 'disgusting and selfish' by strangers.
Naomi Winfield, 26, from Birmingham has decided to breastfeed her son Rio until he starts school in September. Despite the cruel comments, Naomi believes that the method helps the pair to bond and has kept her son out of the hospital when he's refused to eat solid food.
The mum-of-one said: "I've had more bad comments than good comments. People have told their kids not to look and said its disgusting.
"A lot of people say he's too old and will be doing it forever. They say I'm selfish and doing it for me and I can't cope with the fact that my son is growing up.
Naomi discussed some of the uncomfortable comments and stares she and her son have received when she breastfeeds him in public. "One woman told her husband not to look at me and people say they don't want to see that," she said.
She also stressed that the decision of when to stop breastfeeding depends on the mum and explained her own reasons for carrying on. "It's not a choice to still be breastfeeding, it's just happened this way. If he's upset or needs calming down, it's comforting for him.
"There's been times where he's stopped eating and breastfeeding him has stopped him from going into hospital.
"A lot of mums don't choose extended breastfeeding, it just happens."
Naomi added: "Some mums will do it until their child is seven and that's fine, some just want to make it until six months and that's fine."
Naomi is speaking out to reassure other mums that extended breastfeeding is natural.
"We've had a few nice comments from mums who say they remember feeding their own and what a special time it was," she said.
"But I don't care what people think. I'm not confrontational but when it comes to my son, I'm strong. If Rio wants his milk, then he wants his milk, and that's that.
"The World Health Organisation (WHO) says weaning can start between two and seven so it's perfectly natural.
"In some countries, it's the norm for women to keep breastfeeding for as long as they can.
The mum also addressed the 'sexualisation of breasts', claiming that society cannot handle seeing breasts used for 'what they were meant for'. She explained: "Society sexualises breasts and can't handle seeing them being used what they were meant for.
"Breast milk is nutrition but also love and comfort and I know what I'm giving him is good for him. It's the most natural thing in the world.
"I'm going to have negative comments, I do just walking out of the door but as a mum, whatever you're doing is perfectly fine and be proud because breastfeeding isn't easy. It can be physically and mentally exhausting at times but it's so worth it."
WHO recommends on their website that mothers worldwide should exclusively breastfeed infants for the child's first six months to "achieve optimal growth, development and health." Afterwards, the child should be given nutritious foods and the mum should continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years or beyond.
Featured Image Credit: Caters/Mercury Press and Media
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