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Featured Image Credit: Instagram/the.lauren.mcleod
A mum has spoken out in defence of her decision to breastfeed her five-year-old and explained why she chose 'natural term' feeding.
Lauren McLeod, from Australia, explained that she's given the decision of when to stop breastfeeding over to her son, Bowie, five, and he's not asked her to stop yet.
The mum told Tyla that she's sharing her story because she wants 'to help normalise natural term breastfeeding, and to help other parents who also choose to breastfeed beyond infancy feel less alone on their journey'.
In an interview with 7Life, she added: "If they are two, three, four, five don't feel weird about it - there is nothing wrong with it."
Lauren said that she was breastfed and so was her husband - both until the age of two - and she knew that it was something she wanted to do when she had children.
However, she suffered a 'traumatic' birth with Bowie after his shoulder got stuck in her birth canal - which is also known as shoulder dystrophia.
"We were both really lucky, we had no big injuries," she said.
Bowie's was taken to the NICU after his difficult birth, which left Lauren nervous about breastfeeding him for the first time.
However, she said that it came to her 'naturally' and she successfully breastfed her son.
Lauren assumed that it would eventually stop when he was around two, but Bowie showed no signs of stopping.
"I thought my son would self-wean, but he didn't and I just thought, 'Oh well, it didn't bother me' and I wasn't going to force him to wean when he wasn't ready," she said.
Lauren then fell pregnant again with her daughter, and it was then that she thought Bowie would stop feeding. Her milk eventually dried up, but he continued to 'dry nurse'.
When her daughter Tigerlily was born and her supply returned, the pair went on to feed together.
"I remember my first tandem feed," she said. "I brought my daughter home from the hospital and we were snuggled on the couch.
"My son reached over and held her hand while they fed."
This was an emotional moment for the proud mum, who is also a birthing and postpartum doula.
Tigerlily, now two, is also still breastfeeding alongside her older brother, who is only on night feeds.
"People think it's weird... I don't see it that way at all," Lauren said.
"I feel the same way about feeding my son now as I did when he was a newborn.
"There is a common misconception that breastfeeding past infancy has no benefits.
"But the truth is that all the beautiful benefits of breastfeeding are the same regardless of how old the child is, and breastmilk changes to meet the child's needs as they grow and their needs change."
Lauren told Tyla: "I have hope that by the time my children's generation have children, natural term breastfeeding won't be so taboo."
You can keep up with Lauren's ongoing breastfeeding journey on Instagram.