Mothers who breastfeed beyond babyhood
Can breastfeeding really be good for older children? Emma Cook meets mothers who keep going up to school age and beyond
- The Guardian, Saturday 9 January 201
Sinnott was a single parent by the time Maeve was born, devoting herself to her daughter's needs exclusively. "For the first three years, we lived a life when night and day were blurred. It was wonderful. She fed whenever she needed to. As she got older – around three – she was so strong physically. I remember visiting relatives and they would ask, 'How come she eats like a bird but she looks so robust, so strong physically?'" she recalls proudly.
Wasn't she eating solid meals by that age? "Well, it comes and goes at that stage if you're still feeding. I hear mothers and fathers anxious because their child doesn't feel hungry and I think they're probably too full up on solids. Whereas breast milk is perfect – it changes to meet the needs of children whatever their age." Sinnott admits that her style of parenting isn't realistic for many mothers. "My circumstances allowed me to mother how I wanted."
The longer she breastfed, the more women she met – of all ages and social classes – discreetly feeding older children well beyond primary school age. Although she is convinced that their numbers are on the increase, they are, she says, a hidden phenomenon, driven behind doors because they are so fearful of being misinterpreted and misunderstood. "I think the internet has helped. Women have recourse to much more information and support. But many are still really afraid and worried about other people's reactions," she says.
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