A mother has finally stopped breastfeeding her child after nine years – at her daughter’s request.
Nine-year-old Charlotte asked her mum, Sharon Spink, to stop breastfeeding her after slowly cutting down on breastmilk for the past few years.
Sharon, a mother of four, insisted breastfeeding her daughter for so long was completely normal, and stated how it’d been the reason they’d formed a lifelong bond.
Sharon supports natural term weaning and claims her daughter rarely gets ill thanks to the benefits of her human milk.
When I came to have Charlotte, I had decided on natural term weaning. It’s nice for the child to be in control of when they want to wean, rather than forcing the issue.
She naturally self-weaned earlier this year. 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.
Now she hasn’t done it for about two months.
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 she wants to.
Sharon said the gradual weaning process has made the change easier for her to handle, saying:
As she’s been reducing anyway I don’t feel sad about it. If she would have stopped suddenly I think I would have missed it, but it’s just nice that it’s come to a natural end.
It’s how I envisaged it would end. It was her choice and was done in a very gradual way.
Sharon, from Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, added how breastfeeding gave her daughter a sense of security and how she was determined to breastfeed as she’d struggled with her other three children.
Sharon explained while she does have some support from the breastfeeding community, she’s also received backlash for her choice, revealing:
The reaction I get from within the breastfeeding community is one of support. There were a lot of positive comments.
Obviously there have been the negatives – usually from typical keyboard warriors who post their opinion.
I have been called every name under the sun. I’ve been told it’s child abuse, I’ve been called a paedophile and told it’s wrong and that I’m a freak.
Despite the reactions she’s had, Sharon states she stands by her decision and has explained to her daughter the criticisms aren’t true.
She defended breastfeeding her nine-year-old by saying, in other countries, it’s perfectly normal to breastfeed older children.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.