A mother in London, England is continuing to breastfeed her 6-year-old daughter despite the norm weaning children off much earlier.
According to the Daily Mail, mother and PhD student, Denise Sumpter says she will continue breastfeeding her daughter, Belle until the 6-year-old decides it’s time to stop.
“I'll feed Belle as long as she asks,” the 44-year-old mother said.
Though Belle doesn’t rely solely on her mother’s breast milk anymore, the little girl nurses anywhere from twice a day to once a week. The report goes to reveal that sometimes she will even join her 18-month-old brother, Beau in a feeding.
“I don’t think there's anything weird about it. I feed both children on demand, whenever they want it,” Sumpter says. “My children have hardly been ill. Beau came down with something the other day and because I nursed him through it, he was better in 24 hours.”
The mother of two goes on to reveal that she had something similar with Belle, but because it acts as an aid in calming them down and helping them sleep, she is all for it.
The American Academy of Pediatrics does suggest that “breast is best,” noting that nursing can boost the health benefits of many children. However, Sumpter knows many will not agree with her decision to breastfeed the 6-year-old.
“I used to get the odd comment from relatives who’d say ‘Here we go with the milk thing again,’ but I think because people know I’m confident in my decision they let me get on with it,” she said.
The mother also discredits claims that her daughter is developing a harmful dependency, saying, “People think by feeding Belle this long I will stunt her confidence. But she is extremely independent.”
The mother discloses that Belle’s teachers say she is “mature for her age,” adding “if you’d asked me five years ago, I never would have thought I’d still be breastfeeding Belle. However, it turned out to be one of the best things I could have done for my family.”
Sumpter says Belle knows it’s not a norm, but as the oldest child still breast feeding, she feels it as “natural,” even pretending to breastfeed her dolls.
“When Belle finishes I’ll be sad, but it’s a natural progression,” the 44-year-old mother says. “Her milk teeth are going and I get the impression she won’t be feeding for much longer. But she can take her time.”
And as for Sumpter’s son, she intends to breastfeed him as long as she has Belle, provided that’s what he wants too.
“The other day at playgroup Beau picked up a toy bottle and didn’t have a clue what it was. I was proud of that,” she said.