A mom who breastfeeds her children, aged 5 and 2, said she is happy to continue until they are 8.
Laura Smith from Michigan said her sons are in ‘extremely good health’ because of her breast milk. She revealed that she nurses 5-year-old Joel and 2-year-old Bennett up to three times daily, alongside solid foods.
The mother-of-two says her children have never needed medication or caught the flu, thanks to her breast milk.
Even though she receives criticism from strangers and some friends, Laura said she will continue to breastfeed her sons until they’re eight.
“The immune benefits are so huge. Joel and Bennett have never had the flu, an ear infection or needed medication for anything. People don’t realize how much vitamins and nutrients there are in breast milk,” she expressed.
“I think my own personal limit to feed them would be age eight. But if they still didn’t want to stop then I wouldn’t say no to them. I won’t wake up one day and think this disgusts me, when they are ready to stop then I will.”
When Laura and Zane welcomed Joel in 2015, she was told to stop breast feeding at around 6 months. But there was ‘no way’ she was stopping when her eldest son reached that age.
“My mom breastfed me and my four siblings until we were aged up four and five. So extended breastfeeding ran in my family,” Laura said. “I began giving him some pureed sweet potato on the side but he continued feeding up to six times a day.”
Laura continued: “I had no problem with my milk supply so I knew I’d be able to go past a year. When he was eight months old I introduced some solids like avocado, apples and pears for him to nibble on between his feeds. Before I knew it, Joel was one.
“By the time Joel was two, I had a couple of friends who said they didn’t think it was normal that Joel was still feeding. Others asked if I thought he was too old for it or when I was going to give him some real food.
“I had a niggling feeling they didn’t agree with it but they were afraid to say. Thankfully my husband and family were so supportive throughout.”
Laura then gave birth to Bennett in 2017. “It was really hard to say no to Joel when I needed to feed Bennett,” she expressed.
She started breastfeeding her sons together to make sure Joel won’t feel left out. “If Joel and Bennett are running around and one gets hurt, I’ll nurse them to make them feel better.”
Laura added: “As Joel is so big now, strangers do give me dirty looks or stare at me. It’s very silly how something so beautiful and natural can be frowned upon.
“I now avoid feeding them in shopping centers as there are too many people who stare and I don’t want to deal with the drama. I try to wait until we get into the car or go home.
“A few months ago I uploaded some photos of my tandem nursing and some moms commented ‘You’re too old.’ Others said ‘Why is she nursing a toddler?’ and ‘Shouldn’t she stop?’ It was upsetting, but I tried not to let the negative comments get to me.
“People just lack education about extended breastfeeding and I’m passionate about teaching them.
“The next week I joined some support groups for extended breastfeeding on Facebook and people said my photos were beautiful. Some were moms on there breastfed their kids up to eight, which made me feel so much better.”
The mother-of-two added: “I know there is a huge stigma around this, but I hope one day there won’t be.”
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