A mother-of-two shared she has received death threats and people accused her of abusing her children after she chose to breastfeed her daughters for five years.
Lactation consultant, Melissa Ostroth, 34, from Toledo, Ohio, following her mother who breastfeeds her brothers when she was a child. She is also practicing natural-term weaning – which allows her children to decide when they want to stop breastfeeding.
Melissa, has two daughters, Emilia, four, and Wrenly, two, with her husband Steve, 34. She has been breastfeeding for five years and took with just a three-month break between her two daughters.
When Melissa was 20-weeks pregnant second time, her eldest self-weaned because she did not like the taste of colostrum.
Melissa breastfeed anywhere when her daughters demand, between six to 10 times per day. She shares her journey on Instagram under the handle @milkitivity.
She wants to tell other mothers that they should not feel ashamed of breastfeeding their children after the age of one.
Some followers on social media support her message but some abused her and trolled her online. They have sent her death threats and accused her of child abuse.
Melissa studied infant nutrition for four years and says the biggest misconception about extended breastfeeding is that breastmilk doesn’t give nutritional value when the child gets older.
She said: ‘Breastmilk changes with a child’s needs and age. That’s the beauty of breastfeeding. It increases in proteins lactoferrin, lysozyme and immunoglobulin A.
‘It also continues to provide 29 per cent of energy requirements, 43 per cent of protein requirements, 36 per cent of calcium requirements, 75 per cent of vitamin A requirements, 76 per cent of folate requirements, 94 per cent of vitamin B12 requirements, 60 per cent of vitamin C requirements.
‘Breastmilk provides all the immunoglobulins the immune system takes to develop, which takes around five years. Why? Because we were designed to continue breastfeeding past infancy.
‘Aside from the health benefits, breastfeeding is more than just-food. It is the comfort, a natural anti-anxiety, a sleep aid, natural anxiety, and a bonding love.
‘I breastfed my first until I was 20 weeks pregnant when she self-weaned. My milk turned back into colostrum and she didn’t like the taste of it. I remember watching my mother breastfeed my brothers. I’ve always felt comfortable breastfeeding; I know that was the right decision for our family.
‘Online I receive a lot of positive feedback, but also some very negative and hateful remarks. In public, I’ve been thanked for breastfeeding my child without a cover and not in a restroom.
‘I receive many negative comments, even death threats and requests that I kill myself. The internet can be rough, but the positives keep me going.
‘The messages where a mom tells me that they needed to hear that today, and because of my post they have the confidence to keep breastfeeding as they had intended to.
‘One of the biggest questions and concerns I receive after the mother has established breastfeeding is, “What do I say to the negative comments I receive about planning or currently breastfeeding my toddler?”
‘So many mothers, including myself, have had to endure comments and questions such as; ”When are you going to cut the cord?” or, ”You know there are no benefits from breastfeeding past x amount of months”, or, ”At this point you’re just doing it for yourself.”
‘Even worse comments like “this is borderline abusive, and CPS should be called on you”.
She also says, in today’s society the majority are uneducated and do not understand natural term weaning.
‘Society tends to sexualize extended breastfeeding or have the idea that it’s all for the mother’s benefit.
‘I manage a breastfeeding and parenting support page and as soon as a child over the age of one is featured breastfeeding, the shaming comments start rolling in.’
She continued: ‘It comes with a whole new set of challenges. Some (like mine) will want to continue to breastfeed every two to three hours.
Melissa hopes to spread breastfeeding information on her Instagram page to encourage other women.
She added: ‘I hope to spread factual breastfeeding information. There is so much misinformation about breastfeeding. Women need the facts, they need support, and they need a non-judgmental community.
‘When it comes to extended breastfeeding, I want people to know the facts. I want them to understand why mothers decide to parent in this way. It’s not for ourselves, it’s not always easy, but it’s what works for our family.
‘We do it for the benefits physically and emotionally. And yes, we both benefit from it. We do it because both our child and we desire to do it.
‘It’s oayk to want to continue to breastfeed past infancy.
‘It’s not taboo, it’s not unnatural, and it’s not selfish. Our child still has a need and we are responding to that.’
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