A British mother who drew international attention after she spoke out about breastfeeding her daughter until age 9 has issued a response to critics who accused her of being attention-seeking, “nuts,” or even a “pedophile.”
“I went public now and then purely to raise awareness for other moms, and to help them realize they’re not alone, and that feeding older children is normal for us as a species,” Sharon Spink, 50, told Yahoo. “I mostly ignore them [the critics]. I know they’re generally talking from a place of either not understanding how breastfeeding works, or from a judgmental attitude that breasts are sexual objects, which they’re not. We have breasts in order to breastfeed.”
The mother of four said that she had difficulty breastfeeding her three older children, but that it came easily with her youngest, Charlotte — to the point that the child refused to wean herself, and Spink says she chose not to make the decision for her. Extended breastfeeding is a rarity in modern British society — just 36 percent of babies are still breastfed at a year old, according to Yahoo. But according to researchers, the actual biological age for human weaning typically ranges from 2.5 to 7 years.
While many have criticized her, Spink said, countless others had also offered words of support — particularly other breastfeeding mothers.
“The fact that a lot of that support has been from other breastfeeding moms, telling me I’ve inspired them to continue their breastfeeding journeys, is amazing,” she said. “It makes me feel that I’ve made a difference, and that’s what it’s all about … it’s getting that message out there as far as it can, to let as many moms as possible know they’re not alone. Moms should have a choice of how to feed their child without judgment; it should be an informed, fact-based choice, rather than making a choice because of what society thinks or — even worse — tells them what they should be thinking. Let moms trust their and their child’s instincts.”
Watch an interview with Spink below.
Read the full story at Yahoo News.