Woman breastfeeding four-year-old says she gets dirty looks

A woman took to the parenting forum Mumsnet to ask for advice on breastfeeding a four-year-old. The mum, with username @naturalmama, explained that she recently started to get “quite a few snarky comments and dirty looks” while breastfeeding her eldest child.

The “dirty looks” did not come from mere strangers but “from dear close friends and immediate family”.

The woman explained that her eldest child is now four years old and she has been breastfeeding him since he was born.

She explained: “At the moment he currently has it after breakfast (and after I’ve fed his sister), in place of and/or just before or after his afternoon kip around 2pm and just after tea. Sometimes more, sometimes just once.”

The mother admitted that she has never tried to get him to stop as “I think if he asks for it, he obviously needs the comfort”.

She explained that her family is starting to tease her son saying “he’s not a big boy” and “his school friends will think he’s silly”.

The woman said that for her, breastfeeding is a private thing and they are always alone when they do it.

Other mums shared their opinions with many saying that the family commenting on her breastfeeding is just wrong.

One woman said: “Your family have a bloody cheek trying to make your son feel self-conscious by commenting and personally I would tackle them on this when your son is not listening.”

She opined that the boy will probably start to self-wean once he settles in at school and grows more independent.

Another mum explained that her oldest daughter wore a blanket on her head right until the day she started school but once school began, the blankets, dummies and nappies all disappeared.

“If people tease him it will become a bigger issue than it really is. Plus, it undermines you and parents need to feel strong,” she opined.

Another forum user agreed saying: “I would tackle the family teasing him about it. It’s casual, undermining bullying and very hurtful indeed.”

Social media user @pseudoname agreed saying: “It is no one’s business so don’t discuss it with them, even if they are close relations since you can’t stop them from making negative remarks at your son.

“In order to shut up the stupid relatives, I’d be brief and to the point that they can keep their disapproval to themselves,” she added.

Others opined that breastfeeding until the child self-weans is “a natural beautiful thing to do”.

A user explained that natural term weaning can occur between four and seven years of age when the child loses their milk teeth.

“I’m still breastfeeding my two-year-old and will do until he naturally weans. Even if that is another five years,” she added.

According to the NHS, it is recommended that babies consume only breast milk for around the first six months of their lives.

“After this, it is recommended that they continue to be breastfed for two years and beyond, alongside eating other foods,” the health site explained.

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