From the moment a woman realizes she is going to be a mother, her life changes forever. Most women have nine months to plan for their bundle of joy, which is great considering all of the choices and decisions there are to be made. One major decision a mother has to make, which is a very important one, is to breastfeed or to bottle feed. For some women, their mind is already made up without needing to do any research or contemplating at all.
When a mother decides to bottle feed and give formula the decision is pretty straightforward. It’s simple, the baby normally gets formula for the first year of life and then it’s on to regular milk.
When it comes to breastfeeding, it is a whole different ball game. There are so many different things to think about when the decision has been made to breastfeed. A mother has to decide if they will actually nurse the baby or pump? Most women wonder if they will be any good at it, will they produce enough milk; the list goes on and on.
The decision of how long to breastfeed also comes into play. Many women decide they will exclusively breastfeed for the first six months and then wean the baby around the time they turn one.
The World Health Organization recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months. After six months they recommend continuing breastfeeding along with nutritious foods for up to two years or beyond. This leaves many mothers wondering what is the best age to wean a baby. Society seems to have negative feelings towards it past the age of one, although the recommended age is two. Some mothers don’t really care either way; they don’t mind what society or anyone else seems to think about it.
15 Nicole Mullen - Breastfed Son Through Puberty
Nicole Mullen may very well hold the record for the longest breastfeeding mother. Her son, Mason, is already going through puberty, but for this duo, that is no reason to end their breastfeeding relationship. They have had many occasions where people have said things to them or gave them dirty looks, but there is one situation in particular that made headlines.
Nicole and her son were in line at the movie theater waiting to purchase their tickets and decided that it was time for a breastfeeding session. It’s not surprising that people found it to be a little awkward. The ticket clerk shouted from behind the desk, “Ma’am, you need to stop that right now.” Nicole became angry because of his comment and told him, “I am a mother, and I have every right to feed my child in public.” Mason is twelve years old, and they don’t seem to have any desire to stop anytime soon. Hopefully, by the time he has his first girlfriend, he will no longer be feeding off of his mother.
14 Ann Sinnott - Nurses 6-Year-Old
Ann Sinnott stirred up some major controversy over going public about how she breastfed her daughter until she was six-years-old. Ann also happens to be the author of the controversial book, Breastfeeding Older Children. People either loved her book and her logic or completely hated it and found it to be outright disgusting and disturbing. There really does not seem to be a middle ground when it comes to her book and her beliefs. A few other mothers had even said that Ann breastfeeding her daughter until she was six was more about her own selfish needs than the actual needs of her daughter.
Ann has said that if people find breastfeeding a child until they are older weird, that is just because they have not been exposed to it. The evidence that she cites in her book is more anecdotal than anything. There is no clear evidence to support everything that she claims. Ann is very passionate about what she believes in and said, “Breastmilk is perfect, it changes to meet the needs of children whatever their age."
13 Rebecca Hunter - Mother Of Two
Rebecca Hunter is a mother of two boys, Jamie and Oscar. Rebecca runs a flower essences business in Ilkley, West Yorks and seems like any other average mother. Rebecca stands out from the rest because of how long she breastfed her children. She is 43-years-old and breastfed her oldest son, Jamie until he was almost six-years-old. She breastfed her younger son, Oscar, until he was four-years-old.
Rebecca was still nursing Jamie when Oscar was born, so she decided just to keep feeding them together. She read many books on the benefits of breastfeeding and believes she did what is best for her children. She nursed her son in public until he was three-years-old and then continued privately until he was six. She wasn’t bothered by comments or glances from strangers; she was bothered by what her own friends thought about it. Rebecca does make a good point; she said, “It doesn’t shock people in other countries. It’s only abnormal in this country.”
12 Lynn Stuckey - Nurses 8-Year-Old
Lynn Stuckey is a single mother. She has one child, a little boy named Kyle. When Kyle was five-years-old, a babysitter of his called the child abuse hotline on his mother. The babysitter claimed that Kyle told her he was still breastfeeding, although he wanted to stop, but “Mommy wouldn’t let me.” Lynn denied the allegations that she forced her son to breastfeed, but she did not deny that she still breastfed.
Kyle was taken away from his mother and was placed in foster care. Kyle spent about six months in foster care and was reunited with his mother after many evaluations and counseling sessions. Lynn does not feel like she did anything wrong and she wanted to let Kyle continue nursing until he was ready to wean himself. Lynn and Kyle made an appearance on Good Morning America to share their story. At the time of the show, Kyle was eight-years-old, and he was still nursing occasionally. Lynn believes there is nothing wrong with extended breastfeeding unless the child is “maybe into their teens.”
11 Miira Dawson - Plans To Nurse Until Ten
Miira Dawson is a mother of two. She has a little girl named Tara who is five-years-old and a two-year-old boy named Ray Lee. Miira is a science researcher, but for now, she is a full-time mommy, since she has her hands full. She nurses both of her children and plans to do so until they are ten years old. She is not backing down on her decision because she says, “The benefits of extended breastfeeding are scientifically proven.”
Miira believes extended breastfeeding promotes health and IQ levels. Her husband Jim said, “Tara is an extremely bright girl and is very grown up for her age, so for now, I will continue to allow it.” Miira co-sleeps with both of her children so that they can nurse freely and to help them feel safe. She does not believe that it is natural for children to sleep on their own. Although this situation has put a strain on her marriage, she does not mind what other people think because this is what works for them.
10 Jamie Lynn Grumet - Time Magazine’s Breastfeeding Mom
Jamie Lynn Grumet is a stay at home mom and has two children. Jamie was breastfed by her mother until she was six-years-old, so extended breastfeeding is nothing new to her. She has two boys, one is her biological son, and the other is her adopted son; she breastfed both of them. She would write her experiences on her blog, and she was prepared for all of the criticism that she knew she would receive.
Jamie is also known as the Time Magazine’s breastfeeding mom. She was on the cover of the Time magazine feeding her son Aram, who was almost four at the time. She was also on the Today show to talk about their story. Jamie is all for attachment parenting, but she does admit that it may not be for everyone. Attachment parenting is what works for her and her family. She still nurses her adopted son Samuel occasionally, and it has helped them bond. She plans to continue nursing until Aram turns five and he is starting to wean himself already.
9 Adele Allen - Off-Grid Parenting
Adele Allen is a mother of two. She has a five-year-old son named Ulysses and a one-year-old daughter named Ostara. She nurses both of her children and will continue to do so until they are ready to stop. Adele and her husband Matt, call their parenting style “Off-grid parenting.” Adele said, “Off-grid is moving towards self-sustainability and being a bit more free range and less institutionalized.” Adele’s children have never been to the doctor, except one time for an asthma attack. They also do not attend school.
Adele is very passionate about full-term breastfeeding and the bond that it creates. She believes breastfeeding is, “Something that’s just as natural as a hug is, it’s a connection.” Adele and her husband raise their children using the attachment parenting method. Both parents co-sleep with their children; the whole family in one room. Adele has a successful blog where she writes about her natural parenting. Adele does receive many negative comments, but that does not stand in her way of what she believes in.
8 Stella Onions - Plans To Nurse Until Eight
Stella Onions did not plan on having children when she was married to her first husband; that all changed when she got divorced. Stella remarried after her divorce, but this time around she was determined to have children. Sadly, Stella’s plans took a turn for the worse, and her first two pregnancies did not have a happy ending. She almost gave up hope and decided she would give up trying to have children. She unexpectedly became pregnant again and the third time was a charm for her.
Stella went into labor on Christmas Day, and she was overwhelmed with joy. She decided to breastfeed her daughter, Josephine, but by the time she had her second child, she was still nursing Josephine. Stella started nursing both of her children together; this went on for many years. Their story ended up making headlines due to their ages. Her daughter was five, and her son Zac was three-years-old. Stella believes more mothers should breastfeed their children longer. Stella planned on nursing her children until they are eight-years-old.
7 Denise Sumpter - Feeds Both Children On Demand
Denise Sumpter is a 44-year-old mother of two, who also hit a record for breastfeeding. Her daughter, Belle, was still breastfeeding at the age of seven. She would join with her younger brother, Beau on nursing sessions. She may be the oldest child in the UK known to be still breastfeeding. Denise no longer nurses Belle in public because of the negative comments that have been made in the past.
Denise did not plan on breastfeeding for so long, it just happened. She had originally planned on nursing for six months to a year, but every time the time would come she would change her mind; Belle was not ready to stop nursing. She will continue to allow her to nurse until Belle is ready to give it up. Denise says Belle does not ask for her milk often; it’s only at night and a few times a week. Denise says, “I feed both children on demand- whenever they want it.” Belle is taller than average and hardly gets sick, Denise believes this is due to her “mamas milk.”
6 Amanda Hurst - Tandem Nursing
Amanda Hurst is a mother of two. She has two boys, one who is an infant and the other is six-years-old. The older son, Jonathan nursed until he was three-years-old; Amanda told him that he was getting too old to keep breastfeeding. This changed when his younger brother came into the picture. When Jonathan saw his younger brother nursing, he wanted to be able to also; maybe he felt left out.
Amanda allowed Jonathan to join in on some of their nursing sessions. She felt it was hard to tell Jonathan no. Amanda said, “I do question the decisions I make and wonder whether I’m right or wrong. But it’s parenting; there is no manual, I don’t think there is a right way.” Amanda never imagined she would be nursing Jonathan for so long, but it happened. Amanda admits, “If I thought he would still be breastfeeding now I probably wouldn’t have even started.”
5 Maha Al Musa - Not Your Ordinary Mother
Maha Al Musa is a 52-year-old mother of three, who still nurses her six-year-old daughter. Unlike most mothers who engage in extended breastfeeding, she is not ashamed of breastfeeding publicly. She believes it is natural and she will not stop until her daughter is ready, which she does not think will be anytime soon. Maha has made worldwide headlines. She has been featured on the Discovery Channel, Woman’s Day Magazine, UK’s Daily Mail and even CNN.
She is a human rights activist and is proud to also be an advocate of extended breastfeeding. Like many other extended breastfeeding mothers, she claims her daughter hardly gets sick. She had her milk tested at the University of WA since they do research on human milk there. The results concluded, “My milk still had all the properties and nutrients relative to that of a woman half my age with a smaller baby has. So this fact is worth noting when people’s opinions claim breastmilk has no nutrients after a child reaches one year of age.” Facts like this really do make you wonder.
4 Davina Wright - Mother Of Triplets
Davina Wright was married with two children and her husband also had two children from a previous relationship. They decided they did not want to have any more children, so she had a tubal ligation. Tragically, her husband passed away. After her grieving process, she tried to move on with her life and met Jason. Jason wanted to have children, so Davina had a tubal reversal done. Davina ended up becoming pregnant with triplets.
Davina was petrified when she learned she was going to have triplets. One thing she was sure of was, she was going to breastfeed. Davina was right; she was able to breastfeed all of them, without the use of formula. Davina’s triplets were still breastfeeding when they turned five; this even surprised Davina. She did not expect they would breastfeed for so long. Davina said, “I am big on letting the child decide when they are ready to wean but at the same time I’m like dudes, there are three of you, and your five, come on already!”
3 Sharon Spink - Nurses 5-Year-Old
Sharon Spink is a 44-year-old mother of four. She breastfeeds her daughter who is five-years-old; this has caused a lot of controversies. Many people criticized her for breastfeeding her five-year-old daughter, Charlotte, especially when she does it in public. Sharon believes there is no age that defines when a child should stop breastfeeding and even feels like it would be “cruel” to stop nursing now.
Sharon will allow her daughter to continue nursing until she is seven-years-old if she chooses to do so. Sharon said, ”A mother should be free to do what she thinks is right for her child, whether that is formula feeding on birth or breastfeeding indefinitely.” Sharon nurses Charlotte about three times a day, and she usually does it at home, but she is not embarrassed to do it in public. Sharon does admit when Charlotte decides to wean she will be sad, but she will be happy that it’s her choice.
2 Mayim Bialik - Breastfeeding Actress Mom
Mayim Bialik is an actress on the popular show the Big Bang Theory. She is an advocate of attachment parenting and breastfed her son until he was four years old. Four years old is not that bad compared to some of the other mothers who were criticized for how long they breastfed; because she is an actress, people made it a point to call her out on her parenting.
She used to co-sleep with both of her children and her husband. She and her husband got a divorce, just days before her son self-weaned. She had breastfed both of her children, and it seemed like she was hurt by the negative things people had to say about it. When she ended her last breastfeeding journey, she made a bold entry for the world to read. The end of her blog had a loving message to her son, “I may not have milk to give you, but I have a heart forever etched with your name, your face, your eyes, your impossibly stunning tapered lashes that hold the tears only you can cry.”
1 Veronika Robinson - Extraordinary Breastfeeding
Veronika Robinson is a former journalist and a very firm believer in extended breastfeeding. She believes in it so much that she continued to breastfeed her daughter, Elizah, while she was nearing 8-years-old. She even gave her other daughter, Bethany, breastmilk as a ninth birthday present per her daughter's own request. Veronika was even on a television program called Extraordinary Breastfeeding as an advocate for allowing children to have the right to choose when they wanted to stop breastfeeding.
Veronika planned to continue to breastfeed Elizah until she was at least 8-years-old, whereas she stopped breastfeeding Bethany when she was 5-years-old. Eliza was even having anxiety when she thought about giving up breastmilk, and she even said, “I don’t want to be weaned. I want to breastfeed forever.” That is not something you usually hear from a child who is nearing their eighth birthday. Even though the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until two or beyond, you have to wonder when it has started to cross some boundaries. There have been children who claim that they have been scarred for life because they remember being breastfed too long.
Sources: theguardian.com, thoughtcatalog.com, dailymail.co.uk, abcnews.go.com, cbsnews.com, mirror.co.uk, mamamia.com.ua, huffingtonpost.com, who.int, newsandstar.co.uk, thesun.co.uk