A mum has told how she will miss breastfeeding her daughter after she finally weaned at the age of nine. Sharon Spink, 50, has been breastfeeding daughter Charlotte for the past nine years and insists it is completely normal and has cemented a lifelong bond between them.
She said despite doing it for almost a decade she is happy the schoolgirl made her own decision to stop two months ago. Sharon, who supports natural term weaning, claims her daughter is healthy and rarely gets ill thanks to the beneficial properties of ‘mummy milk’.
And despite facing a backlash from critics who have accused her of child abuse, Sharon wants to break down the stigma around breastfeeding older children believing there are many mums out there doing it.
Sharon, from Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, said: ‘When I came to have Charlotte, I had decided on natural term weaning. Gang of trans women beat man up after ‘minor provocation’ on night out ‘It’s nice for the child to be in control of when they want to wean, rather than forcing the issue.
She naturally self-weaned earlier this year. ‘It was a gradual process and her choice. She was feeding about once a month if she wasn’t feeling great or was feeling a bit run down, and was going longer and longer without feeding.
‘Now she hasn’t done it for about two months. ‘She told me she would stop when she was 10 which will be in April next year but it seems to have come to a natural end earlier, although I would have allowed her to continue for as long as wants to.
‘As she’s been reducing anyway I don’t feel sad about it. If she would have stopped suddenly I think I would have missed it, but it’s just nice that it’s come to a natural end.
‘It’s how I envisaged it would end. It was her choice and was done in a very gradual way. ‘We haven’t had a discussion about her not doing it anymore.
I just hope when she’s older she’ll remember that feeling of comfort and security it gave her rather than it being about feeding. ‘We have such a close bond and I’m convinced it’s because of breastfeeding her for so long.’
The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to six months with continued breastfeeding along with complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.
Sharon said she was determined to breastfeed Charlotte after struggling to do it with her other three children Kim, 30, Sarah, 28, and Isabel, 12. Sharon, who last year qualified as a breast feeding counsellor, said: ‘I breastfed my first two children for a couple of weeks and my daughter Isabel for about six months but I ran into problems and felt like there was a lack of support.
‘When Isabel was four months old she lost weight and I had to supplement that with formula. I was determined to make it work for Charlotte.’ Sharon said at the age of five Charlotte was feeding three times a day but this has been gradually reducing over the last four years until she was doing it about once a month. She said she used to feed Charlotte in public places including the hairdressers, supermarket and church but now just does it at home.