A mum who continues to breastfeed her son at four years all claims she “doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks” about her parenting.
Beccy Ashe, 35, from Liverpool, continues to breastfeed her four-year-old Tobias and breastfed her daughter Daisy until she was five and started school.
The mum claims that the bonding and closeness that breastfeeding provides meant she wanted to continue for as long as was practical.
She added that the nutrition and health benefits also factored into the choice.
Beccy told the Liverpool Echo : “My son Tobias, who’s four, still breastfeeds.
“He’s pretty much down to morning and night now since he started nursery six months ago.
“With nursery it’s a great way to bond and reconnect at the end of the day. It’s so much comfort, it’s nutritious, it’s got pain relief.
“It’s more than just giving them a feed.”
She continued: “The benefits to the mum are big as well. The longer you breastfeed, the risk of some cancers reduce too.”
Beccy shared her experience to commemorate the beginning of Breastfeeding Awareness Month.
It took her six months to slowly wean her little girl off breastfeeding and it could take just as long with her son.
She explained: “I don’t do it as often now, it’s not on demand now he’s older.
“He has it in the morning when he wakes up and he has some before he goes to bed.
“He asks for more than that in a day but I tell him no. That’s a lesson for him in teaching body autonomy in the sense that this is my body and I get to say what happens to it.”
The NHS does not specify a recommended age for weaning.
Advice states that women can continue to breastfeed for as long as they and their little one want to.
But, Beccy believes that many women stop before they are ready due to “peer pressure” and the “societal norm”.
She wants to educate other mums about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Beccy said: “If you want to ask questions I’m happy to answer them – it’s fine to be curious and ask questions.
“I’ve never faced any negativity really or judgement and, in all honestly, I don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks about me, it’s not my problem what they think.
“I will always advocate for women to breastfeed for as long as they want to.”
She continued: “I’ve heard from women who’ve said they were told by doctors and midwives they can’t breastfeed, just stop and give them formula, and that’s so disheartening to feel like a failure as a mother and like they’re meant to provide this nutrition for their baby.
“You have a baby and they learn to walk, they don’t just know how to walk. And it’s the same with breastfeeding, they have to learn to latch properly and feed efficiently.
“It’s a learning journey for mum and baby.”
Beccy volunteers at Liverpool Bambis – a breast-feeding support service for families.
The mum noted: “My advice to new mums would be reach out to every support system you can find, there’s Facebook groups and plenty of websites online.
“Never be afraid to ask any question no matter how silly you think it might be. And never give up on a bad day, because the next day could be so much better.”
Liverpool Bambis said: “Bambis have supported over 26,000 mums on their breastfeeding journey and our rates in Liverpool are increasing yearly.
“Initiation is now 59% so not far behind the national average of 67%. We are really proud of the support we have offered and continue to offer during these difficult circumstances we find ourselves in during lockdown.”
You can find Liverpool Bambis on Facebook and Instagram by clicking here and here.