Australian mum Lauren McLeod who’s been called ‘gross’ and ‘abusive’ for breastfeeding her five-year-old says she doesn’t intend to stop anytime soon.
The 29-year-old mum, from Perth, is open and honest about her parenting decisions on Instagram with the hope of reducing the stigma around breastfeeding.
In August, 2017 she gave birth to her son, Bowie, followed by her daughter, Tigerlily, in May, 2020. Today Lauren still breastfeeds both kids.
‘Breastfeeding beyond infancy is completely normal. I never thought I’d be breastfeeding my child aged five but I’m like any other mum doing the best I can for my children,’ she said.
‘It’s not weird or sexual, it’s completely normal and I will keep going until they want to stop.
‘I get upset thinking about when we do stop – it’s been a huge part of our lives and I don’t think Bowie will keep feeding until six.’
Lauren says she will only stop breastfeeding Bowie when he is ready and wants to.
Aussie mum Lauren McLeod, 29, (pictured, centre, with her kids) has continued to breastfeed her son Bowie (left), five, but initially only planned to breastfeed until age two
The doula – a person who provides support during childbirth – has also been labelled as ‘sick’ and ‘disgusting’ for breastfeeding for so long (pictured with her two children, Bowie, left, and Tigerlily, right,)
The doula – a person who provides support during childbirth – has also been labelled as ‘sick’ and ‘disgusting’ for breastfeeding for so long.
She and her husband Anders, 33, were breastfed until the age of two and wanted to carry this out with their own kids.
‘We thought he [Bowie] would self-wean by that point but two came and went. He is now five and breastfeeds only at bedtime and a few times a week.’
‘Occasionally people will say something really mean, coming from a lack of education but nobody has ever said anything to my face.
‘Someone accused me of not feeding him food – of course we do.
‘I believe we’re doing the right thing for us. It’s a beautiful thing for us to bond and reconnect after a long day.’
‘Breastfeeding beyond infancy is completely normal. I never thought I’d be breastfeeding my child aged five but I’m like any other mum doing the best I can for my children,’ she said
What are the breastfeeding recommendations in Australia?
Whether you breastfeed for a day or for several years, the decision to breastfeed your child is one you will never regret. And whenever weaning takes place, remember that it is a big step for both of you.
How long to continue breastfeeding for is a personal decision for your family to make. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding (i.e. no other fluids or solids) for six months and then continued breastfeeding combined with solid foods for two years or as long as mother and baby desire.
Benefits after two years old:
– Meets child’s physical and emotional needs
– Provides comfort
– It is biologically normal and our body seems geared to a weaning age of between two and seven years
– Continues to reduce woman’s risk of breast and ovarian cancers
– Is nutritious, providing a source of energy and protein and protection against illness
Source: Australian Breastfeeding Association
When Tigerlily was born she had to set some boundaries and started breastfeeding Bowie less.
At one point she felt ‘touched-out’ – when you’re overwhelmed from being touched too much – and decided to night wean Tigerlily.
‘I’m sure there will come a time where I need to set more boundaries, but Tigerlily has never taken a bottle so at night time if she wakes, she has water or cow milk from a sippy cup,’ Lauren said.
‘Bowie took express breast milk from the bottle when I went back to work one morning a week which made things slightly easier.’
On other occasions she’s also breastfed her friend’s baby who doesn’t take bottles.
‘It was a little strange feeding a baby who wasn’t mine, but not in a bad way. It felt so natural, and it was really nice to help my friend as he was only eight months old, and she didn’t want to leave him with anyone else.’
Lauren previously told FEMAIL she chooses to breastfeed because it’s what has ‘always worked best’ for herself and kids’. She also believes breastmilk is an immunity booster.
Lauren previously told FEMAIL she chooses to breastfeed because it’s what has ‘always worked best’ for herself and kids. She also believes breastmilk is an immunity booster
She said the children find comfort in breastfeeding, and it also ‘soothes them to sleep faster’, calms them if they’re upset, offers pain relief and supports their immune systems
Despite the nasty comments on social media, Lauren turns her head to those who criticise her.
‘I just don’t read the comments sections on social media posts that aren’t my own, so I don’t see the majority of nasty things that are said about me,’ she told FEMAIL.
Lauren said if someone’s being negative online, she simply blocks them and deletes the comment.
‘It’s not worth my time and energy to respond to someone who has made up their mind about me already, and takes time out of their day to be nasty,’ she said.
‘At the end of the day, if someone doesn’t agree with my choices then that’s fine, that’s their opinion.
She added how the positive impact left on other parents who choose to breastfeed ‘outweighs the negativity’. And hundreds have praised Lauren for having the courage to sharing her story
‘A lot of the negative opinions people have about breastfeeding are often based on cultural bias and lack of education on the topic, which is part of the reason I share my story – to help people understand that natural term breastfeeding is biologically normal.’
She added how the positive impact left on other parents who choose to breastfeed ‘outweighs the negativity’.
And hundreds have praised Lauren for having the courage to sharing her story.