A mother who is still breastfeeding her two-year-old daughter has insisted she’ll keep going until her little girl decides it’s time to stop.
Mother-of-two Michelle Emerson, 33, from Hornchurch in East London, proudly posts snaps of herself nursing daughter Emmeline, who was born in 2016, on Instagram, and happily breastfeeds her in public despite having been too self-conscious to do so with her older child, Ellie, who was born when she was just 20.
Michelle told how she’d received hurtful messages on social media in response to her pictures, including one that accused her of being ‘perverse’ and only continuing to breastfeed for her own benefit.
But the civil servant has insisted she is ‘letting Emmeline guide me’, and said she has never been subjected to negativity to her face.
Mother-of-two Michelle Emerson, 33, (pictured) revealed she has been criticized by social media users for continuing to breastfeed her two-year-old daughter Emmeline (pictured right)
Michelle (pictured left with Emmeline and her fiance Daniel) says she has blocked people who call her ‘perverse’ online for posting social media photos that show her breastfeeding the toddler, but said she has received no negativity to her face when nursing in public
Michelle said: ‘With my eldest daughter I loved breastfeeding her but was quite uncomfortable feeding in front of people I didn’t know well, so would always choose to feed at home.
‘With my youngest I have felt a lot more comfortable and have always just fed as and when it was needed.
‘I genuinely don’t have a plan. I’m pretty much letting Emmeline guide me. I didn’t plan on breastfeeding this long but we’re still going strong
‘I have never had any negativity to my face and have actually had some positive comments (from women).
‘I am very lucky that two of my close friends are also breastfeeding toddlers, so I don’t feel too unusual.
‘But I have had a few comments – in my private social media messages; from people not brave enough to publicly try and shame me – along the lines of me being ‘perverse’, and only breastfeeding for myself. They get swiftly blocked and deleted.
‘I’m not sure what breastfeeding has to do with anyone apart from me and my family. I am doing what I deem to be best for my daughter, and as she is happy and healthy. I’m not sure what criticism could be justified. I’m always open to discussions with people though.’
Michelle (pictured with Emmeline) had previously breastfed her eldest daughter, Ellie, now age 12, in private as she felt uncomfortable to do so in a social environment
Michelle revealed she now confidently breastfeeds Emmeline in public and has been doing so five to seven times a day since she was born
Michelle claims she doesn’t find breastfeeding a toddler any more difficult than when Emmeline had been a newborn as they’ve been inventive with positions
‘Breastfeeding a toddler definitely makes for some inventive feeding positions we use. But I actually feel like we’ve become pretty proficient at it, so luckily, I don’t find it any more difficult than I did when she was a newborn.
‘It’s easier now in some ways, because when you are able to talk and reason with your children, you can explain why they might need to wait to feed if it’s not convenient, whereas a newborn just needs to have it unconditionally.
‘I breastfeed in public now and have done since she was newborn. With my eldest I never breastfed in public at all, which I think is down to confidence.
‘I was only twenty when I had her, and I didn’t know anyone else with a baby; let alone a baby that was breastfed.
Michella believes the stigma of breastfeeding will be reduced if there are more images in the public presenting it as normal
Michelle says her family and partner have all been supportive and she also has friends who breastfeed their toddlers
‘Emmeline eats a wide variety of foods, and in terms of drinks; she will only have water and the occasional cup of cow’s milk (and sips of our tea if she can get away with it).
‘It really does vary from day-to-day, but in a twenty-four-hour period she probably feeds between five to seven times.’
Michelle hopes sharing photos of her breastfeeding despite the negative comments she’s received may help to end stigma.
She said: ‘I think sometimes extended breastfeeding can have a ‘hippy’ or ‘earth mother’ reputation and I am neither of those things. I want to make other women feel like they are not the only people in this position,’ she said.
‘I am proud of breastfeeding and believe the more images of feeding in the public areas there are, the more normal it will become, and the stigma surrounding it will be reduced.
‘I would just like to add how helpful it is to have a good support group around you when breastfeeding.
‘My family and my partner, Daniel’s, family have both been amazing, and I am lucky enough to have some fabulous friends who have all been incredibly supportive; whether they are breastfeeding, bottle-feeding or don’t have children.
‘I am also not anti-formula feeding, and truly believe every mother has to make a decision as to what is best for her and her baby, and that isn’t really anyone else’s business.
Michelle says Emmeline eats a variety of foods, drinks water and occasionally has the odd cup of cow’s milk
Michelle revealed in addition to the negative comments some women have said positive things on her Instagram