In the face of critics and trolls, a British mum is trying to normalise breastfeeding one Youtube video at a time. Sophie Rose, 40, isn’t mum to a young baby; her son Shaye is four, and it’s his age that is making many people upset.
Sophie, who lives in Thailand with her partner Danny and son Shaye, says her mission is to normalise breastfeeding in general, and “specifically breastfeeding older kids. There’s still a lot of controversy and shock around breastfeeding an older child, and I just want to expose it … until it becomes normal.”
She goes on to explain, “It’s a very beautiful and intimate thing, and it’s also a very ordinary thing when you’re a mum.”
Sophie says breastfeeding is natural, and it’s natural to feed a child when they’re hungry, no matter where you are. She says, “I’d … love to live in a world where breastfeeding mothers didn’t feel ashamed about feeding in public. That they were able to feed whereever they wanted and there were no negative comments, repercussions, or feeling fear.”
Sophie isn’t alone in her journey. She says most of her friends, “think it’s ordinary to breastfeed older kids.”
In 2013, Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik wrote a heartfelt post on Kveller about weaning her four-year-old son Fred. She scoffs at strangers who glared at her for feeding her son on the NYC subway, and thanks her friends and family for reserving their judgement.
She writes, “Fred isn’t going to nurse on his way down the wedding aisle or at his high school graduation. I didn’t need to break him of a ‘habit’ and teach him ‘who’s in charge.’”
Bialik nursed her son for as long as he wanted, “Even when people laughed and sneered and accused me of horrible things no mother should ever be accused of when tending to the normal and beautiful needs of her mammal child. It was never wrong and it was always right.”
Sophie has faced similar criticism, with commenters likening breastfeeding to peeing or masturbating in public. Her response is always measured, calm and thoughtful. She says, “Would I be offended if somebody [peed in public]? No. I would just be getting on with my own life.”
What do you think about breastfeeding older children? Are you like Sophie, and think it’s up to the mother and child, or do you think there’s an age when children should be weaned?