A mother has opened up about her decision to breastfeed her 5-year-olds
A mother has shared her incredible story of breastfeeding her 5-year-old triplets.
Writing for the breastfeeding blog, The Milk Meg, mum Davina explained that she breastfed her two oldest kids who both self-weaned around 13-14 months.
Davina says her goal with the triplets was to wean them off breastmilk within two years.
Alas, at 5 years of age, the siblings are still relying on their mother.
“I have often heard ‘oh you’re just doing it for you now, it’s not about the children’, but in all honesty I would be happy if they weaned now. I am big on letting the child decide when they are ready to wean but at the same time I’m like ‘dudes, there are 3 of you, and you’re 5, come on already!’ I am tired, I am touched out, and I am pretty sure the last of the ‘baby weight’ won’t shift until they stop. It’s not that I want my body back to myself, because the three of them will continue to climb on me, sit on me and take ‘piggy back rides’ on me, it’s more that I am just feeling done,” writes Davina.
The mother reveals that the triplets gang up on her when she says no.
“I say no a lot. Our biggest challenge at the moment is lessons in respecting boundaries and body autonomy. For example, they ask for boobie and I don’t want to, I say ‘no’ and they gang up on me. They just keep coming at me, pulling at my clothes, trying to get my boobs out and just not listening to my ‘no’. It can be quite upsetting to not feel ‘heard’ by your own children in this situation. But they are only children and so it’s a repetitive lesson and I will continue reinforcing that this is my body and my rules – something I hope teaches them how to respect their own bodies as they get older,” writes the mother.
Davina says that they are down to only breastfeeding once or twice per day and that it really helps her children calm down.
“Now we are down to only once or twice a day, generally before bed and maybe on waking in the morning, for about 5-10 minutes. And I do still love how it calms them, especially at night as they go to sleep. There have been nights when they go to sleep without it for whatever reason and they are fine, but I do love that quiet one on one connection which may be the only quiet one on one time I get with them each day,” she writes.
The mother of five further states that there is a joy in breastfeeding older children.
“One of the nicest things about breastfeeding older children is that they are able to verbalise their joy of breastfeeding to you. Mine tell me quite often how much they love it and how happy it makes them. When people worry about them remembering nursing at this age (as if that’s a bad thing), I sure hope that it is these moments of love and happiness and connection that they do get to remember,” she says.
The World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding a child until they are two or older. According to The Irish Examiner, anthropologist Kathy Dettwyler, in her study The Natural Age of Weaning, concludes that biologically and physiologically, human weaning can occur anytime between the ages of 2 and 7. In our closest primate relatives, weaning happens when the first molars appear.