Mum still breastfeeds 6-year-old daughter and won't stop until she asks

Mum still breastfeeds 6-year-old daughter and won't stop until she asks
Published: 2014 December 28 08:57:59 (9376 Views)
44-year-old Denise Sumpter, from Islington, North London, is still breastfeeding her six-and-a-half years old daughter Belle who is believed to be the oldest child in the UK known to be taking her mother's milk

She will ask for a feed if she is tired, ill or simply wants some bonding time with her mum.

She might ask a couple of times a day, or maybe just once or twice a week.

Sometimes she feeds on her own, and other times she latches on alongside 18-month-old brother Beau.

And Denise, 44, insists she will continue until Belle decides it is time to stop.

"I'll feed Belle as long as she asks," she says. "I don't know how long that will be. It will be the same with Beau. I don't think there's anything weird about it.

"I feed both children on demand – ­whenever they want it."

Belle is a head taller than most of her classmates and has rarely been ill.

Her mother puts this down to her "mama's milk", and for the confidence of her clever daughter – a talented violinist, singer and dancer who is top of the class in most subjects.

Denise, a PhD student of ancient science, says: "I have two healthy, bright, confident children who I truly believe have benefitted from breast milk, and continue to do so."

Denise has the backing of partner Jules Deering, 47, a technical director at a university drama department.



"Breastfeeding hasn't impacted my sex life in any way," she says. "It hasn't ruined my breasts."

In fact she credits it with helping her keep her figure and her health, saying: "I'm protected from various cancers and can eat what I want without gaining weight."

But she insists that the benefits it gives to her children are her driving force. "Mums who feed for longer are often accused of being selfish," she says.

Denise admits her choice has raised eyebrows, saying: "I used to get the odd comment from relatives who'd say 'here we go with the milk thing again'. But I think because people know I'm confident in my decision they let me get on with it."

However, Belle no longer feeds from her mother in public. "I will sometimes tell Belle no. She hasn't asked to be fed publicly since she was about four or five. Luckily, I haven't had many negative responses."

The mum of two had never planned to continue breastfeeding for so long.

When Belle was a newborn Denise expected to feed her for six months to a year at the most – but when the time came she began to change her mind.

"I heard women talking about tricking their babies to stop breastfeeding, or simply taking it away," she says. "Belle seemed so tiny and she really needed her milk."

Once she started to look into the subject she discovered baby-led weaning. "It became clear that the norms in this country aren't necessarily correct or what is best for children," she says.

"The World Health Organisation ­recommends breastfeeding up to two years and beyond. I decided to let nature play its course."

Denise found help and advice through groups such as breastfeeding support organisation La Leche League. "Having a strong support network is really important," she says.

Denise says: "Belle understands not everyone breastfeeds as long as her, but she's proud of it. She'll pretend to breastfeed her dolls. The other day at playgroup Beau picked up a toy bottle and didn't have a clue what it was. I was proud of that."




Source - Mirror

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