Mother Who Continues to Breastfeed 4-Year-Old Son Has No Intentions of Stopping

A mom who still breastfeeds her four-year-old son has no intentions of stopping. Allison Yarrow, a journalist and the author of Birth Control: The Insidious Power of Men Over Motherhood, shared that breastfeeding is a way for her to “connect and communicate” with her son. They do it once or twice a day, and she emphasizes that she wouldn’t continue if she didn’t enjoy it.

As per the NHS, it’s suggested that babies have only breast milk for about the first six months of their lives. After this time, it’s considered okay for babies to keep breastfeeding for ‘2 years and beyond, alongside eating other foods’.

“We haven’t stopped breastfeeding because breastfeeding works for us,” the young mom told PEOPLE Magazine in an interview. “It’s something we do once or twice a day. Sometimes it happens more than that if he’s hurt or sick, but it is a way that we connect and communicate with each other.”

For Yarrow, it’s not just about the communication benefits; she believes there are several advantages to breastfeeding for an extended period. She mentions that research indicates breastfeeding can lower the risks of breast and ovarian cancers. Yarrow also notes that breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, which makes the experience feel good.

“It’s a way of connecting. And I don’t think I would still be doing it if I didn’t enjoy it. I wouldn’t be just sacrificing myself at this stage. My 4-year-old has other food, right? He’s not coming to me for food,” she said.

“We still breastfeed because it’s a way to connect with each other. We feel good. It’s intimacy. It’s looking into each other’s eyes. It’s cuddling. It’s having a physical connection. And that strengthens our connection in general,” Yarrow continued.

Despite recognizing the advantages of extended breastfeeding for her 4-year-old, Yarrow acknowledges that it can be considered taboo in American culture to breastfeed children beyond the age of 2.

“Our culture really doesn’t support women doing things with their bodies that they want to be doing, so that certainly extends into breastfeeding,” she said. “There’s really poor research about extended breastfeeding. There isn’t a lot of it.”

“And women and people who give birth are really hampered in their quest to breastfeed after their babies are born. We know that the majority of people who give birth want to breastfeed, but most don’t even meet their own breastfeeding goals because accessing lactation support is incredibly difficult.”

Yarrow believes that when it comes to any challenges with breastfeeding, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. She mentions, “It’s actually not very much of a commitment. I mean, it’s just a few minutes a day, if that, and it’s something I want to be doing too.”

Breastfeeding can be different for each child. Yarrow shared that her youngest son continues to enjoy breastfeeding, while she stopped breastfeeding her other two children before they turned 2. When questioned about any distinctions she’s noticed in her son who still breastfeeds compared to her other kids, she expressed uncertainty.

“My son who I breastfeed is a very cuddly, physical guy. He’s [got] very intense feelings, but I don’t know if…it’s kind of like a chicken or egg thing. I don’t know if he’s sort of more cuddly at this stage than his siblings because of that breastfeeding or if we are breastfeeding longer because he internally just has this need to physically connect that’s more pronounced than it was with my other kids at their age.”

Yarrow has no immediate plans to stop breastfeeding her son and doesn’t feel bound by any specific deadlines. While considering the idea of stopping when he starts kindergarten, she views it as a socially imposed deadline. Emphasizing the relationship aspect, Yarrow sees breastfeeding as a shared intimacy, with decisions about it being made together.

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Source: PEOPLE

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