child breastfeeding

Mom Breastfeeds Her 5 & 6-Year-Old Boys in Public and Says It’s Normal

One mom breastfeeds her two boys and plans to continue until they want to stop. Sheryl Wynne’s sons, Riley and Mylo, are five and six years old. Although her family questions this uncommon practice, Wynne, 39, insists that it’s completely normal and has created a lifelong bond between her and her sons. She calls “mummy milk” the “ultimate parenting tool” since it helps calm and comfort the kids before school, in the evening, during the night, and generally when they feel ill or upset. However, she does admit it garners a lot of criticism.

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It’s biologically normal even if it’s not in society

Wynne originally planned to stop breastfeeding when Riley was three, but she decided to include the boys in this decision. And Riley stated he won’t stop until he turns 10. Wynne, a hypnobirthing teacher and doula, said, “I think about when I’ll stop all of the time. It’s never felt right to end it unnecessarily. It’s what they’re asking for and it’s biologically normal even if it’s not in society. 

We started the conversation when Riley was three when they would stop having mummy milk and Riley said when he’s ten and I told him there’s no chance,” she continued. “The choice isn’t just mine, it’s a relationship because it’s something we do together. It’s not like I don’t have a choice, a lot of the time they ask for it and I’ll tell them to get off. I do wonder if they’d just stay on there all night. 

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She concluded, “It’s made us closer. It’s the fact they know they can come to me and be comforted any time.” She added that breastfeeding is part of her “toolbox” to soothe the boys, but not the only tool. “It’s about comfort. If they’re ill, that’s where they want to be to help them calm down but we don’t live in a society that’s supportive of that after infancy which is why we don’t see it. They want to be with me and snuggle with me even when they aren’t breastfeeding.” [1]

Despite all of the naysayers, Wynne sticks to her guns. “They question whether the way my children behave is anything to do with them being breastfed. They’re hard work but that’s children. People think they’re experts in other people’s children but I’m not doing it blind even though I am following my instincts in many ways.”

Read: ‘After my son was born they brought me a girl instead and argued with me’

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He was asking for mummy milk in the playground…

However, Wynne tries to keep this negativity away from her sons. While Riley has begun to pick up on the criticism, Mylo is still comfortable with the situation. “My eldest wouldn’t ask for it when we’re out because he knows other people will see but he will behind closed doors but my youngest is confident. Before Mylo went into preschool he was asking for mummy milk in the playground in the morning. He took me to the bench and I had to dig deep into myself. I wanted to tell him we weren’t doing it there because people could see but I didn’t want to pass my anxieties onto him.

Wynne became determined to breastfeed Mylo after struggling to nurse after Riley’s difficult birth. She explained that breastfeeding helped overcome the trauma that came from the arduous experience. So she began to tandem feed them until they got too big to nurse at the same time.

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Breastfeeding helped me to keep that connection going and I had it in my head that I wanted to tandem breastfeed,” she added. “It felt magical and empowering to be sustaining two babies at the same time. I had a traumatic birth and because of that experience, I felt like a failure. I felt like I hadn’t done it right so I needed the breastfeeding relationship to succeed.

“It wasn’t until I started breastfeeding Riley that I learned what it was about… It’s hard to give all of yourself to this little person and not give yourself a break. To get to where I am now couldn’t have happened if I hadn’t gone on to have my healing birth with Mylo. Everything changed after that.” [2]

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How Long Should Mothers Breastfeed?

The duration of breastfeeding often depends on the needs of a mother and her baby. Many major health organizations recommend nursing for a minimum of six to 12 months but some health professionals recommend longer than that, depending on each individual case. 

There are many benefits to extended breastfeeding, including providing nutrients for the baby from breast milk. Plus, it helps the mom and baby continue to connect when the toddler becomes mobile and constantly on the move. Additionally, nursing can comfort and soothe the child, while helping them regulate their emotions. There are benefits for the mother as well. Extended breastfeeding is associated with protection against maternal disease, and lessened risk of heart attacks, diabetes, obesity, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. 

However, extended breastfeeding comes with some concerns. One primary issue is the stigma against breastfeeding past the first year. Many maintain that children don’t need breastfeeding after milestones like eating solids, teething, or “when they can ask for it”. Some claim mothers force their kids to continue, but keep in mind, that no once can force a child to nurse. Extended breastfeeding must be a mutual relationship. 

One of the main stigmas against extended breastfeeding says it affects the child’s emotional development. It allegedly makes them needy and dependent on their parents. However, there isn’t strong proof to support this idea. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) states, “There is no evidence that extended breastfeeding is harmful to mother or child.” Rather, the AAFP states that it can lead to children’s “better social adjustment”. [3]

Keep Reading: Mom shamed for breastfeeding in public, refuses to cover up, and continues feeding baby like a boss

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Sources

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  1. “Mum still breastfeeds sons, 5 and 6, before school and won’t stop ‘until they ask her’.Mirror. Hannah Phillips and Sam Elliot-Gibbs. October 20, 2021
  2. “I breastfeed my boys aged 5 and 6 in the playground – I won’t stop until they’re ready.New York Post. Becky Pemberton. October 21, 2021
  3. “Extended Breastfeeding: Can You Nurse for Too Long?Healthline. Wendy Wisner. March 25, 2020
Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.
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