child breastfeeding

Mom Shamed Online For Breastfeeding Her Four-Year-Old Son

Breastfeeding is a controversial subject. According to the experts, if able, breastfeeding is ideal for our growing babies and has many benefits. But, in the same breath, mothers still have to deal with being shamed and criticized for feeding their children by breast. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. There are so many stories about mothers having to deal with being shunned for doing what their bodies intended, like this mom shamed online for breastfeeding.

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This mom was shamed online for breastfeeding her son.

What makes her story slightly more controversial, is the fact that her son is already four-years-old. Riona O’Connor is a mother just like you or me. She lives in the UK and has two beautiful healthy happy children. However, Riona received a lot of backlash and criticism after posting a photo of herself breastfeeding her son. [1]

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The controversial mom also runs a popular page on Facebook, Riona – The Unnatural Woman. Here, she shares her hilarious videos which are very popular. However, no matter how popular she may be, Riona was still mom shamed online for breastfeeding.

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Despite the backlash, Riona isn’t afraid to tell her truth.

No matter what you believe, it’s never okay to shame anyone online for anything. Let alone breastfeeding. Riona posted this image back in July 2019. It was a post wishing her son a happy birthday. She even wrote in the caption, “I never thought that when the midwife first laid him on my breast that I would still be doing this 4 years later”.

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Riona – The Unnatural Woman | Facebook

Although she received many positive comments, so many were negative, and she was mom-shamed online for breastfeeding her son.

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Some of the comments from moms who supported her choice as a mother.

mom shamed online for breastfeeding
Image via mrsrionaoconnor | Facebook

Some of the more negative comments included people saying things like  “If the child is old enough to tell you that they are thirsty, then they are too old to breastfeed.” and shockingly, even telling Riona that it was abusive behavior.”

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The controversial post received around 3,500 comments.[2]

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This commenter said while she didn’t agree, she supported Rionas choice. Which is the kind of support us moms should be getting!

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Image Credit: Rachelle Marie Gardner | Facebook

This mom shamed online for breastfeeding draws tons of attention

And she used the attention to help normalize extended breastfeeding. Riona says that she received tons of messages from other mothers who have also been shamed online for breastfeeding.

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I never thought I’d get to help [normalize] breastfeeding and extended bI never thought I’d get to help normalize breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding or natural term weaning. I had no idea how many women struggled to breastfeed in public or around their families whose disapproving looks or sharp ill-informed comments made them hide away while feeding or stop completely before they or their children were ready.

The messages in my inbox have me in tears. Not the negative messages no, but the positive stories of their breastfeeding experience and how it helped their children through surgeries, huge leaps, comforting them, and being such a wonderful way to bond and give love. Child abuse? I think not. I support women no matter how you feed your baby.

While I certainly had no idea I’d be feeding and tandem feeding with a four-month-old four years on or how huge a deal it would be with my post going viral and getting the attention of the national press. To me it’s simple, a no-brainer, we feed until he is ready to stop. That’s it! It works for us both so why not?! That’s my main message in all areas of parenting, do what works for you! If I can help make breastfeeding a stigma-free zone then great! I just might avoid the comments.”

Riona O Connor | Facebook

A year later, Riona uploaded an update. And it got people really mad!

July 2020, she uploaded a new image, showing her breastfeeding both her children at once. Her children at the time were aged one and five.

Despite this mom being shamed online for breastfeeding, she admits she did not intend to be breastfeeding this long.

It was never my intention to breastfeed this long, nor did I have an end date in mind. It’s just happened this way and I’m so happy that it did”

Riona O Connor
Image Credit: Riona O Connor | Facebook

At the end of the day, it really does not matter what your opinion is. Shaming a mom for feeding her babies is never going to be okay. We, as parents, deserve to make our own choices in raising our kids. No matter how you feel about the topic, it’s time to stand together as mothers.

Keep Reading: ‘I smoke weed after putting my kids to bed – it’s no worse than a glass of wine’

References

  1. Mum’s pride at still breastfeeding her four-year-old son – but critics have called it child abuse.” The Sun. Lydia Hawken. July 3, 2019.
  2. Riona O Connor. Facebook
Jade Small
Freelance Writer
Jade is a freelance writer and content creator from South Africa with over 7 years experience writing and creating. She's also a proud single mom to a super 13 year old boy.
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