Daily Mail Calls Extended Breastfeeding 'Horrifying'

Christie Haskell

Amanda Hurst probably didn't expect to be made into some kind of obsessed crazy woman when she spoke to Daily Mail about breastfeeding. I'm sure she didn't expect the entire article to suggest she was naive, thoughtless, and the biggest one, that she had a "horrifying" relationship with her older son.

What is it that supposedly makes her so crazy that the author suggests she only appears ordinary on the surface? What could she have done that the "expert" suggests that she's damaging her child psychologically?

Hurst merely tandem-breastfeeds her baby and her 6-year-old.

The title of the article alone, Amanda breastfeeds her six-year-old in tandem with her newborn -- horrifying or a loving bond? made me bristle, but nothing could have prepared me for the sensationalist, insulting, demeaning language within the article itself.

... instead of telling Jonathan he can have some milk from the fridge in the kitchen for his breakfast, Amanda happily pulls up the other side of her top.

So, somewhere along the line, our human children morph into cows and therefore it's much more logical that they drink milk from the fridge than from their human mothers. My son is 6 -- at what age is he supposed to turn into a cow?

When Jonathan was three, Amanda, quite rightly, told him he was too old to breastfeed.

Quite rightly? The author's discomfort with the idea of nursing even a toddler makes it unsurprising that she finds nursing an older child to be "horrifying" and sees no problem with slandering a mother who chooses to do so. She implies that a child who can "prop themselves up" is too old to nurse (my daughter liked to stand to nurse at 10 months), and says how when she arrived, the family seemed quite normal: apparently it's so weird that the entire family unit is abnormal. She has a distinct lack of ability to respect other views.

Even the idea of the older son having new front teeth "alarms" her. Baby teeth are called "milk teeth." Once they begin to fall out, adult teeth start coming in, and children actually lose the ability to suckle. You know, just like all other mammals. Yeah, even cows.

Amanda herself admits that years ago, she saw a friend breastfeeding her 3-year-old and her "eyes popped out," not out of disgust, but shock. A common reaction -- I once thought nursing a 2-year-old seemed odd, but when my son was 2 and still nursing, I understood. It really only seems odd if you haven't been there.

With the minimum recommended age of 2 and encouragement to go beyond, 3 is not that far away, nor strange. But with the defeatist attitude the author displays about how most moms barely make it initially and those who do usually give up at 6 months, is it really surprising that in a culture where women can't even make it out of infancy nursing that seeing toddlers nursing seems so foreign?

The author repeatedly promises negative emotional consequences and even quotes a psychologist:

She is ­teaching him to rely on someone else for comfort, which is not going to be helpful. I wonder, is the breastfeeding for his benefit or for hers?

How dare we teach children that family can be a source of comfort! Amanda repeatedly mentions how she tried to stop, but especially after the birth of their second child, her eldest wanted to nurse and she saw how it helped prevent jealousy issues; common in tandem nursing -- not for her benefit. Her husband saw her struggling with the choice and told her if she wasn't ready to just not stop yet. Additionally, the author and psychologist pointedly overlook the fact that Amanda mentions he only nurses once or twice daily, usually just in the morning.

This article paints extended breastfeeding in such a terrible light
, but it's obvious that the one with an issue here is the author. In other countries, yes even developed countries, breastfeeding into early childhood is considered normal. In Mongolia, the majority of children are breastfed into the childhood years. It's said that the best wrestlers were the children who were lucky enough to be breastfed the longest as well. Strange? Maybe to some of us, but Mongolia also has an 82 percent breastfeeding rate at the first birthday, a goal our country is so far from that it's "horrifying."

Countries with healthy breastfeeding rates look at it as a natural, common, everyday occurrence, unlike the UK and US. Advocates work hard on "normalizing" breastfeeding so it can stop being acceptable to treat breastfeeding mothers like sickos, and instead make people like the author realize they're the ones who could stand to grow up a little.

Do you feel it's the attitude about breastfeeding that dictates a culture's rates? 


Image via dailymail

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