Mum Still Breastfeeds Her Five-Year-Old - And Says It Keeps Her From Getting Sick
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A Grimsby mum who still breastfeeds her kids at the age of five has attributed their good health to her nurturing.
Emma Shardlow Hudson, 29, still breastfeeds her daughter Aley, who is five years of age, as well as her two-year-old son Ollie.
"It's one of the biggest achievements of my life for sure, being able to nurture a child with my own body," said Emma. "It's a completely selfless thing to do, but it's probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life too.
"Before Alex was born, I wasn't sure if it was a normal thing to breastfeed for so long. But it wasn't even a conscious decision to keep feeding for so long - I just thought why stop when it's good for them? My attitude has changed over time."
She often feeds both at the same time, and in public, where she says that she mostly receives positive feedback. Emma also claims that her kids have had fewer illnesses as a result of her continuing to breastfeed them.
"When she started nursery there were quite a few bugs going around and she had nothing in comparison to her classmates," she said of her five-year-old.
"My kids are rarely ill, and I'm almost 100 percent positive that that is because of the antibodies in the milk. She's always been a comforted baby and wants milk when she's upset but I do think there's a lot about the antibodies which is really good for her. It's nice for me to be able to provide that for her.
"My husband Stuart is quite happy with it all. He can see it helps her so he's like whatever's best for her and you, which is what it is. He's not really got any massive opinion on it so long as everyone is happy. Obviously he knows the benefits of it. He's really supportive of it."
The NHS recommends that babies are breastfed up until the age of 6 months at the very earliest, but most are weaned by the age of one.
"Some people just tut and others actually go 'ugh' and walk away. It's not happened often which is amazing," she says of the public reaction to her children being breastfed.
"I have friends who don't breastfeed in public anymore because they're that scared which is horrible."
"It's only happened three or four times in those five years but if someone is not as confident as I've got over time with it they would probably find it quite off-putting. Apparently that old phrase 'if you've got nothing nice to say don't say anything at all' doesn't apply to breastfeeding.
Emma herself was fed by her mother until she was two.
"I don't see breastfeeding as something to be embarrassed about," she added.
"It completely equalises everyone because all women regardless of background can all do the same thing. Lots of people stop breastfeeding at three months because they get recommended to stop, which I think is a shame.
"It's a completely personal choice but so many people who want to breastfeed get told they can't when, with the right support, they probably could. It's having that all-round support and the confidence to keep going that has been so important to me."