Denise Sumpter’s six-year-old daughter, Belle is still breast-feeding and Denise says she’ll continue do to so until Belle decides it’s time to stop.
“I’ll feed Belle as long as she asks,” the 44-year-old mother told the Daily Mail.
Belle doesn’t rely solely on Denise’s milk anymore. The little girl nurses anywhere from twice a day to once a week. Sometimes she’ll join her 18-month-old brother, Beau in a feeding. Other times she’ll latch one when she’s looking for some one-on-one time with her mother.
“I don’t think there’s anything weird about it. I feed both children on demand, whenever they want it,” Denise says.
Denise, a PhD student studying ancient science in London, credits her “mama’s milk” to the vigor of her kids. She says, “My children have hardly been ill. Beau came down with something the other day and because I nursed him through it he was better in 24 hours. I’ve had similar with Belle. If they’re upset it calms them. It helps them sleep.”
Why I Refuse to Feel Shame for Bottle Feeding
Though we can’t say conclusively that breast-milk cured her son’s ailment, and not everyone believes “breast is best,” the American Academy of Pediatrics does boast the many child and maternal health benefits of breast-feeding, however, not everyone agrees with Denise’s decision to breast-feed for as long as she has.
“I used to get the odd comment from relatives who’d say ‘Here we go with the milk thing again,’ but I think because people know I’m confident in my decision they let me get on with it.”
She also discredits claims that Belle is developing a harmful dependency on her.
“People think by feeding Belle this long I will stunt her confidence. But she is extremely independent,” she told the Daily Mail.
“Her teachers say she is mature for her age. If you’d asked me five years ago I never would have thought I’d still be breast-feeding Belle. However, it turned out to be one of the best things I could have done for my family.”
Denise says that her daughter understands that she is not the norm. According to the Daily Mail, she’s the oldest child still being breast-fed in the UK. However, for Belle, it all feels natural. She even pretends to breast-feed her dolls.
“When Belle finishes I’ll be sad but it’s a natural progression. Her milk teeth are going and I get the impression she won’t be feeding for much longer. But she can take her time.”
And as for her son, Denise intends to breast-feed him as long as she has Belle, provided that’s what he wants.
“The other day at playgroup Beau picked up a toy bottle and didn’t have a clue what it was. I was proud of that.”