A mother-of-three who still breastfeeds her nearly four-year-old daughter has opened up about the harsh criticism she has faced online, recalling how she was told her child would be ’emotionally messed up’ because of it.
Autumn, 25, and her husband, Tyler, believe in extended breastfeeding and natural weaning, meaning they’re letting their kids decide when they are ready to stop nursing for good.
The couple are parents to nearly-four-year-old Nova, one-year-old Forest, and newborn Ophelia, all of whom are being breastfed by their mother.
‘I still breastfeed my four-year-old alongside my two other children, and I won’t stop until they choose to stop,’ the mom shared on the Truly series ‘My Extraordinary Family.’
Autumn, 25, is still breastfeeding her nearly four-year-old daughter (left) along with her two other children
Autumn and her husband, Tyler, are parents to three-year-old Nova, one-year-old Forest, and newborn Ophelia, all of whom are being breastfed by her
Autumn and Tyler both admitted that they thought extended breastfeeding was ‘so weird’ before they had children, but becoming parents gave them a different perspective.
‘Before you even have kids, [if] someone tells you about nursing [children] until they’re like four or five, you’re like, “That’s crazy. They’re so old.” Now, when it’s your kid, you’re like, “Oh, okay, that makes complete sense now. I totally get it,”‘ Tyler explained.
When asked if they believed in extended breastfeeding, the dad joked: ‘I hope so. We’re four years into it.’
Autumn added that she doesn’t even remember what it’s like to not be breastfeeding at this point, saying: ‘If the youngest nurses as long as Nova, I have another four years.’
The parents believe in extended breastfeeding and natural weaning, meaning they’re letting their children decide when they want to stop nursing
Autumn and Tyler both used to think it was weird for kids to breastfeed until they were four or five, but becoming parents changed their perspective
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for about the first six months with continued breastfeeding for one year or longer while they are being introduced to appropriate complementary foods.
The couple’s baby girl nurses every couple of hours while their oldest, Nova, is down to breastfeeding every other day.
‘I wouldn’t say I really chose to still nurse my four-year-old. I just decided to let her self-wean,’ Autumn explained. ‘I read all the benefits about letting them make the choice to stop themselves.’
While the mom has gotten a lot of flack about her daughter being ‘too old’ to be breastfed, the National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states that natural weaning ‘usually takes place between two and four years of age.’
The couple’s baby girl nurses every couple of hours while their oldest, Nova, is down to breastfeeding every other day
‘I wouldn’t say I really chose to still nurse my four-year-old. I just decided to let her self-wean,’ Autumn explained
The mother-of-three said she read about the benefits of self-weaning and decided she would let her kids decide when they want to stop nursing for good
The National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states that natural weaning ‘usually takes place between two and four years of age’
‘In western cultures, there remains a relative intolerance to this type of weaning and many mothers who breastfeed older infants and children become “closet nursers,”‘ the NCBI added. ‘Closet nursing is nursing privately at home in secret and propagates ignorance about breastfeeding duration.’
Autumn said no one has ever criticized her directly in a public setting, but she has been getting looks for breastfeeding since Nova was a baby.
She recalled nursing her eldest child in Walmart when she was about 10 or 11 months old, saying: ‘I definitely got some nasty looks.’
However, the mom added that people have said ‘really horrible things’ to her while commenting on her social media posts.
Autumn shared that people have said ‘really horrible things’ to her while commenting on her social media posts
One online troll told her that her ‘kid is going to be emotionally messed up’ from extended breastfeeding
Autumn said the comments were ‘a lot harder’ to handle in the beginning, and she would often show them to Tyler ‘and then cry about it.’ Now, she just thinks they’re ‘annoying’
She shared how one online troll wrote: ‘While I totally love and agree with breastfeeding, this is just plain wrong. [Your] kid is going to be emotionally messed up.’
Autumn said the comments were ‘a lot harder’ to handle in the beginning, and she would often show them to Tyler ‘and then cry about it.’
‘They don’t hurt anymore. They are just more like annoying,’ she explained, adding that she wished someone had told her that she shouldn’t have ‘really high expectations’ about what her breastfeeding journey should look like.
‘The advice I would give moms that want to extended nurse is that it’s normal. It’s natural, and that it doesn’t matter what your grandma or mother-in-law or friend or person on social media says.’
She added: ‘You should do what you feel is best for you and your child.’