British mum posts videos to encourage others to let older children breastfeed

A British mother is encouraging other women to consider breastfeeding older children by posting videos of her feeding her four-and-half-year old son.

Sophie Emma Rose, 40, is originally from Blackpool, but now lives in Chiang Mai in Thailand with partner Danny, and son, Shaye.

Rose said her mission is to "normalise breastfeeding older kids" and "wanted to expose it until it becomes part of normal reality'.

"I want other mothers to feel confident about feeding older children", she said.

"I also want mothers to not feel shame and to feel they could do it wherever they want and have no negative comments or fear."

She said: "Breastfeeding older children is so important. As well as the nutritional value of breast milk, you also let your child know in a very physical way that you are there for them.

It's about the comfort and emotional connection.

"When I look at some of the negative comments on my channel, I'm amazed that some people still feel strongly about how wrong it is to breastfeed a child and share that over YouTube. But I'm going to continue uploading videos.

"I think the work I'm doing affirms other mums who want to breastfeed older kids or babies. I feel the act of me breastfeeding without shame on YouTube sends the message out that it is OK.

"Whilst most of my friends think it's ordinary to breastfeed older kids, other people in the world think breastfeeding is crazy, exhibitionism, porn, shocking and ridiculous.

"I want to work with that schism and bring breastfeeding more into the public eye through my videos."

The mother said ending breastfeeding would be 'a withdrawal of my love and nurturing'.
The mother said ending breastfeeding would be 'a withdrawal of my love and nurturing'.

She added: "We have been conditioned in western culture to see breasts as a sexual part of the body, so you see it as sexual when really it's not sexually intimacy at all. I don't feel sexual pleasure when Shaye feeds, it's a nice sensation but not a sexual act."

Rose's YouTube channel Sophie's Joy Breastfeeding Mama has amassed more than eight million views.

As well as breastfeeding Shaye on demand, the 40-year-old regularly shares a bed with him and home schools him.

She commented: "As a child, I wasn't breastfed and was given my own room fairly early on. My parents did their best but they weren't aware of the things we're aware of now in psychology.

"Attachment parenting is about treating a child with dignity and respect and meeting their emotional needs fully. Practices like co-sleeping and breastfeeding make a child feel close and reassured.

"I'll breastfeed Shaye for as long as he wants it - that is the goal. I know that breastfeeding does end - children eventually lose the latch and are not physically able to breastfeed past the age of about seven or eight years old.

"I have no fears that I'm going to be feeding Shaye at 18 years old when he's at university!"

In one video Rose explains how distressed she would be when she no longer breastfeeds Shaye.

She said: "It would be upsetting...a withdrawal of my love and nurturing. It would be a significant change for him.

"It would be upsetting and traumatic that time where we have no way of understand or rationalising what's happened and why a mother would withdraw that wonderful supportive loving connection from us. [So] I am going to stay with it and keeping feeding him until he decides he's ready to stop. I am going to continue as it feels like the most loving thing to do."

As well as home-schooling Shaye, Sophie has also raised him on a high-raw vegan diet.

"Homeschooling Shaye involves a lot of play, following his interests and answering his questions. If I can't answer his question, we'll look online or read a book. But I am open to let Shaye try school clubs and activities and see if he likes it.

"Shaye's diet is very healthy and we follow a high-raw vegan diet. For breakfast and lunch, he'll have fruit something like a watermelon followed by a mango and banana smoothie. And he can have as many fruits as he wants all through the day.

"Whilst for dinner, he might have something cooked for example, a curry with rice or potatoes with corn and beans. Or he might have a salad. He likes to take lettuce leaves and wrap them up with tomato, hemp seeds and avocado in."

Addressing questions from her followers about whether Shaye may get teased for her videos, she said: "I hear the concerns but what I want to address is the ease that people accept this bullying exists as though they are powerless against it.

"My question to the people who say Shaye may get bullied...would you accept a situation if your child was getting bullied? Would you continue sending them to same school or do something about it?

"I would not want my child to attend any place where bullying was going on...if I found he was being bullied I would seek a solution or take him out of the club or class where he was getting bullied. I do not have unsafe people in my life.

"I would work with what was happening at the time not some vague fear in the future. Nothing is more important than my child being safe."

- Daily Mail

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