Sophie Rose, also known as the Breastfeeing Mama, is on a mission to let other moms know it's OK to nurse older children without feeling ashamed.
The 40-year-old mother lives in Thailand and is doing her part to normalize breastfeeding, especially in older children. She has a YouTube channel which frequently documents her breastfeeding her 4-year-old son, Shaye. Rose has over 15,000 subscribers watcher her videos, in which she calls breastfeeding a very "beautiful and intimate" thing and recommends everyone make it a part of their normal reality.
"There's still a lot of controversy and shock around breastfeeding an older child, and I just want to expose it, and expose it, and expose it until it becomes normal," she says in the video as she breastfeeds her son.
WARNING: The rest of the post contains images of Sophie breastfeeding her son, which some may find offensive]
Sophie Rose says she's aware that some people may find her son is too old to be breastfed. She even admits that she wasn't breastfed as a child. But Rose is coming around to a style called "attachment parenting", where she focuses on nurturing a connection with her son through breastfeeding and co-sleeping.
Shaye is old enough to understand what's happening with the breast feeding. On average, he breastfeeds about 4 times a day but if he gets hungry, he'll ask for more.
One of Sophie's followers brought up an interesting point: do other kids Shaye's age know he still breastfeeds? And do they make fun of him for it?
The Breasfeeding Mama had a great response:
"I've always fed him in front of other kids, they ask what it is, I explain he's having milk, that milk comes from breasts and they just accept it and get on with whatever they are doing ;)"
Sophie says she hopes to live in a world where breastfeeding mothers "didn't feel ashamed about feeding in public, where they felt they were able to feed wherever they wanted and there was no negative comments, repercussions (or) feeling fear."
Rose suggests that breastfeeding for longer can help boost a child's brain development, which can lead to a more intelligent person. It also helps to build an emotional connection between mother and child.
"I'll breastfeed Shaye for as long as he wants it, that is the goal," notes Rose. "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."
You can watch Sophie's video about her mission here. She breastfeeds Shaye through the video, so if that's something that makes you uncomfortable I would recommend skipping it.
Do you feel Sophie Rose is breastfeeding her son too long? Or is it perfectly acceptable to breastfeed based the infant stage? Let us know what you think!