updated 25 Dec 2010, 13:41
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Wed, Dec 22, 2010
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Distasteful to breastfeed 6-year-old and baby in tandem?

A British mother has been getting some attention for her son's drinking habits. Six-year-old Jonathan still occasionally asks to be breastfed by his mother.

Amanda Hurst, who also has a five-month-old baby, William, found it difficult to refuse her son's request for 'lellow', a made-up word that Jonathan uses when he wants to drink milk from his mum.

But she does not shy away from breastfeeding her two sons at the same time. She had once tried to stop feeding Jonathan when he turned three years old, but was met with tantrums and decided to continue. Her older son then became even more interested in breastfeeding when his younger brother came along.

Amanda, from the South Yorkshire village of Hemingfield, is a firm believer in the benefits of breastmilk. But it was for practical reasons that she refrained from giving her elder son formula milk in a country where two-thirds of new mothers attempt to feed their babies with breastmilk.

The cost of buying formula milk, for one, was a major reason for why she persisted with breastfeeding.

She told UK's Daily Mail: ‘We were skint. We had my husband Roy’s income as a warehouseman but out of that we had to pay for food, the mortgage and running a car.

‘We used cloth nappies as we couldn’t afford disposables and when it came to feeding we couldn’t afford the formula. It just made financial sense.’

The World Health Organisation recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, followed by breastfeeding with other foods for those ‘up to two years of age or beyond’.

While she has not encountered much trouble while breastfeeding her baby in public, societal norms tend to creep in once a baby becomes a walking, talking toddler.

Says Amanda: "There are people who find it hard to understand, Including my mum and dad, but they respect me for standing up and being counted."

Family support also helped in her decision to keep going. Husband Roy has encouraged her to continue breastfeeding their older son.

She also believes that older son Jonathan is more confident because of breastfeeding.

She added: "I think that if anything, being breastfed has made him more confident as he knows he can always come back to base. If you believe the research, breastfeeding benefits me as it lowers the risk of breast cancer, it helps the children as it gives them immunity, it helps anxiety levels and it’s natural."

And when she was asked if she would continue breastfeeding until Jonathan was seven, eight years old, she replied that she would "carry on until the child does not want it any more", but "I would like him to grow out of it."


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