When it comes to breastfeeding, many people have a strong opinion on the dos and don’ts of the practice. Women who breastfeed in public have come under fire from people who find the act offensive, while mothers who don’t breastfeed at all have also been shamed. But one mother from England has set tongues wagging about a different approach to breastfeeding. 36-year-old Miira Dawson of Dorset still breastfeeds her five-year-old daughter Tara, and hopes to do so until Tara is ten years old.
Some people believe that breastfeeding until the older years aids intelligence
Miira believes that breastfeeding children beyond the regular six months to a year timeframe increases their IQ and makes them smarter. Her husband Jim agrees on this front, saying, “Tara is an extremely bright girl and is very grown up for her age. So for now, I will continue to allow it.”
Miira claims that the health and mental benefits of breastfeeding are scientifically proven. While not a huge amount of health and sociology experts explicitly endorse breastfeeding into the later years, there’s also no concrete evidence to prove it’s harmful or wrong in any way. “It's very rare to find someone who is still naturally feeding a child of six years,” says Dr. Maria Iacovou, sociologist at the University of Cambridge. “But there is absolutely no evidence that there is anything wrong, so why would mothers stop if it works for them?”
Miira also believes in the importance of co-sleeping
Miira and Jim have another child, a two-year-old son named Ray Lee, who Miira also breastfeeds. And the three of them share a bed, while husband Jim sleeps in a separate room due to health reasons. “My children have never had to cry to sleep, or sleep on their own, or wake up in the night and be afraid — because I'm there,” says Miira of the co-sleeping practice
They’re not the only ones.
Miira Dawson is far from the only mother who’s gained attention in the media for breastfeeding grown children. Jamie Lynn Grumet famously appeared on the cover of TIME magazine breastfeeding her son, Aram, who was almost four years old at the time of the photo shoot. The cover was accompanied by an article on “attachment parenting”, which encourages parents to breastfeed their children up to four years old.
Another mother, Ann Sinnott, breastfed her daughter until the age of six, and has actually written a book on the subject called “Breastfeeding Older Children.” “Breastmilk is perfect,” Ann claims. “It changes to meet the needs of children whatever their age.”