U.K. mom Leanne Allerton is a popular YouTuber. She posts videos about life and parenting, but this spring she accidentally set off a months-long Internet drama after talking about breastfeeding 3-year-old daughter, Poppy.
Allerton has six kids and told The Sun that she prefers to wean her kids when they’re old enough to be able to understand that it’s time to stop nursing. She likes involving them in the decision about when to stop. Her older son was four when he stopped. She says that to wean him, they had a little discussion about how he was big now and didn’t need baby milk. He was OK with that.
His 3-year-old sister is still nursing, but only really at night. Allerton told The Daily Mail that if her daughter asks to nurse during the day now, she says to wait until bedtime. Usually, she’s OK with that. Allerton says Poppy will be four in November.
The nighttime feeding is usually the last one to go. Three is longer than many people nurse, but it’s not completely outlandish. Still, she’s been getting a swarm of comments about how what she’s doing is “gross” and “unnatural.”
Nursing on YouTube
Back in May Allerton posted a video where she talked about how she’s been breastfeeding for eight years. In the video, she nursed her 3-year-old, and things got a bit crazy in the comments. Now people are paying attention again, and the video just hit a million views.
Of course, we can probably predict what the commenters are saying. The comments were full of people saying a three-year-old is too big to be breastfed. Plenty said it was “unnatural,” and said breastfeeding a three-year-old was weird, unnecessary, or even abusive.
According to Romper, people even called her a “slut.” That’s ridiculous and offensive. Calling women sluts is not appropriate in any circumstance. Breastfeeding is not sexual, so the slur isn’t even logical.
“How do you expect your child to grow and prosper socially when they are still relying on your boobs for sustenance?” said one user. “This isn’t natural. This is not wanting your child to grow up. It’s not necessary. It’s sickening honestly.”
Another woman seemed to think the only reason for breastfeeding a three-year-old was to feel smugly superior to other mothers.
“It most certainly is for the mum feeling she is a better mum when she ‘sacrifices’ herself in this way,” she wrote.
Allerton says she was prepared for the comments and was ready to delete and block any unnecessary trolling. That seems like a pretty sensible response.
Whether or not to breastfeed and when to stop breastfeeding is a person’s choice. Allerton’s not doing anything wrong by nursing her three-year-old. The best time to stop breastfeeding is when the parent and the kid decide is best for them.
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(H/t Romper, Image: Facebook / Leeann Allerton)