A mum-of-two who still breastfeeds her five and six-year-old sons say it has cemented their bond and made them “closer.”
Sheryl Wynne, 39, from Wakefield, says she’ll continue to nurse the boys until they decide to give up breastmilk on their own.
She argues it’s completely normal to breastfeed Riley, six, and Mylo, five, before school, in the evening and throughout the night.
The mum says breastfeeding is the “ultimate parenting tool” which helps to calm the boys down when they’re upset or ill.
Although she’s proud of her parenting skills, Sheryl, who works as a hypnobirthing teacher and doula, admits she’s received negative comments from family members over her decision.
She claims some people question if “the way her children behave” is anything to do with the fact they’re still breastfed. But she hits back, saying “that’s children.”
Sheryl said: “I think about when I’ll stop all the time.
“It’s never felt right to end it unnecessarily. It’s what they’re asking for and it’s biologically normal even if it’s not in society.
“We started the conversation when Riley was three when they would stop having mummy milk and Riley said when he’s ten and I told him there’s no chance.
“The choice isn’t just mine, it’s a relationship because it’s something we do together.
“It’s not like I don’t have a choice, a lot of the time they ask for it and I’ll tell them to get off.”
She added it’s strengthened her bond with her boys, who can come to her and be comforted whenever they need it.
“It’s formed part of our relationship and that’s my main drive for continuing breastfeeding,” she said.
Sheryl says lots of friends and people she knows have questioned if she should stop breastfeeding the boys, but she’s happy to make her own parenting decisions without influence from anyone else.
She said: “People think they’re experts in other people’s children but I’m not doing it blind even though I am following my instincts in many ways.
“Riley and Mylo pick up on people’s opinions. My eldest wouldn’t ask for it when we’re out because he knows other people will see but he will behind closed doors but my youngest is confident.
“Before Mylo went into preschool he was asking for mummy milk in the playground in the morning.
“He took me to the bench and I had to dig deep into myself. I wanted to tell him we weren’t doing it there because people could see but I didn’t want to pass my anxieties onto him.”
After the trauma of giving birth, Sheryl claims breastfeeding helped her recover. Although she struggled to nurse Riley at first, she eventually got him to latch on. Then when Mylo was born, she was determined to make it work.
She then tandem fed the boys until they were too big to be fed at the same time.
Sheryl said: “Breastfeeding helped me to keep that connection going and I had it in my head that I wanted to tandem breastfeed. It felt magical and empowering to be sustaining two babies at the same time.
“I had a traumatic birth and because of that experience I felt like a failure. I felt like I hadn’t done it right so I needed the breastfeeding relationship to succeed.
“It wasn’t until I started breastfeeding Riley that I learned what it was about. It was a lot harder than I thought.”
Now, she hopes she can help dispel some of the myths surrounding natural term breastfeeding – which is the practice of nursing until the child chooses to wean.
Sheryl said: “I don’t feel like I ever made the decision to breastfeed. It’s what I always imagined doing and it felt quite natural.
“I remember playing with dolls while little and pretending to breastfeed them because I thought that’s what you do and that’s where milk comes from. That’s what I wanted to do.
“It was a really nice experience for all three of us to do that together. Riley would reach out and stroke Mylo’s head or hold his hand and that’d how I felt it was supposed to be and I was a lot more confident with my own body.”