- Publish Date
- Sunday, 24 June 2018, 10:50AM
A mum who still breastfeeds her 7-year-old knows it is not usual practice but says she is not ashamed of it.
Adelaide-based Lisa Bridger told Kidspot breastfeeding her 7-year-old boy, who is on the autism spectrum, was an invaluable tool.
"Breastfeeding has prevented him having to go on to medication because it calms him down. It calms and grounds him and is a fantastic way to reconnect, too," she said.
"We tried melatonin but it didn't work as I couldn't get him to swallow it. He gets melatonin from my breastmilk. I can shorten the meltdowns by feeding him. It is a great tool to help with autism."
Bridger has five children and, at 46, has been breastfeeding for more than 20 years.
During that time, she's even tandem fed.
"When I had my first it was just natural. He latched on and that was it. No one ever told me there was a cut-off age and I didn't know about the WHO guidelines. They requested and I gave; it just worked," she said.
The mother-of-five currently breastfeeds 7-year-old Chase and 4-year-old Phoenix. Both boys are on the autism spectrum.
Bridger says she never encountered any trouble breastfeeding her children in public, not even her older ones.
Online, however, keyboard warriors have flooded her with abuse at times.
"Anyone feeding a child beyond a year gets accused of child abuse, pornography, damaging their health and told that if they walk and talk they don't need it. How is respecting their needs abuse? You can't breastfeed a piranha," she said, explaining that Chase and Phoenix are happy to choose to breastfeed.
The mum admits she is looking forward to getting her body back.
"It has been a long, long time feeding the 7-year-old. Some kids have blankets and dummies and mine just feed," she said.
The boys are slowly weaning off. Chase has cut down from 15-20 feeds a day to one or two but he still needs to be fed to sleep at night.
In her spare time, the mum runs the website Occupy Breastfeeding, aiming to educate others about the benefits of breastfeeding.
"I try to educate people who say negative things to me. Bottle feeding has become so normal that the whole idea of breastfeeding grosses people out. It is normal and okay, and I am not harming my kids. Natural term weaning is four to seven years," she said.
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is reproduced here with permission.