'Help, my six-year-old wants to breastfeed again: should I let her?'

'My six-year-old daughter wants to breastfeed again.'
'My six-year-old daughter wants to breastfeed again.' Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Every mother and baby are different, and so are their circumstances around breastfeeding

However once your child has been weaned years prior, it's safe to assume that chapter has closed. So understandably, a mum-of-two is "freaked out" when her six-year-old started asking to be breastfed again.

Writing into the advice column for Slate Magazine, the woman said her daughter, who they weaned when she was one-year-old, has started to ask to be breastfed when her two-year-old brother is.

"This comes up almost every day," the confused mother-of-two writes. "She's surprised me by latching several times (as in snuck up and jumped my free breast while I'm feeding the toddler)"

"I gently have conversations about why she would want to breastfeed," the mum continues. "She just gets so relaxed and a dreamy look comes over her eyes, and she says 'Oh, it's just so soft, and the milk is so warm and yummy.'"

"I'm completely perplexed!" she admits. "I never pictured having a child this old even be INTERESTED in breastfeeding, let alone be able to articulate her reasoning so clearly."

Her daughter gets upset when she says she can't breastfeed.

Her daughter gets upset when she says she can't breastfeed. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The woman said she's tried explaining to her daughter that she's a 'big girl' now and there's plenty of other thinks to eat, but she gets upset about it.

"Honestly, I make plenty of milk to indulge her occasionally, but I'm completely freaked out about how this may affect her," the mum confessed.

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"I mean, which is worse: breastfeeding a six-year-old and having her realise how odd that is when she's older, or denying a six-year-old for perhaps no good reason and having her feel rejected and left out?"

She then went on to say that her and her husband have tried explaining that she gets to do lots of things as a six-year-old that her baby brother cannot, but it hasn't worked so far.

"We also tried indulging her with extra attention and hugs and kisses and cuddles, but she just really wants to breastfeed," the desperate woman wrote. "We've also given her tons of actual milk (warm too), but it just isn't what she's looking for."

"If you know of a great way to deny a six-year-old a working boob that doesn't crush them emotionally during the already stressful situation of a pandemic, or if you think there's even a chance that breastfeeding a kid that old won't create other problems, please let me know!" the mother concluded her letter.

The advice to the woman was simple: although there's no 'official' age to stop breastfeeding, if you've said 'no' stick to your word.

"It's always a problem to teach your kid that if they just keep working you, you'll give in and say yes to something you have very clearly said no to," the advice columnist Nicole Cliffe said. "Kids her age want lots of things they can't have."

"Pay lots of good attention to her, and stop responding beyond 'Honey, we already explained that the answer is no,' she continued. "This will clear up in due course."