Miira Dawson, a mother from the U.K., came under fire for her unusual child-rearing practice: She decided to continue breastfeeding her daughter for years beyond what the average mother anticipates.
In 2015, Tara was 8 years old and still suckling on her mother’s breast. Dawson insists that it will allow her daughter to reach her full potential.
“I think it is a lovely thing for a baby to grow up and remember being breastfed, as not many people would be able to say this — plus there are all the health and IQ benefits,” Dawson said. “Most people ask me when I am planning on stopping, but I don’t have any pressure from my husband.”
Dawson said some mothers may raise their eyebrows at her, but it’s ultimately none of their business. The family also co-sleeps with their children in the same bed.
“My children have never had to cry to sleep, or sleep on their own, or wake in the night and be afraid because I’m there,” she added. “I think it’s unnatural for children to sleep on their own. They are not biologically suited to sleep on their own. There’s a lot of research saying breastfeeding and bed sharing protects them from sudden death syndrome.”
The mother says that the relationship is symbiotic and any mention of stopping the breastfeeding is upsetting to Tara.
“Every time I mention it to her she looks so sad,” Dawson said. “There’s research to support breastfed babies have higher IQs, but whether that’s because people who breastfeed are more educated, I’m not sure. Breastfeeding will allow them their full potential.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, extended breastfeeding is fine and not harmful as long as both parent and child wish to continue.
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