Breastfeeding can be a bit of a touchy subject. Though it's been proven as the best source of nutrients for the development of an infant, there is some debate over how long breastfeeding should go on and just when it's appropriate to wean a child. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for the first six months, then a diet of combined breastmilk and solid foods until two years of age...or "as long as mother and baby desire." That doesn't exactly clear things up.
One mother, Tara Corres, is stretching out the typical breastfeeding timeline and now she's taking a beating for it online. Tara began her breastfeeding journey while she was pregnant with her first daughter. She and her husband went to a breastfeeding class and there they learned the importance of supplying those nutrients early in life. She made the decision to nurse her future children until they, themselves, decided to wean, a breastfeeding strategy known as "full-term" nursing.
On the Instagram post below, hover your mouse over the sides and click on the arrows to view the entire slideshow.
When Tara's oldest girl was 16 months old, Tara discovered she was pregnant with her second daughter. Throughout her pregnancy, she continued to nurse her eldest. Then, once her second daughter was born, she then tandem nursed both girls.
Now Tara's older child is 4 and a half years old and recently weaned herself. Tara's younger child is 3 years old and is still happily nursing. Tara went public with her nursing plans to encourage other mothers to ignore the stigma some people still have about breastfeeding, especially those who breastfeed for as long as Tara. During World Breastfeeding Week, Tara and a group of her friends did a photoshoot to shed light on all the different ways mothers can breastfeed their children, and their experiences with the deeply intimate experience.
Many commenters immediately had a problem with Tara's extended breastfeeding timeframe and the fact that she allowed her girls to decide for themselves when they were weaned.
"It makes sense in a 3rd world county where there is no other food available, but there is no reason to nurse a child that long any other time. I breastfed all of my children until they were old enough to drink cow milk and eat solid food (9-12 months) and thankfully so because it gets strange when they are walking and talking and biting you because its funny," wrote one commenter.
Yet another commenter wrote, "You will never 'normalize' this practice. In fact, I would suggest you speak with a Child & Family Services worker who will advise you differently and educate you as to the reasons, both psychologically and emotionally, why this won't happen."
According to the Mayo Clinic, the worldwide average in terms of when children usually wean is between 2 and 4 years of age, so Tara's children had the typical weaning period. Still, do you think it's a good idea to nurse a child for that long? When's the best time to wean a child? Let us know what you think in the comments below!