The topic of breastfeeding, for better or worse, remains a controversial one — especially when it comes to discussing how long it should go on. It’s particular controversial if you’re Sharon Spink, a British mom who has been speaking out about how she let her daughter nurse until she was 9 years old.

“When I came to have Charlotte, I had decided on natural term weaning. It’s nice for the child to be in control of when they want to wean, rather than forcing the issue,” Spink, 50, an actor based in North Yorkshire, England, told the Sun, after sharing her story with the Caters News Agency and having it picked up in global outlets, from the Daily Mail to the New York Postsimilar to what happened in 2014 when she first shared her story about nursing her then-5-year-old.

Spink, who’s also a mom to three older kids, said she wanted to break the stigma around extended breastfeeding — a concept that’s been promoted by celebrities including Mayim Bialik and Alanis Morissette and has raised angry criticism in the public realm many times over the years — perhaps most notably in 2012 when the cover of Time magazinefeatured a 3-year-old boy standing on a chair to breastfeed from his defiantly posed mom. It was part of a feature package around the rise of attachment parenting — a method with three main tenets: co-sleeping, baby-wearing (that is, slings rather than strollers), and extended breastfeeding, all as ways to bond and “attach.”

breastfeeding a 9 year old

By Regina Freitas