Mom Shamed for Breastfeeding 5-Year-Old to Manage Depression

One mom says she's continuing to breastfeed her 5-year-old daughter because it helps manage her depression.One mom appeared on the British Show “Holly and Phil” saying she’s continuing to breastfeed her 5-year-old daughter because it helps manage her depression.

There’s often a brouhaha about extended breastfeeding, many times because people question the motives behind nursing a child past the age of what some in society deem as ‘normal.’

While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding until six months, and a combination of solids and breastmilk until at least one, they also recommend nursing as long as you and your child wish to continue.

Related: Mom’s Photography Aims to Erase Stigma of Extended Breastfeeding

In many countries, in fact, children are nursed until at least two, with a good many longer.

But when Sophie Mei Lan shared that she nurses her five-year-old daughter still on a popular British morning talk show to manage her depression, the Interent turned out in full force to blast her.

Today is a better day. I feel like hibernating at the moment but that’s not possible with two lively daughters. My #depression has come back to bite me, I’m tearful, I’m down… but I’m keeping on going (well, trying). 🦄🦄🦄 I really enjoyed however going to #review #SarahandDuck @westyorkshireplayhouse it was a gentle and funny bit of escapism. 🦆🦆🦆 I told myself I could do it as it’s just one bus ride to Leeds @arrivabusuk 👌👌👌 but then as ever the girls dragged me for a post-theatre shopping trip @leedsmarkets 😂😂😂 kids do really drag you out of your comfort zone 🛍🛍🛍 #retailtherapy #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #theatre #leeds #yorkshire #shoppingspree #kidstheatre #childrensbooks #breastfeeding #breastfeedingmoms #breastfeedingmum #breastfeedfriendly #breastfeedingmama #madmum #mentalhealthawareness #mentalillness #mentallyill #mentalbreak ❤️❤️❤️

A post shared by Sophie Mei Lan (@mamameiblog) on

She and her husband Chris said that she also breastfeeds her three-year-old daughter, and she plans to do so until her daughters are seven-years-old.

She told Holly and Phil that nursing her daughters helps ‘anchor’ her, and helps her manage her depression. She went on to tell them that she never originally planned to nurse as long as she did or now plans to, but after openly talking about her mental health and depression, she’s learned that breastfeeding anchors her. More, she says that when she nurses, she is able to focus on her children and the joy they bring her.

A post shared by Sophie Mei Lan (@mamameiblog) on

The blogger/vlogger initially nursed to meet the needs of her daughters, but she shocked viewers when she said that she nurses sometimes eight-to-ten times a day. When Phil asked if she nursed for her daughters for them or for her, she told him that it was definitely still for them as they want to continue nursing and she wants to do what is best for them.

Related: Mom Uses Beautiful Photography to Normalize Extended Breastfeeding

She also explained to the host that mammals often nurse until five-or seven-years-old, and she thinks that it’s weirder that we drink cow’s breast milk as older toddlers and young children instead of our own human breast milk.

Her husband, Chris, sat beside her and added that he didn’t care what anyone thought as long as she was nursing for the right reason.

The Internet response wasn’t so sure though…or were they? Some of the responses:

9 thoughts on “Mom Shamed for Breastfeeding 5-Year-Old to Manage Depression”

  1. Also, it is purely cultural that we stop at a certain age… My midwife told me that her mother in Ghana nursed until she was 13! If there is not another baby to take center stage, why not? My daughter wanted to nurse until she was 4, even though there was another baby on the way by then. That son was done when he was 15 months. My oldest continued to nurse along with my daughter when she came along (when he was 2) for over a year. The nursing relationship is different for every parent/child situation…

  2. For me, breastfeeding is absolutely grounding, especially now that my youngest is 3 1/2, and he nurses twice a day. The bedtime nurse is a time to reconnect after a busy day and forces me to be still. His morning nurse allows me to lay in bed longer and gift myself with 20 minutes of doze time with a slower wake up period. My son is showing no signs of weaning, and I’m fine with that. Shame society for deeming breastfeeding inappropriate past a certain age. Biology certainly doesn’t agree!!!

  3. I agree with Lori that it is much weirder that people spend so much money to stuff their fridges (I once saw a fridge that was mostly full of cow’s milk . . . and then it gets left out to go bad, wasting money and milk, and at least in my experience, causes runny noses, colds, allergies, etc.) full of cow’s milk (seriously, I only buy one gallon once a week or less because my husband still cooks with it and occasionally drinks with it) when human breast milk is made for humans, unlike cow’s milk – organic or not – and as long as the human mother drinks and eats enough for herself, the human breast milk costs so much less and there is no question scientifically and nutritionally that human breastmilk is meant for, and very good for, children. It doesn’t even have to be nursed – it can be pumped, and excess can be given to older children (and what’s wrong with adults having some every once in a while?). Thank you Lori for speaking up and actually making sense! And to previous commenter Gretchen, I had the same experience when breastfeeding my two children who were successfully breastfed: it was the most time I’ve had to sit and read in years; ever since both weaned, I’ve never had nearly that much time to sit and treat my sciatica with ice packs (and now I’m lucky if I get to read for 10 minutes a day); my bonds with those two children are definitely the strongest compared to those with my other children, without even meaning to be; my toddler who recently weaned is so big, tall, smart, and healthy!

  4. And about the “to manage depression” part: why would people shame mothers for breastfeeding to manage depression when it is so good for the child; when it is safer all around than antidepressants and other drugs; when it doesn’t cost much money (just what it takes to keep the mother nourished and hydrated); when it doesn’t hurt anybody; when it reaffirms the mother-child bond at every single nursing; when it hurts neither mother nor child, unlike smoking, drinking, drugs, and other vices; when it releases hormones that are good for the mother; when, unlike bottle feeding, it helps teeth grow and develop properly, sometimes even preventing the need for braces later in life; when it prevents and lessens sickness and allergies in children; when it lasts for such a short time in a child’s life, whether it’s 4 weeks, 6 months, 2 years, or 5 – why be in such a rush to stop? Why can’t people just leave mothers alone about this, especially since it isn’t just good for the mother – it is one of the very best things she can give her child, exactly what God and nature intended that she give her children? It is one of the most unselfish ways to feel good that I can think of, and unlike formula, it doesn’t require endless trips to the grocery store (or frantic shopping for just the right kind of formula when gas and allergies present themselves) and no sanitizing of bottles or other parts – breastmilk is already at the right temperature and is not only sterile, it is good for people…no pasteurization or “organic” or “grass-fed” or “non-GMO” or “no artificial growth hormones added” label required! Nursing anyone older than a few months old is not easy; children get heavier and often don’t want to sit or lay still, and mothers ought to be commended, not scolded, for continuing the loving, nurturing, nourishing breastfeeding relationship past one or two years.

  5. Great job mom! Children know when they are done! Breast time is for hunger, thirst, strengthening the immune system, comfort, mental health, bonding, and believe it or not developing independence and confidence. My own son nursed until 7! Yes, they go to school, but after 5 or so, they only nurse at bedtime and if something really stressful happens during the day. Today he is on his way to college, healthy, insanely independent, confident and, I am most certain, with a very healthy attitude towards nursing, women, and the role of women’s breasts (which are not meant to be on billboards or elsewhere!!!)


    1. Hi Irina,

      Thanks for your concern. What comments are you referring to?

      There is a comments section so that people can share their opinions. We believe that all opinions matter — whether you’re someone who holds a PHD from a prestigious university or not — so we will not be asking readers to submit a resume before commenting on our content.

      At the same time, we also expect our readers to express their opinions without attacking others, so if there is a specific comment you’re referring to, please let us know and we will review it. We may have missed it or maybe there was a glitch on our site. Unless you’re referring to the “tweet” images we’ve posted in the story. The tweet images are part of the story – to show readers how people were responding to Sophie Mei Lan’s post.

  7. Human immune systems are not fully developed until at least 6 or 7 years old. This mother is giving her daughters important antibodies to help them be as healthy as possible. Not to mention the psychological and social/family benefits for both mother and children. We are biologically supposed to nurse for that long. I think it’s more messed up to deprive your children of something they are supposed to have when it is so readily available..

  8. I believe that breastfeeding your child pass the age of where they begin to drink out of a cup ( normal cup or sippy cup ) is wrong! If you want the child to have the value of breastmilk pass that age put it in a cup and unhook them from the breast. With all things in life there is a fine line and which I believe can be crossed. Breastfeeding to long will cross it. Sorry moms, at a point cup that milk.

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