Actress and model Coco Austin, the wife of "Law & Order" actor and rapper Ice-T, is still breastfeeding their 5-year-old daughter, Chanel, and has clapped back at the critics who judge the family for their choice.
In an interview, the actress said that she does get many questions about letting her daughter breastfeed when Chanel is of school age and requires more nutrition. The mother reasons that her daughter likes to eat steak and actual meals, so she gets her proteins and necessary nutrients from actual food.
However, the girl still prefers to "snack" on her mother's breast. Austin said that it's also her bonding time with her daughter, and she has no plans on stopping as long as Chanel still likes to do this routine.
"Why take that away from her?" the mother said.
Comfort in the Night
Austin said that her daughter breastfeeds before she goes to bed and clarifies that she is not lactating. The mom believes that this is more of a soothing ritual for their daughter to sleep better.
The actress said that she would not deprive her daughter of what she wants because society expects mothers to stop breastfeeding when their children reach two years old.
Incidentally, it's World Breastfeeding Week on the first week of August to raise awareness and help drive down the stigma of mothers who nurse their children in public.
Austin gave birth to Chanel in 2015 after being married to Ice-T since 2002. Chanel is their only child together, but Ice-T has a 45-year-old daughter, LeTesha, from his previous relationship in high school, and a son, Tracy Marrow Jr., 29, from his former partner Darlene Ortiz.
When Should Moms Stop Breastfeeding?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding children for up to the second year of the baby's life. However, lactation expert Hillary Sadler said that there's no "magic number," and it should be based on the mother and baby's readiness to stop breastfeeding.
Sadler said that many mothers no longer breastfeed their children past one year old, but the expert believes that this is more because they don't want to be judged. Sadler said that while it might be harder to wean babies off breastfeeding when they are older, mothers shouldn't be pressured by the dictates of society.
"If you're not mentally and emotionally ready [to stop breastfeeding], you're going to regret it," the expert said on the Today show.
Other experts said that there aren't enough studies to show the adverse effects of breastfeeding after two years old. Hence, most experts said that the advice to stop is open-ended and dependent on the family since this is a personal decision.
For the most part, breastmilk is still best, and babies can continue to enjoy its benefits for as long as they like it. While some experts acknowledge there will be no more nutritional value for older kids who breastfeed, there will always be that strong bond between the mom and her child.
So, despite the criticisms, Austin continues to be vocal about breastfeeding her daughter and does share memes and messages frequently about shunning the taboo on her social media accounts.
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