For some women breast-feeding is painful and hard to do – but Amanda Hurst, 28, loves it so much so that she still breastfeeds her five-and-a-half year old son and is even happy to offer her breasts to her friends’ babies.
“I’m a firm believer in breast is best,” says 28-year-old Amanda. “It’s a natural thing and the benefits to the child are amazing. I child-mind my friends’ babies and provided I’ve got permission, I breastfeed them as well.
The parents love it – it means they don’t have to worry about expressing milk – I’ve got more than enough to go round.”
Amanda breastfeeds her son Jonathan every other day, even though he is a boisterous boy with a full set of teeth who joins the rest of the family at the dinner table to tuck into three meals a day.
“I breastfeed him whenever he asks for it,” reveals Amanda, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire. We call it ‘lellow’ as I didn’t want Jonathan to be asking for ‘boobie’.”
“He usually crawls into my bed when his daddy is away. My husband is fully supportive of it but Jonathan is just not as interested when Daddy is around.
“I make sure my husband, Roy, gets his own time with my breasts so he doesn’t feel left out and we maintain a happy relationship. We have a very fresh and healthy sex life!”
Amanda, who runs her own child-minding business, is expecting another baby boy with her store supervisor husband Roy, 31, and says she has talked to Jonathan about sharing her breasts with his new baby brother.
She says: “Jonathan is a very loving child and is very excited about sharing with his baby brother.
“Now he is older my breast-milk is less of an essential like it is for a new-born – it’s more a luxury. It’s a bit like eating chocolate and at the moment, with me being heavily pregnant, Jonathan says it is extra creamy!
“Roy and I have both tried it. Once, when I ran out of milk for coffee I used my emergency frozen supply that I keep for Jonathan when I’m away! I’m not a fan myself, I thought it was a bit sour but it might be the curry I had eaten that week as diet affects the taste of the milk.
Amanda is aware that the majority of mums wean their baby at around six-months-old and anything else is viewed as strange, but she is defiant that it is society pressure to conform that causes this taboo.
She says: “I used to think it was freaky myself when I saw a toddler breastfeeding but with me and Jonathan it was just natural – we didn’t stop. Women do this all over the world and I think its ridiculous people look down their noses at it.
“When I first started breastfeeding I felt an incredible bond form between me and Jonathan and little did I know six years later I would still be getting that feeling. I don’t want it to stop.”
Amanda is unafraid to do it in public but says Jonathan was about three when he declined her offer of the breast at a public library telling her it was something to be done ‘at home’.
“He’s a very intelligent child – he’s better than the average for his school-age and I’m determined it’s because of the breast milk,” insists Amanda.
Amanda is so convinced about the benefits of breast milk, she is happy to offer hers as part of her child-minding service.
She says: “It doesn’t affect the bonding process with their mums. A lot of them are my pals who work and they love that there is breast-milk on tap to feed their kids.
“One of them has actually offered to be my wet nurse and I have accepted the offer gratefully. Provided I trusted the woman, I would be delighted for any woman to breastfeed my baby.
“I’m planning to tandem breastfeed Jonathan and the new one, but having my friend as my wet nurse means I’ll get a bit of a break!
“I want others to know the benefits of breastfeeding and want people to know it’s not freaky to continue past the ‘acceptable’ age. For me there is no upper limit, it will be when he no longer asks for it.
“Jonathan loves it and I’m happy to go on and on!”