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Breastfeeding mom still feeds 5-year-old daughter

SHERBURN-IN-ELMET, England (Derek Drake) -- Breastfeeding in public is common and accepted, but one mother in England, Sharon Spink, 44, gets more than the usual number of glances when she feed her daughter Charlotte.

Why? Because she's 5-years-old and in school.

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Spink says she will let her daughter breastfeed until she is ready to stop as it promotes a close bond between mother and daughter as well as boosting Charlotte's immune system.

"I'm not doing anything wrong... Children don't judge," Spink said in an interview with The Sun.

"I'm not doing anything wrong," Spink added. "A mother should be free to do what she thinks is right for her child, whether that is formula feeding from birth or breastfeeding indefinitely."

She feeds Charlotte two or three times a day and is happy to do it wherever necessary. "I've breastfed in the hairdresser's, supermarket and church before," she said. "I've even breastfed Charlotte in front of her school friends. Children don't judge. It tends to be adults who do that. But thankfully their parents are all very supportive."

Spink lives in Sherburn-in-Elmet in the English county of North Yorkshire with her husband Paul, 41, and their two children, ages eight and six.

Sharon and Paul make and sell jewelery together and Sharon has spoken out about the criticism she sometimes receives from total strangers. "People will often stare or shake their heads when I feed Charlotte in public, Sharon said. "Sometimes they'll turn their backs or move seats, and actually criticize me as a mother. I've heard people say it's weird and it's child abuse verging on pedophilia. It hurts but I'm confident in what I'm doing."

Spink detailed a recent falling out with a close friend who said her only reason for breastfeeding this long was to keep Charlotte as a baby. "Even my eldest daughter, Sarah, 24, disagrees with what I do," Sharon added. "But everyone is entitled to their opinion."

Her husband is supportive, although he admits that some of the more public feedings have caused him embarrassment.

However, some experts have expressed caution. Dr. Sandra Wheatley, a social psychologist says there is no nutritional benefit and sometimes, she added, "The potential negative psychological effects on the child far outweigh the positive."


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