Mom says refusing to breastfeed her seven-year-old son would be like 'saying no to a hug'
Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world, yet it continues to be one of the most controversial topics out there. Should you breastfeed your child? For how long should you nurse them? How long is too long when it comes to breastfeeding? Everyone has their opinions on the matter and it seems it is an issue that won't be put to rest anytime soon.
One mother who is wading into the debate all guns blazing is Lisa Bridger, from Adelaide, Australia, who still breastfeeds her seven-year-old son, as well as his four-year-old brother. Nonetheless, the mother-of-five insists that she has a very special reason for keeping up the practice.
Chase, and his younger brother Phoenix, have both been diagnosed with autism and their mother claims she continues to breastfeed them because it helps to soothe them, likening the process to a "hug".
Describing how she came to recognise her seven-year-old son's condition, Lisa told the Daily Mail: "I started to notice he would behave a little differently from my other kids at six months. He wouldn’t want to stay strapped into the pram, didn’t like full-on cuddles… but would nurse happily. I would often baby wear but he’d be hysterical unless I was feeding him."
She continued: "As children it was obviously the normal every couple of hours but it’s mostly just before bed now. It’s so sweet, [Chase] just needs that security. He often doesn’t ask in public but if he’s having a meltdown I prioritise it... Sometimes I just want them off but it’s like saying no to a hug. When they come over to me and ask so nicely, how can I say no?"
Lisa, who is an administrator for the online support group Occupy Breastfeeding sometimes uploads photos of her sons nursing, but admits that they don't always go down well.
"It’s been pretty good out here, really. People don’t come up to us and say anything. But online it can get really bad," she says. "People will comment all kinds of things. That they should have a bottle, or a cup, that it’s abuse, that it’s bad for them, once you get past six months you should be covering. We have other strategies in place to deal with Chase’s autism. Sometimes a cuddle is enough, breathing exercises or distractions."
In addition, the mother-of-five revealed that when she breastfeeds in public, she sometimes still receives some judgemental comments; one of the worst of these incidents saw a social worker come up to her and tell her what she was doing was "child abuse".
However, not everyone is against her mothering methods, with a few members of the public stopping to say "well done" when they saw her feeding Chase - who is homeschooled in Adelaide and "thriving" from it - on a holiday to the UK.
Amazingly, because Lisa has five children, it means that she has been breastfeeding for a collective 20 years. But it doesn't mean that it will go on forever. Having bought animals - a dog and two cats - as a means of comfort for her boys, as well as employing other methods to cope with their autism, the dedicated mother hopes to eventually wean the boys off and get her "body back".
Hear's hoping that Chase and Phoenix learn to keep their autism under control soon, we wish the whole Bridger family all the best.