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Mother knows best — and these moms say breast milk is the best milk for their school-age kids.
“My daughter Piper will be 7 years old in November and I breastfeed her twice a day or whenever she says she needs it,” extended breastfeeding advocate Kim Summer, 40, told The Post.
“At bedtime, she’ll say, ‘Can I have boo boo?’ and I give it to her,” the lactation specialist and birth doula added. “It’s a special bonding time for us that’s comforting, reciprocal and organic.”
Coco Austin, 42, wife of “Law & Order: SVU” star Ice-T, 63, recently defended her decision to continue breastfeeding their 5-year-old daughter Chanel.
“Chanel still likes my boobs,” the busty model told US Weekly ahead of World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1 to Aug. 7).
“Why take that away from her?” she continued. “If she doesn’t want it, alright, that’s where you stop it. But I’m not just going to say no.”
Austin’s milk-fueled admission sparked a firestorm of controversy on social media.
Extended breastfeeding attackers have deemed the former Playboy pinup “sick” and “perverted” — criticisms Summer has also endured.
“I get a lot of really insane hate online,” the Santa Barbara, Calif., native said.
She unashamedly shares photos of herself breastfeeding Piper on Instagram in order to normalize long-term nursing.
“People tell me I should die, I’m gross and that Child Protective Services should take my baby away from me,” Summer said.
But she’s empowered, rather than deterred, by the detractors.
“I’m going to keep sharing our breastfeeding pictures because it’s important that people learn to become comfortable around seeing mothers nursing an older child,” she insisted — noting that in addition to breast milk, Piper enjoys a “well-rounded diet” of fruits, vegetables and her favorite snack, cheese enchiladas.
“It supports her physical, emotional and mental health,” Summer added. “And I’m going to do whatever I need to as a mom to make sure she stays healthy.”
Women like Summer make up the less than 2% of American mothers who breastfeed beyond 24 months, per research in the Developmental Psychology journal.
Jada Shapiro, founder of Brooklyn-based lactation education platform Boober, says breastfeeding beyond infancy and toddlerhood can be beneficial to both the mother and child.
“Research shows that children who are breastfed for a longer length of time are at a reduced risk for developing respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes and some childhood cancers,” said Shapiro, citing a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“The World Health Organization also found that women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers,” she added.
Then there are the emotional perks.
“When we’re breastfeeding, oxytocin, which is sometimes called the ‘love’ hormone, is released from the mother and child and that bonds us closer together,” Shapiro continued. “So prolonging your breastfeeding experience with your child beyond the 6- to 12-month-old marks only extends that bond.”
Upper East Side mother of five boys Marisa Mayer says breastfeeding her two youngest sons until they were 5 and 6 years old, respectively, helped solidify their mother-and-child relationship.
“I’m close with all my children,” said Mayer, 45, who’s volunteered as a lactation support leader with the La Leche League of Manhattan for 13 years.
The international organization helps mothers navigate the various intricacies of breastfeeding.
“And I’m very close to my two youngest, who are now 13 and 10, and we developed that special relationship over a longer period of time through breastfeeding,” Mayer added.
She credits extended breastfeeding with making her boys emotionally strong and self-assured preteens.
“They’re very confident and they’re able to express themselves [freely] because they grew up in this safe and comforting space we’ve created with this type of bonding,” she said.
Mayer says extensive nursing has been the most rewarding parenting feat.
“Breastfeeding my kids for as long as we needed to was a beautiful experience,” she said. “It’s my life’s greatest accomplishment.”
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