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Letter: Online critics of breastfeeding need more education on its benefits

Photo by Dave Clubb on Unsplash

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – As an advocate I’ve been known to reach my limit of patience when it comes to responding to my critics. Especially when it concerns my breastfeeding journey, which is full term and has lasted four wonderful years. 

I was recently told by an online troll that “breastfeeding past two years has no nutritional value” and that it was for “sexual reasons”.

The fact is, there is no age when breast milk suddenly loses nutritional values, or becomes not beneficial. In fact the American Academy of Pediatricians states that “there is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychological or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.”

No haters are going to force me to hide what I love. I believe your example is what changes the world, not your opinion. The stated opinion was firmly in the “wrong” category.

Some of these comments about breastfeeding were made on the Mount Saint Vincent’s University’s website, and were deleted by the university after I shared them on my advocacy page “Mama’s milk advocacy” and with large international breastfeeding groups in the United States. The university responded by saying they “did not support the comments posted” and that they “support a mother’s right to decide what’s best for her and her family.”

MSVU is aware of the lack of knowledge locally after having done a poll of 200 Nova Scotians, in which they were quizzed about facts, an MSVU researcher told CBC, “we found that people did not know the recommendations for feeding in the first two years, but despite this they were extremely confident in their answers.”

The “Mama’s Milk Advocacy” facebook page was created in August 2020 during world breastfeeding week, to address this problem of not having enough educational programming in the local media. 

I admit, it hasn’t been easy getting so many messages from critics of my pictures. However knowing the international community has my back for this meaningful work makes it all worthwhile.

Abbie Lepage

See also: If you can see it you can be it: Nova Scotia media must stop marginalizing breastfeeding

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