Moms who nurse their kids into the toddler years usually see it as nothing more than an exchange of love and comfort between themselves and their kiddos. It becomes part of the daily routine, and feels like a normal part of life — something that’s usually just totally sweet (well, at least when your toddler isn’t hanging upside down off your boob!).
The problem lies with all the unwarranted side-eye moms receive from family, friends, and society at large. Nursing past the baby stage is becoming more and more common, but we still have a long way to go until women can do it without feeling judged. That’s why it’s so great when you see other moms doing it proudly, and in public — especially prominent or well-known women who don’t give a damn what others have to say.
And it looks like moms of nursing toddlers everywhere have a new spokeswoman defending their right to nurse their toddlers without judgment. Enter, British model and socialite Tamara Ecclestone, who recently gave an interview with Hello! magazine, in which she discussed what it’s really like to breastfeed her 3-year-old daughter Sophia. In doing so, she assured moms of breastfeeding toddlers that they should nurse proudly.
Ecclestone explained to Hello that she nurses her daughter about four times a day now — once in the morning, once or twice during the day, and once before bed. She explains that she really just doesn’t have any inclination to initiate the weaning process at this point, saying it’s a “battle” she would rather just skip.
“I never want to feel I’ve taken something away from her,” Ecclestone shared. “So when she decides she is done, it will be the end of that era.”
Ecclestone also shared that she and her husband Jay Rutland espouse other “attachment” type of parenting styles, too, including co-sleeping. However, Ecclestone emphasizes that each parent find their own way with parenting. “You know your child and you have to do what works for you as a family,” she says (to which we all give her a huge high five!).
Her advice for moms of breastfeeding toddlers who are getting slack for their choice? Just keep doing what you’re doing, and try to shut out the naysers.
“I ignore the occasional nasty comment,” Ecclestone says, adding that her decision to nurse Sophia this long has also been met with lots of positivity and solidarity among like-minded moms. “I have so many nice messages from other mums,” Ecclestone emphasizes.
Ecclestone, who is also the daughter of Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, told Hello! that she understands her lifestyle is one of privilege, but that motherhood and breastfeeding has been a humbling experience for her — and that no amount of wealth and privilege can prepare you for the most harrowing moments of parenthood.
“No one sees the time when you are up through the night,” she says, “when Fifi is not feeling well, or when you are having a tricky moment.”
Ecclestone feels that social media gives us all the false notion that motherhood is easy for everyone, but that is usually far from the truth. “I feel social media is like everyone’s highlight reel,” she told Hello! “There are definitely some harder times, and I feel all mums should stick together and support each other.”
AMEN to that. We all definitely need to be real about the struggles of parenthood, because it makes us each feel far less alone.
As for her role as a champion for breastfeeding moms everywhere, Ecclestone is no stranger to the cause, having defended a beautiful photo series she posted back in February of her daughter breastfeeding happily by her side.
“The negative comments I received did not affect me,” the model told People magazine at the time, “and on the contrary made me want to stand up and show my support for all the breastfeeding moms out there who are being judged daily for trying to do their best as a parent.”
As a mom who breastfed her own two boys until their third birthdays (and a little beyond that, actually), I love Ecclestone’s message of support and solidarity. The world needs more of it, and I’m certain breastfeeding moms everywhere thank Ecclestone for sharing her story, and doing her part to normalize breastfeeding for all.