People argue too much about breastfeeding. Do it in public and you’re “provocative,” use formula and you’re a “bad” mom, wean too quickly and you’re a “quitter,” and nurse past infancy and you — and your kid — are “weird.”
And it doesn’t matter how much evidence proves the opposite: It’s legal to publicly breastfeed in all 50 states, baby formula adequately meets babies’ nutritional needs, “most” infants are not exclusively breastfeed for the one-year standard, and extended breastfeeding (nursing beyond the first year is life) is encouraged by health experts, as long as mother and baby are comfortable doing it.
Yet once a child reaches his or her first birthday it’s generally expected that moms stop nursing, even though there’s evidence that the nutritional benefits of breast milk remain for longer. So it’s pretty cool when moms buck beliefs by nursing their toddlers, no matter what anyone thinks.
When Thandiwe Newton posted a pic of herself breastfeeding her son Booker at age two she captioned it, “…This is what my body is made for. And the rest is my choice.” And former Bachelor star Bekah Martinez stood up to those who balked at her breastfed two-year-old daughter Ruth. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there is NOTHING weird about feeding and soothing my toddler via breast,” Martinez wrote on Instagram. “There is NOTHING wrong with sharing it via social media.”
And Mayim Bialik only stopped nursing her son Fred when he was four years old “because he was ready.”
Can’t we trust mothers to feed their children how they want — and for as long as they want? These celebrity moms who breastfed beyond one year are doing what’s best for them and their babies.
Actress Salma Hayek has nursed not only her own child, but those of others. She breastfed her daughter for 15 months and then fed a malnourished infant in Africa.
“Am I being disloyal to my child by giving her milk away?” Hayek asked. “I actually think my baby would be very proud to share her milk.”
Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith breastfed her kids Jaden and Willow, nursing Jaden for 18 months. The actress said he never saw a bottle even though she felt so much anxiety at the time.
“Back when I had them, breastfeeding was like, WHAT? What are you doing?!” she said.
When her daughter was 19 months old, Nikki Reed shared that she would continue breastfeeding, transitioning from four daily feedings to two.
“Today working and bonding are going to have their own time, so I can try my hardest to soak up every moment, and smile at every detail,” the Twilight actress said in an emotional post.
Model Miranda Kerr breastfed her son Flynn — who she shares with ex Orlando Bloom — for 18 months and said it was “the most natural thing in the world.”
“I love it and the bonding time we have during these precious and beautiful moments,” she said.
Singer Erykah Badu said her son Seven was very independent after she breastfed him for two years.
“I was very worried that he was going to be attached since we were together every day, but I guess it made him feel comfortable: ‘I know she’s around. She’ll be there.’”
Danica McKellar breastfed her son Draco until he was 2.5 years old, The Wonder Years star told ABC News.
“You can breastfeed as long as it works for both you and your child, you know?” she said. “For me, it was two and a half and for you it might be three and a half or three months or whatever it is that works.”
Kelly Preston Travolta spoke to PEOPLE when her and John Travolta’s son Benjamin was 16 months old and said weaning him would “be really hard on [her].”
“I love nursing so much,” she said. “I love the closeness and knowing that I’m giving him the best as far as nutrients and antibodies. And he really loves it, too.”
Nicole Curtis breastfed her son for more than two and a half years.
“I keep saying, it’s not like he’s 7 or 8 — he’s still a baby,” she told PEOPLE. “When he weans, it’s going to be his decision. I truly believe it’s the child’s choice.”
Breastfeeding became a contentious point of the HGTV star’s custody battle with ex-husband Shane Maguire when suddenly their son had to be bottlefed during Maguire’s visits.
Kourtney Kardashian revealed to E! News in 2011 that she had stopped nursing her oldest son Mason, who was two years old at the time, and was feeling a bit blue about it. “It’s really sad,” Kourtney said. “I’m like, it’s over.”
She admitted receiving pressure to quit breastfeeding from friends and family, but that she decided to let Mason take the lead. “I mean, everyone would say, ‘it’s time, it’s time, come on,'” she said. “I started to stop a little bit, weaning and all that, and I’m like, Why am I doing this? If I’m happy and he’s happy … So I said, Let me see, and he only asked once a night. So I did it and he just stopped. I’m like, I just want to do what he wants.”
Alicia Silverstone is often criticized for her “crunchy” parenting choices with her son, Bear Blu — from pre-chewing his food to, most recently, revealing that he still sleeps with her at age 11. So it’s no surprise that she has been a vocal supporter of extended breastfeeding, and even started the Kind Mama Milk Share to supply breast milk to moms in need.
In 2007, Gwen Stefani talked to The Guardian about breastfeeding her son Kingston, who was 13 months old at the time. “I don’t know when I’m going to stop breast-feeding,” she said. “I’ll just keep going while I can – like, he’s getting his teeth so it is a little bit scary. He’s bitten me a few times!”
Being on tour at the time, she added, made breastfeeding Kingston a natural fit. Nursing, she said, “is just obviously really convenient with my lifestyle.”
In 2015, Alyssa Milano opened up to Entertainment Tonight about catching heat for breastfeeding her then one-year-old daughter Elizabella. “I don’t care,” she told the outlet. “I’m going to keep breastfeeding, maybe even until [Elizabella is] 6!” A few months later, Milano posted a breastfeeding photo writing, “Almost 16 months of breastfeeding Elizabella. It’s been one of the greatest joys in my life to breastfeed my babies.”
Milano also has a son named Milo who she nursed until he was nine months old.
In 2017, Alanis Morissette told Good Morning America that she was still breastfeeding her then-17-month-old son, Ever — and that she planned to continue for as long as he wanted to nurse.
“‘Some kids naturally stop at two, some stop at a couple of years later, it’s up to the child,” she said. “I will stop when he says it’s time to stop.”
Morrisette has two other children: Winter, born in 2019, and Onyx, born in 2016.
Gossip Girl actress Kelly Rutherford told OK! Magazine in 2009 that she was still breastfeeding her son Hermes, who was two and a half at the time, in part because she felt it was the ecologically-responsible thing to do.
“I’m an eco-breastfeeding mom,” she said. “It’s not good for everyone, but it has been great for me. In the beginning nutritionally or as time goes on, it’s a bond or a nurturing thing.”
In 2021, Ice-T’s wife Coco Austin found herself in a firestorm after sharing that she breastfeeds their daughter Chanel. “Chanel still likes my boobs, she’s 5 years old,” the model told Us Weekly. “It’s a big bonding moment for your mother and your child,” likening the activity to “a little snack every now and then.”
But when Austin was roasted online, Ice-T fired back on Twitter: “Why the F are you worried about MY Child??? That’s what’s weird.. Now go back in the basement.”
Mayim Bialik breastfed her son Fred until he was four years old, she revealed in a 2013 essay published on the website Kveller. “Well, nay-sayers, prepare to be proven wrong. All of you snarky mamas who glared at me nursing my 3 1/2-year-old on the NYC subway, prepare to be amazed,” she wrote. “And to all of my family and friends who wanted to chastise me about nursing a walking, talking, thinking, laughing little man named Fred, thanks for holding your tongues.”
The Big Bang Theory star later wrote, “Fred nursed for four years and change. And then Fred weaned because he was ready. And we were ready. I nursed him through sadness and joy and despair and exultation. His, mine, who knew? We were one for so long. For four years and change, we were our own world.”
In 2020, ex Bachelor contestant Bekah Martinez got hate for posting a photo of herself tandem breastfeeding (defined as nursing two children of different ages at once) her daughter Ruth, born in 2019, and son Franklin, who was born in 2020.
“Isn’t she a little too big for you to be breastfeeding her…” one person wrote on Instagram, according to Today, which reported that Martinez responded, “She’s not too big for breastfeeding, but thanks for your concern!”
Thandiwe Newton shared a photo of herself breastfeeding her son Booker, when he was two years old. “Perfect happiness,” she captioned her 2017 Instagram post. “This is what my body is made for. And the rest is my choice.”
Model Doutzen Kroes described nursing her daughter Myllena as “quality time” in a 2015 Instagram photo when the girl was one year old. That year, Kroes shared two photos — one modeling and the other nursing — with the quote, “Breasts are a scandal because they shatter the border between motherhood and sexuality” by philosopher Iris Marion Young.
Pink marked National Breastfeeding Week in 2016 by sharing a photo of herself breastfeeding her daughter Willow, who appeared to be a toddler in the pic. “In honor of #nationalbreastfeedingweek2016 I proudly post this photo of a very HEALTHY, NATURAL act between mother and child,” the singer wrote on Instagram.
How To Get Away With Murder star Karla Souza shared a peek at her first day as a mom of two in a 2020 Instagram photo. “I’m laughing from both the joy and the excruciating pain of childbirth and postpartum,” she captioned the image of herself tandem breastfeeding her daughter Gianna, who was two at the time, and newborn son Luka.
She added, “Bringing this little human into the world has been THE most difficult and painful thing my body has had to go through, but it has also made me feel like a freakin’ warrior. ALL women are warriors! Now here I am, double nursing (not something I was planning on doing)…”
In 2013, Selma Blair was photographed nursing her son Arthur, who was two years old then, at a Los Angeles mall. “The only time he cries is if he’s hungry,” she once told People. “We all have nipples. I don’t care who I offend; my baby wants to eat. If I can’t get a cover over me quick enough, so be it.”
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