Stefania Girladi, from Kent, who had her first baby at 37, is still breastfeeding her three-year-old daughter so has often heard negative comments about the fact she is still breastfeeding a toddler. She thought no more opinions could shock her until she overheard two women while waiting for a doctor’s appointment.
Sharing her experience on her Facebook page, Mama’s Word, on 16 March, Girladi wrote: “I am sure you are all familiar with the ‘too old to breastfeed’ remark, but have you ever heard it in relation to the mother? That’s right, these two ladies were going on about how a woman they knew, who is 42 years old, was, in their opinion, too old to breastfeed.”
Girladi explained she heard the women discuss how they felt their friends’ milk was “probably not good enough” because of her age and therefore the baby would have been better off formula fed instead.
“Really? I was fuming,” Girladi continued. “A few minutes later my daughter climbs on my lap wanting the boob (talk about right timing), and needless to say, I granted her wish immediately.
“Now, I am not one that looks for confrontations or arguments, but I couldn’t resist. Obviously the ladies noticed I was breastfeeding, I turn to them and I tell them: ‘By the way, I am 44 years old, 45 next June and my milk is perfect!’ The look on their face: priceless.”
Still shocked by what happened, the mum asked those on her Facebook page what they would have done in that situation. The majority praised Girladi’s response and said they would have done the same.
“I would’ve said: ‘You could never be too old to breastfeed but there is a time where you should stop acting 12 with gossip and uneducated criticism’,” one person wrote. Another commented: “I would have done the same thing. Two thumbs up to you.”
And another mum wrote: “I like the fact that you gave them a surprise, thumbs up mama. I would do this too.”
Speaking to HuffPost UK, Girladi said she was “overwhelmed” by the response she got from mums online - in comments and messages - after sharing her experiences. She initially shared it in a closed breastfeeding group, but was encouraged to make the post public so people could share it. “I believe it’s an important topic, and I strongly believe in the importance of giving mothers the right information about breastfeeding, and also in debunking some ridiculous myths,” she said. “Education is key.”