Breastfeeding mum: ‘I’m not a paedophile’
An Aussie mum who breastfeeds her seven-year-old has opened up about the cruel abuse she's received online, saying trolls labelled her "sick" and even called her a "paedophile".
Lisa Bridger, 46, faced heavy criticism for revealing she still feeds her son Chase as well as his four-year-old brother Phoenix. Both boys have autism and the mum says they get comfort from feeding.
In an open letter to her critics for Kidspot.com.au, the mum-of-five from Adelaide said the abuse was not acceptable.
"To the adults who have commented that I am sick and need to get help, there is nothing mentally wrong with me; I am only doing what is natural," she said. "It's not a sexual act. I'm not a paedophile which is what quite a few have suggested."
Describing her son as "very independent, self-assured, none damaged", Lisa said none of his friends tease him about the fact he still feeds as they have been "educated" that what he is doing is OK.
"Watching and seeing all you adults bully and abuse me, telling me what I need to do for your comfort, overriding my child's comfort, I can see why so many children bully these days," she went on, adding Chase can't take any sort of medication as it makes him sick - which is why breastfeeding is an invaluable tool for them.
In June last year, Lisa spoke out about the benefits of breastfeeding her son, saying: "I'm not ashamed.
"Breastfeeding has prevented him having to go on to medication because it calms him down. It calms and grounds him and is a fantastic way to reconnect too," she said at the time.
"We tried melatonin but it didn't work as I couldn't get him to swallow it. He gets melatonin from my breastmilk. I can shorten the meltdowns by feeding him. It is a great tool to help with autism," she said.
Lisa said she was happy to feed her children in public, and apart from a few weird looks, no one has ever said anything.
But she was slammed with cruel comments, with strangers claiming she was damaging her child.
"Anyone feeding a child beyond a year gets accused of child abuse, pornography, damaging their health and told that if they walk and talk they don't need it. How is respecting their needs abuse? You can't breastfeed a piranha," she said, explaining that Chase and Phoenix are happy to choose to breastfeed.
Despite the backlash, Lisa is still determined to continue breastfeeding for as long as the boys want - even doing both the boys in tandem.
"You can't force a baby or toddler or older child to breastfeed, in fact I'm ready for him to wean whenever as I have been for quite some time," she said.