A mum who still breastfeeds her six-year-old daughter has received a barrage of abusive comments after publicly sharing her story online.
Maha Al Musa, who lives in Byron Bay, Australia, hit the headlines back in May 2015 after posting pictures of her breastfeeding her six-year-old daughter, Aminah, who turns seven this year, and claiming that she believes so strongly in the power of her breastmilk that she has refused to immunise her daughter.
'I've been called a paedophile,' the 52 year old told Australian news site Channel 9. 'My heart goes out to people who criticise me and I respect people's criticism. [But] this isn't about breastfeeding children. This is about attack and disrespect of the feminine.'
'People can say whatever they like. I know what I'm doing as a mother. I've raised three beautiful, healthy, well-adjusted children, and that's all that matters to me.'
The mum, who founded BellydanceBirth, a bellydancing pregnancy and birth exercise programme, regularly posts pictures of her breastfeeding her daughter, Aminah, on her Facebook page, where she actively promotes breastfeeding older children and is where she has received much of the online criticism.
'I believe it helps boost her immune system,' she told the Daily Mail. 'To this day, she is very rarely ill and her temperament is calmer and more relaxed than the other children.'
Speaking to Mamamia, a parenting site, she said, 'In an ideal world we should be accepting of a mother's choice to do what's best for her, her baby/child and circumstance. This should not really even be an issue.'
And although she stopped breastfeeding her two older children when they were two, she says that she will only stop breastfeeding Aminah when she asks, which, it seems, may be not too far in the distant future. On 1 August she wrote on her Facebook page:
'My daughter a couple of weeks ago said she felt ready to stop breastfeeding but only maybe do it at night.
'I told her to do what works for her and I fully support her decision.'
Maha is certainly not the only mum who believes in extended breastfeeding.
Last year a mum sparked debate after appearing on This Morning saying that she still breastfeeds her six-year-old daughter.
Denise Sumpter, 44, revealed she was still breastfeeding her daughter, Belle, at six and a half years old, and said she doesn't have any plans to stop soon.
She told the Daily Mirror: 'It's not just a drink - it's nutrition', adding during her appearance on This Morning: 'If my child is embarrassed - that's a problem with this culture.'
Also joining in the debate on This Morning, former midwife and breastfeeding expert Clare Byam-Cook said that the health benefits of drinking breastmilk at six years old 'are virtually negligible.' She added: 'You say that you breastfeed your six-year-old when she's tired or needs comforting, so you're teaching your child to use food as a source of comfort.
'The father doesn't have to breastfeed to comfort, so it just seems to me it's the wrong association. I don't think it's natural in this country.'
Denise said she feeds Belle up to twice a day, and sometimes at the same time as her 18-month-old son, Beau.
'I feed both children on demand - whenever they want it. [But] I will sometimes tell Belle no. She hasn't asked to be fed publicly since she was about four or five.
'I have two healthy, bright, confident children who I truly believe have benefitted from breast milk, and continue to do so. There are things I get out of it - like calm, happy children. But I can say with certainty I've done this entirely for the benefit of my kids.'
However, Denise came under fire from Twitter users accusing her of breastfeeding for her own benefits and not for those of her children:
Other viewers stood up for Denise and said that they couldn't see anything wrong with what she was doing, with one pointing out that the global average kids stop breastfeeding is four and a half:
So when should you stop breastfeeding?
NHS advice recommends that women exclusively breastfeed (that's just breast milk and no other food or drink) for the first six months. Your choice as to how long you wish to breastfeed after that is totally up to you. There is no defining age limit on breastfeeding.
Many women plan to breastfeed for about a year, but plenty of them go on to breastfeed for two years or more.