Coco Austin — model, self-described “fitness guru,” wife of rapper and actor Ice T, and mother-of-two — recently came under fire after sharing photos of herself breastfeeding her daughter Chanel, who is almost four.
Coco shared the photos with a caption explaining why she feels “blessed” to still be breastfeeding her daughter at this age. Many commenters took the time to respond that an almost-four-year-old is way too old to still be breastfeeding.
Coco begins her caption, “A mother’s calling… I’m so blessed to have this unbelievable experience in this thing called Nursing. I had a hard time breastfeeding the 1st week of when Chanel was born, I almost gave up but my family told me to hang for another week.”
“They told me I don’t want to miss this special moment you have with your child, health-wise and bond-wise. I hung in there and now almost 4 years later Chanel still wants the boob. It’s more of a comfort thing now and of course she eats regular but naptime and nighttime are our time, and I’m lucky she hasn’t grown out it yet because when that moment comes I will be so sad..its the best feeling and ALL mothers that nurse know,” she continues.
She also included the hashtag “#normalizebreastfeeding,” perhaps as a preemptive statement against the kinds of comments she knew would come. Unfortunately, her caption didn’t seem to fend off all of the negative commenters.
“Give that baby a sippy cup with your liquid gold in it,” one commenter said. “This child has a full set of teeth and is a year away from kindergarten. Knock it off.”
“This is an unhealthy crutch,” another added. “She’s not a baby. She’s pre-K. This has gone from a beautiful bond to creepy and weird.”
“Coco she’s too big for breastfeeding. Give her real milk,” said another commenter, while someone else called the photos “disturbing.”
Not everyone was offended by the photos, with many commenters offering supportive remarks. Other shared their similar breastfeeding journeys. But the backlash was enough to make Coco’s husband, actor and rapper Ice T, issue a defense of his wife.
“They make it like the baby only … breastfeeds,” Ice T told TMZ while at an event at the Paley Center in New York City.
He went on to say that Chanel only breastfeeds every once in a while when she “wants to get close to her mom.” In short, he underlined what Coco herself already said: At this stage, breastfeeding is more of a comfort tool than a nourishment vehicle.
As with most things, we think it’s best to leave the parenting decisions up to the parents. You do you, Coco!
Matt is a writer, editor, and content strategist currently based in Washington state. He has worked as a managing editor for the iconic I Can Has Cheezburger, Celebuzz (a SpinMedia site), and now Mamas Uncut. He also acted as the Social Media Director for CafeMom.