What Is Baby Led Weaning? Why Rehab Addict's Nicole Curtis Still Breastfeeds Her Toddler Son
Nicole Curtis has faced criticism over continuing to breastfeed her 2 1/2-year-old son, Harper
“I keep saying it’s not like he’s 7 or 8 — he’s still a baby,” she says in the latest issue of PEOPLE. “Every single day I have to weather criticism about how my child is too old to breastfeed. But when he weans, it’s going to be his decision. I truly believe it’s the child’s choice.”
With baby led weaning, children who are still breastfeeding or taking a bottle are encouraged to self-feed appropriate finger foods, rather than being slowly introduced to purées with a spoon.
To read more about Curtis’ story, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
“It doesn’t force children to eat — it allows them to discover food and gradually wean at their pace,” Curtis explains of her parenting style. The baby led weaning approach is one that Curtis feels passionate about, even if it causes conflict with her son’s father Shane Maguire
“Harper eats solid food,” says Curtis of her 30-month-old. “Breastmilk is the supplement, like giving a child a glass of milk with dinner. Instead of Harper getting a glass of cow’s milk, he’s getting milk that is meant for him from me.”
Curtis, who is an advocate for attachment parenting, a philosophy that promotes the attachment of the primary caregiver and infant through extreme responsiveness and physical closeness, says baby led weaning is the best choice for her child.
For Harper, “He was exclusively breastfed but he sat with us for meals and naturally started reaching and trying our food,” says Curtis. “I truly have seen a difference between my two children. (Curtis did not practice baby led weaning with her 19-year-old son Ethan from a previous relationship.) “Harper eats everything,” she says, adding, “It essentially takes the fight with food away.”