London - A British mother who still breastfeeds her five-year-old daughter every day has claimed it that stopped her child from catching playground illnesses.
Emma Shardlow Hudson, 29, nurses her daughter Alex and son Ollie, two, in between other meals - and sometimes feeds both children at once.
The professional photographer, who lives in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, is convinced that her daughter has avoided many of the germs that are often rife in nursery schools because of the "goodness" of her breastmilk.
The official guidelines recommends that all babies are exclusively breastfed until they are at least six months old. Statistics show that 73 percent of new mothers choose to nurse from birth.
However, by the time a baby reaches their first birthday only one in every 200 are still being breastfed, research suggests.
Hudson said: "It’s one of the biggest achievements of my life for sure, being able to nurture a child with my own body. It’s a completely selfless thing to do, but it’s probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life too.
"Before Alex was born, I wasn’t sure if it was a normal thing to breastfeed for so long.
"But it wasn’t even a conscious decision to keep feeding for so long - I just thought why stop when it’s good for them? My attitude has changed over time."
She added: "When she started nursery there were quite a few bugs going around but she had nothing in comparison to her classmates.
"My children are rarely ill, and I’m almost 100 percent positive that that is because of the antibodies in the milk.
"She’s always been a comforted baby and wants milk when she’s upset but I do think there’s a lot about the antibodies which is really good for her. It’s nice for me to be able to provide that for her."
Hudson said that her husband Stuart, a chef, was "quite happy" with the situation.
"He can see it helps her," she said. "He’s not really got any massive opinion on it so long as everyone is happy … Obviously he knows the benefits of it. He’s really supportive of it."