Breast milk doesn't have an expiration date, does it?

Blake Bakkila
April 02, 2018

Ask any new mom, and she'll tell you how friends, family, and even random strangers are always offering unsolicited advice concerning when and how she should breastfeed. But the criticism one nursing mother overheard recently touched such a nerve, she had to speak out.

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Stefania Giraldi, who runs the blog Mama’s Word, explained in a post that she was at a doctor’s appointment with her young daughter when she overheard two women having a conversation about how some women are "too old" to lactate.

“I am sure you are all familiar with the ‘too old to breastfeed’ remark, BUT have you ever heard it in relation to the MOTHER???” Giraldi wrote. “These two ladies were going on about how a woman they knew, who is 42 years old, was, in their opinion, too OLD to breastfeed!! And how her milk is probably not GOOD enough because of her age, to the disadvantage of the baby.”

Hello Mamas, I shared this post yesterday in a breastfeeding group I am a member of, and I got an OVERWHELMING...

Posted by MAMA'S WORD on Friday, March 16, 2018

As Giraldi fumed while listening to the conversation, her own daughter signaled that she needed to feed. “A few minutes later my daughter climbs on my lap wanting the boob (talk about right timing), and needless to say, I granted her wish immediately,” she said. “Obviously the ladies noticed I was breastfeeding (wasn’t hiding), I turn to them and I tell them: ‘By the way, I am 44 years old, 45 next June and my milk is perfect!”

“The look on their face, priceless,” she wrote, completing her words with a smirk emoji.

Commenters quickly came to Giraldi’s defense, calling her an “awesome momma” and laughing at the notion that she was too old. Others had more ideas for what she could have said to her critics.

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So is there any truth to the claim that mothers in their 40s are too old to nurse—or that their breast milk is unhealthy? Alyssa Dweck, MD, a New York–based ob-gyn and co-author of The Complete A to Z for Your V, cleared up the rumors.

"There is no limit to the age someone can lactate," she tells Health. Dr. Dweck explains that when a child suckles on the breast, the mom's pituitary gland begins to secrete prolactin, which kickstarts the production of more breast milk. "As long as [the child is] sucking, the brain and breast are intact, and breastfeeding is possible," she adds.