A NORTH Yorkshire mum will tonight appear on a television show to explain why she continues to breastfeed her five-year-old.

Sharon Spink, 47, from Sherburn in Elmet, will appear on the TLC programme Extreme Breastfeeding, to explain why she is an advocate of "natural term" breastfeeding and wants to normalise the idea of older children being breastfed.

The mum-of-four has been criticised for breast feeding her daughter Charlotte but has said it is for her to decide for herself when she wants to stop.

The jewellery designer argues her daughter takes comfort and nutritional value from continuing to breast feed and said she could continue for as long as she wants and is able to.

Sharon said: "I'm happy for Charlotte to feed until she wants to stop. Children will naturally wean themselves if they are allowed.

"I'm for mums having a choice.

"I want to get the message out there to mums that it's okay to breastfeed. There are health benefits - we know how good breastfeeding is for children - and to let mums know this is normal, and children do continue to feed".

Sharon said she would no longer breastfeed her daughter, who turns six this month, in public but that it is part of her bedtime routine at home.

They have previously been victim to criticism, with the suggestion made she wants to continue to baby her daughter and a comparisons drawn with the Little Britain character, Bitty.

Sharon said: "I have been called all the names under the sun, and not usually to my face, it's usually online."

Sharon, who has two grown-up children and an eight-year-old daughter Isabel, said her husband Paul, 42, is supportive. She said she only breastfed her other children for a relatively short amount of time due to a lack of awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding.

Sharon said the programme features a mother from Australia who continues to breastfeed her six-year-old, an American devotee of attachment parenting who pole dances with her baby in a sling, a man who drinks breast milk in his fight against illness and a woman who breastfed a pet which would otherwise die.

While no Government or international body has a recommended upper age limit on when a mother should stop breast feeding her child, the World Health Organization (WHO) said there are a range of health benefits for exclusively breast feeding babies for the first six months.

After that the WHO suggests a combination of foods, fluids and breast milk up to the age of two "or beyond"

Sharon, a member of the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers, runs a support page on Facebook called Booby & The Beads Breastfeeding Support.

- Extreme Breastfeeding is due to air on TLC tonight at 10pm.