Usually, you don't want the words "rehab" or "addict" anywhere near a story about parenting, but things are a little different when you're talking about Nicole Curtis, star of Rehab Addict.
But Nicole has stirred up controversy over breastfeeding.
Unlike many such stories, it's not over feeding her baby in public (gasp!) ... but over the fact that, well, her kid's not really a baby anymore.
Rehab Addict is a long-running reality series about fixing up and restoring old homes, particularly when it comes to classic architecture.
Essentially, saving houses whenever possible. It's a neat concept.
Right now, that show's star, Nicole Curtis, is being mom-shamed.
Now, mom-shamers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Like that daddy blogger who leashed his kid, which we don't understand but which some people blew way out of proportion.
Or like when fans flipped out and accused Chelsea Houska of "poisoning" her baby when, in reality, she had him get his vaccinations, as responsible parents do.
But breastfeeding seems to really get people's garters in a twist.
(Probably because of our society's bizarre love-hate fixation with women and with women's breasts -- which we call "bizarre" because ... they're just breasts. What's not to love?)
Moms using their breasts to feed their babies seems to freak people out when it's in public. It's ludicrous, but it happens.
But sometimes, people do weird stuff.
Like using breastmilk to make brownies for a bake sale, weirding approximately everyone the eff out.
Or breastfeeding their baby while having sex, which is a kind of multitasking that makes people really, really uncomfortable.
Nicole Curtis' alleged breastfeeding weirdness is a little different, however.
Her issue isn't that she's feeding her child in an art gallery (gasp!) or on a bench in a public park (no!), but that ... he's 30 months old.
For those of you who don't enjoy math, that's two-and-a-half years.
Speaking to People, Nicole Curtis defends breastfeeding him despite his age.
"I keep saying, it’s not like he’s 7 or 8 -- he’s still a baby."
As critics are quick to point out ... he's literally not, though. Harper (for that's his name) is a toddler.
Nicole advocates letting children decide on their own when to stop breastfeeding.
"It doesn’t force children to eat -- it allows them to discover it and gradually wean at their pace."
That is a great idea ... up to a point. The question is, of course, where that line is and whether or not Nicole and Harper have crossed it.
Apparently, plenty of critics have decided that they have.
"Every single day I have to weather criticism about how my child is too old to breastfeed."
Nicole wants Harper to make this choice for himself.
"But when he weans, it’s going to be his decision. I truly believe it’s the child’s choice."
Plenty of children are allowed to decide when to be weaned. Plenty of them quit the breast earlier rather than later, as babies and toddlers like exploring and learning and experiencing the world.
Self-weaning might see a baby leaving boobs behind before they're a year old. But Harper is clearly on the other extreme end of the spectrum.
Nicole didn't bring this up with the world because she wants them all to know what an extra special snowflake she is, or whatever people imagine motivates minor celebrities from talking about their lives.
It's actually a legal issue for her. A custody issue for her.
A judge has literally ruled about this. (There have been a couple of rulings, actually)
Speaking of her young son, Nicole laments a sudden change in his dietary routine:
"He had never had a bottle before, and then all of a sudden that was his only option while he was with his dad."
That's a rough transition for a kid to make.
"I had no idea that a judge could say, ‘You’re court-ordered to not feed your exclusively breastfed child.'"
She also had trouble producing enough milk through a pump. Until then, she'd never needed to.
"It’s important that children have both of their parents. But [preventing] me from breastfeeding my child just so he can see the dad is not right."
Nicole says that she's sharing this story because it's important for people to know that it can happen. And because she wants to effect change.
"I’ve always been a fighter. If something’s not right, I’m the first person to stand up."
She hates that her divorce is impacting Harper in this way.
"And I don’t believe that my child should have to wean because of our situation."
A judge later ruled, giving her once-a-day visits with Harper during Harper's time with his father. (They exchange him on alternating weeks)
Honestly, in Western countries, it's normal to wean between ages 1 and 2, right? Sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later.
Worldwide, though, it's not uncommon to see children who don't wean until between ages 2 and 6.
That may sound bizarre -- most children in the West don't grow up with conscious memories of breastfeeding. The idea of breastfeeding when you're old enough to read is, to many, shocking.
But Harper isn't there yet. We'd say that, right now, he's right on the threshold.
If he's still breastfeeding when it's time for preschool, then yeah, it might be time for Nicole to make that choice for him, before it hinders his social development.
Right now, though? All of that mom-shaming seems wasted when there are plenty of bad moms out there.
Also, we should note that Nicole seems to almost welcome the criticism. She told a recent critic that she's also against infant circumcision (a view shared by many human rights advocates) in case people are looking for other things to hold against her.
Like she said, she's a real fighter.