Time Magazine and toddler breastfeeding

Time Magazine is causing quite the stir with the cover photo of their latest issue:

Above, Jamie Lynne Grumet was photographed breastfeeding her 3-year old son, along with 3 other mothers who practice “extended breastfeeding” as a part of attachment parenting – a type of parenting that is on the rise.

“When you think of breast-feeding, you think of mothers holding their children, which was impossible with some of these older kids,” photographer Martin Schoeller said about his extended breastfeeding series. “I liked the idea of having the kids standing up to underline the point that this was an uncommon situation.”

Grumet breastfed from her own mother until the age of 6, describing it as “really warm…like embracing your mother, like a hug.” in an interview with Time Magazine’s Kate Pickert. When Grumet adopted her son (then 2, not pictured) from Ethiopia, she was still lactating from her younger bio son (pictured). She was able to form a close bond with her adopted son through breastfeeding. As he began to learn the language, his need for breastfeeding grew less and less. Now at age 5, he breastfeeds maybe once a month.

However, some moms aren’t all keen on the practice of extended breastfeeding and Attachment Parenting, or even of Time’s decision to post such a controversial cover.

Jacqueline Burt of The Stir described how AP brought out her weakest parenting flaws of setting boundaries and feeling mom-guilt when things went wrong, and how it worked up until the time when her kids weren’t supposed to be as attached to her anymore. “Attachment parenting went sour for me when things like preschool and drop-off birthday parties entered the equation. Separation anxiety? You could say my kids had some issues in that area. At that point, I started to wonder — had I done them a disservice?”

Jessica Wakeman of The Frisky comments on the obvious hotness of the 26-year old BFing mom, musing, “I make no judgments about this mother’s attachment parenting or breastfeeding. But I wonder, will the visceral reaction to this provocative cover  — which I would place bets on being covered up at newsstands, a la Cosmopolitan titties —  do more harm to the parenting tactics she believes in than it will do good?”

Lisa Belkin of Huff Post takes issue with the title of being Mom Enough, saying, “I am not Mom enough to take the bait. To accept TIME’s deliberate provocation and either get mad at this woman for what I think I know about her from this photo, or to feel inferior, or superior, or defensive, or guilty — or anything at all, if it means I am comparing myself to other mothers.”

And more often than anything, the comparison to this photo and soft porn has been used.

What’s your take on mothers who breastfeed their babies well into (or past) their toddler years? Is this taking the Attachment Parenting movement too far? Is this helping or hurting children?


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