An Open Letter to TIME Magazine




Really, TIME Magazine?  Really??  Here are some of the sentiments you’ve inspired:


“Cut the cord!”










“that kid isnt being raised in the jungle and im sure theres a mcdonalds close by … save the boobs for infants and men not toddlers!” (<— Actual quote.)


I woke up to these descriptions of myself & many of my friends yesterday morning, when your “controversial” new cover exploded all over the Internet.  The backlash has been predictably strong, & it is inherently aimed not just at the stunning woman nursing her child on the cover, but all women who practice Attachment Parentingfull-term breastfeeding.  Thank you, TIME, for doing a seemingly sensationalist piece, generously setting AP parents up to be gawked at like freaks.  Thank you, because no matter how negatively you attempt to spin it, our culture needs to see breastfeeding, & someone is bound to gain some wisdom from it.


Granted, I haven’t read the full article because it’s not out yet; I’ve just seen the cover & read some blurbs, but I can only imagine the shock & awe responses it has garnished were your intent.  It’s laughable yet heartbreaking to see the horrified reaction of the public to something as healthy as breastfeeding a 3-year-old.  All female mammals breastfeed until their young are ready to wean— but when a human female does it, she is berated & harassed.


I’m going to use the word ignorant— it means “lacking knowledge.”  People are ignorant about normal, healthy breastfeeding.  People really don’t like to hear that or admit it, but they are ignorant.  They say things like, “That’s not healthy!” when, actually, breastfeeding a 3-year-old is healthy— epically healthier than giving a child cow breast milk (from a cow full of growth hormones & antibiotics).  Breast milk also kills cancer, so there’s that.  Breastfeeding promotes attachment & bonding, which makes it mentally healthy too.  In the second year of breastfeeding, breast milk provides:


  • 29% of energy requirements
  • 43% protein requirements
  • 36% of calcium requirements
  • 75% of vitamin A requirements
  • 76% folate requirements
  • 94% vitamin B12 requirements
  • 60% vitamin C requirements.


Yet mothers who choose to provide their child with this healthy lifestyle are hassled about it regularly.  We hear accusations like, “Mom needs to let go!” when, actually, I would be fine with my son weaning presently.  But I continue to breastfeed because he asks, & because I have been researching this topic for over four years & I am aware of the plethora of facts that support full-term breastfeeding.  It is an educated, empowered choice that I am proud of.   Also, why in the world should I be in a hurry to kick my not-even-4-year-old child out of the nest?  I love having him near me.  I understand the importance of the first 3 years of a child’s life to their overall development, so my intention has been to keep my son close & securely bonded for at least as long.  It doesn’t make me a hysterical clingy mother.  It makes me informed & doing what I think is best.  No attempts at shaming with taunts of “cut the cord” will change my decisions.


My son will be 4 at the end of May.  That is around the natural weaning age; it’s normal throughout the world.  He asks to nurse once or twice a week these days, & only for a minute.  I learned from the many horrible comments online that some people believe an older child who is still breastfeeding is not eating any solid food…  Oh dear goodness.  My child eats food.  I gave him solid food after 6 months as recommended, but he wasn’t really interested until about 10 months.  He eats a lot.  You know how some children drink glasses of cow milk in addition to eating solid food?  Breastfeeding a toddler is kind of like that, except there’s an emotional aspect beyond hydration.


Women should be breastfeeding for at least two years, according to the World Health Organization & UNICEFNot breastfeeding for at least two years increases your child’s risk of various diseases.  The natural weaning age  is anywhere from 2.5 to 7 years, so what the woman on the cover was doing was perfectly normal, natural, & healthy.


Except for the glaringly baiting, manipulative way it was set up.  You made the entire thing tabloid-esque, TIME.  Jamie Lynn Grumet is a beautiful woman who is a great representative to educate people about AP.  She was breastfed until she was 6, & she breastfed both her biological & adopted child.  She’s a champ!  But the other photos from the same shoot are more accurate representations of what full-term nursing looks like.  Although I think Grumet is awesome for putting herself out there & working to inform people, I am disappointed with your choice to use the typical sexualized, thin white woman, especially since it’s an issue we desperately need normalized.  One of the major reasons women in the US don’t breastfeed (aside from our terrible maternity leave) is the over-sexualization of breasts.  With your choice you made it easy for people to sexualize breastfeeding, which they did, & which I can only guess was the intent.  There are many other, more realistic examples of breastfeeding women out there.  Also, we usually do not nurse our children while they are standing on a chair, nor do our kids’ faces generally display a look of “Do I really have to?”  I don’t find the cover image shocking personally, because I think breastfeeding ROCKS & I am happy when it’s done fearlessly.  But your intentions were clear.


The photo really is not my issue though.  Use whoever you want & pose them however you want.  It’s the loaded words that are greatly disappointing.  ARE YOU MOM ENOUGH— mom enough for what??  “Mom enough” to breastfeed as is recommended by major health organizations?  It has nothing to do with being “mom enough;” that is your imprudent fabrication, clearly aimed at alienating.  People, in the US especially, often do not know that child-led weaning is normal & healthy, so really it’s an issue of being informed & able enough.  If they knew it was recommended & healthy, maybe they wouldn’t have such a disgusted & horrified reaction to the idea.  Transparently attempting to pit mothers against each other with inflammatory language is such a low blow, I can’t help but picture snickering editors wickedly rubbing their hands together, imagining the debate & upset caused by their deliberate wording.  Trying to inspire “mommy wars” is pathetic, & shows your true regard to your readers.


The subtitle under the headline is inflammatory ignorance at its finest: “Why attachment parenting drives some mothers to extremes.”  What is extreme about breastfeeding my child in the NORMAL & RECOMMENDED way?  What is extreme about employing a parenting style that has been thoroughly researched, fosters healthy attachment, prevents child abuse, produces independent, well-adjusted kids & a healthier society?


You may think it’s extreme because our culture is absurdly obsessed with forcing independence on children, rather than nurturing them in a healthy way.  It is not “extreme” by the definition of the word— not according to how most cultures around the world have practiced child rearing since the beginning of their existence.  The majority of people in the US (or at least those taking polls & expressing their opinions freely) seem to have a viciously strong reaction against the idea of “over” nurturing kids.  “My parents whooped me & I’ll whoop my kids” is a much more popular sentiment than responding peacefully & gently to children, understanding that their behavior, though sometimes frustrating, is developmentally appropriate.  The US also has the highest rate of child abuse & child murder in the developed world.


The ignorance of normal breastfeeding & Attachment Parenting is itself extreme.  AP isn’t about spoiling a child or refusing to “cut the cord.”  Dr. Sears says, “Attachment parenting is not a new style of parenting.  Attachment parenting is one of the oldest ways of caring for babies.  In fact, it’s the way that parents for centuries have taken care of babies, until childcare advisors came on the scene and led parents to follow books instead of their babies.  Attachment parenting is not indulgent parenting.  You may hear or worry that being nurturing and responsive to your baby’s needs might spoil your baby and set you up for being manipulated manipulated by your baby.  This is why we stress that attachment parenting is responding appropriately to your baby’s needs, which means knowing when to say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no.’”


AP is a philosophy based on attachment theory, which shows that children who have their needs met consistently & gently are less likely to have attachment disorders, anxiety, depression, addiction, & criminal behavior.  Keep them near, breastfeed, & have deep connection, communication, & compassion.  It is a sad sign of our culture that a mother being devoted & making evidence-based choices for her child is considered “extreme.”  I can say personally that AP works very well for me as a single parent; it gives me the tools to respond compassionately to my son, which makes my life easy.  We have a strong bond, which means no tantrums & lots of cooperation.  It’s awesome.


Your cover could have portrayed the beauty behind AP in an encouraging way, but instead the language is pretty disgusting.  It’s divisive, petty, & rude.  Since yesterday I’ve read (but not verified) that the cover model has received death threats & phone-calls to CPS because she appeared in your magazine.  I wonder— did you know it would blow up like this?  Was the level of disdain implied really necessary?  Was it worth it to sell out moms just to sell magazines?


You have an opportunity to support & empower mothers— the workers who make all other work possible— or betray & berate them.  I am hoping the article within is full of factual information & empirical data that makes the case to normalize what you’ve set up to appear extreme.    Studies show that almost 1,000 babies’ lives could be saved every year in the US if more women would breastfeed as recommended.  UNICEF says normal breastfeeding could save millions of babies’ lives around the world every year.  TIME, your cover was a massive letdown, but your article has the potential to be life-savingly influential, & I genuinely hope you chose that path instead of continuing on the sensationalizing one.


But either way, while the route you chose for the cover bothers me & many other mothers, I am glad that you approached the topic, even in such a patronizing way.  You see, not everyone responds to things foreign to them with such rage & horror as the American public has reacted to this concept.  The first time I saw a woman breastfeeding a toddler I was surprised because it was new to me, but instead of stereotyping & attacking, I read a little about the topic, became informed, & decided it was a choice I wanted to make for my family.  Somewhere out there some people are wise enough to not be swayed by your silly form of “journalism.”  Instead of being afraid of things that are different, & immediately condemning them, your article will inspire them to further seek the truth.  So, at least, thank you for that.



About Kristen Tea

I am a 27-year-old single, attached, informed, lactivist, intactivist, peaceful Minnesotan mother of almost 4-year-old Sun Ronin a.k.a Sunny Boy. I am an artist & lover of expression. I’m also a student with many things to learn, including nutritional therapy, lactation consulting, doulahood, yoga instructing, & more. I believe that unplanned pregnancies do not have to equal uninformed motherhood, & women have the power to restore humanity to everything we touch.


151 thoughts on “An Open Letter to TIME Magazine”

  1. I totally agree with you. As someone who breastfed both my sons until they were over two (and my youngest until he was almost 3) I have been saying this for years. My family criticized me for breast feeding for so long, but my oldest (who is now 26 years-old) has grown up to be a man that I am so proud of. He’s confident, kind and intelligent.

    My 12 year-old is still growing, but he’s confident, gregarious and always happy. Oh and intelligent as well (although much lazier than his brother- lol).

    I believe that the Time cover and the article title were meant as a divisive tool. Somehow insinuating that we attachment parents are saying that if mother’s don’t breastfeed for that long they are wrong. The fact is, whatever is right for mother and child is right. We need to start supporting our sisters for choices that they make- whether or not those choices are in accordance with ours. Some women are not able to breastfeed that long due to economic or psychological circumstances. And that’s okay too. Those of us who do make that commitment are not any better or worse than our sister mothers- our circumstances are different- that’s all. For me, that’s the biggest wrong that Time Magazine did- trying to incite a war between mothers.

    Thank-you for such an insightful letter. I support you 100%.

  2. An excellent response to that Time article. Thank you. Women’s health also benefits from breastfeeding. There is a protective factor in terms of how long a woman breastfeeds in regards to ovarian and breast cancer. The longer a woman breastfeeds, the more protected she is. So it is sensible to breastfeed as long as possible.

    As for connected mothering, well of course it is best for baby and best for the mother – but our society is harsh and disconnected and no wonder when we consider how mothers and babies were treated for years in western society hospitals. So the primal and negative reaction to what is being called ‘attachment parenting’ across society is understandable, if disturbing. Thank goodness for these parents who are recognising the damaging nature of the meme of disconnect and creating a new meme of connection and love.

  3. Oh my gosh, I think you may need to become my new guru. No Pressure though! Thank you for showing off the kick-ass-skills a SINGLE, young mum can be!! I love all the linkage and research you got in the post, will definitely check some more of it out.

    As for the time: I guess there is nothing else interesting going on like an election this coming Fall that they have to fall back on such low-esteem journalism to sell their magazine. Sad, I think.

  4. Thanks for writing this, although most of the people who disaree with full-term breastfeeding will not bother to read this. It’s just nice to kind of purge myself of the negativity that’s surrounding the Time article. I have read some follow-ups to the article, and the misinformation is astounding. My biggest pet peeve is that so many Americans think that breastfeeding is only recommended for six months because of the wording that the AAP chose to use. I think a better wording would be to say “Breastfeeeding is recommended for at least two years, continuing as long as mother and child wish, with solid food introduced in the second half of the first year in accordance with signs of readiness.” The way it’s written now is very easy to misinterpret.

  5. Well said! Every parent will do what is right for them. I think it’s so sad how society views so-called “AP” which not so long ago was the norm……..

  6. I’m not judging any woman who decided to breast feed their child for the first two years, I’ll even give you until almost 3 since I know from experience that sometimes it’s hard to break just the nighttime comfort of breast feeding and even the evening bottle. I personally feel that if a child is old enough to eat with a fork and spoon and drink out of a cup there is no reason for them to be suckling on a nipple of any sort. Not a boob, a bottle, a pacifier, or a thumb. At some point you have to admit it’s being done because it’s a habit, a routine. Sooner or later the routine is going to have to change.

  7. Amen sister! We’re only 15 months along our breastfeeding journey, but intentions of stopping here.

  8. Did you read the article? Breastfeeding until 3 is perfectly NORMAL & HEALTHY, regardless of your opinion, which appears uninformed. You “personally feel” that once a child can eat with a fork they should be done? That is an not based on science whatsoever. It’s a good thing you do not control anyone else’s bodies & your inaccurate opinions don’t matter 😉

  9. Nice of you, Non judgemental, to “give” Kristen your approval to nurse until almost 3. 😛 The whole point is that when the kid is ready to give up the night nursing, habit or not, he will. It has nothing to do with him being able to use a knife and fork or a cup. It’s not related, get it? Yes, sooner or later, the routine will change – when he forgets to ask for it. Believe me, he won’t go to junior high school still nursing…probably not even kindergarten!

    From a mother and grandmother who’s been there.

  10. and lets not forget that TIME really makes all the moms that couldn’t breastfeed at all or for as long as desired, feel like they were just ‘not Mom enough’ – thanks TIME for dogging on such a sensitive issue…so much pressure to be a perfect mom already!

  11. Beautiful response. I nursed my son till after 3, my oldest daughter also, my toddler will be 3 next month and is still nursing twice a day, i am also nursing my 4 month old baby. I have dealt with many negative comments from uninformed people about nursing past 6 months, about cosleeping, tandem nursing, nursing through pregnancy, about not physically punishing my children.. The list goes on. I just wish that someday our culture will make a swing towards a more natural nurturing style of parenting, or at least not look down on those that choose to.

  12. Wow! You said this so well, so eloquently. YOU need to be heard by the ignorant masses! Thank you for saying so well, exactly what so many of us are thinking.

  13. Well done. Love your article. More intelligence, less ignorance would go a long way towards making the world a better place. I was proud to breast feed until 12 months, and had I known what I know now I would have carried on longer. xx

  14. And while the rest of us can read and have breast fed our kids, some of us do not agree with extended breastfeeding or attachment parenting. I feel that if you are nursing for a minute once a week with a 4 yr old then maybe weaning has been going on for awhile. There are so many other ways to comfort a 3 or 4 yr old…hugging, reading, rocking and just giving of your time. I nursed all three of my babies and they let me know when they were ready to be weaned at between 1 and 1 1/2…when the actual milk is not what they want and they are just playing its time to initiate weaning. And guess what? They all grew into responsible adults with college degrees jobs and wives.

  15. That’s great you feel that way *for yourself* Rose. If the WHO says “up to or beyond 2 years & as long as mutually desired” then why is almost-4-years an issue for you? It’s not an issue for me, so why the opinion on MY body? Maybe you think it’s “wrong”– based on what? Something more valuable to me than the WHO breastfeeding recommendation? I doubt it. There are many ways to bond with a 4-year-old; I do all those too :) I just happen to nurse him when he asks. You are absolutely right that weaning has been happening for a while now– most notably since he turned 3. Yet he still asks, & major health organizations recommend it, so I don’t see any problems :)

  16. Great!! I exclusively pumped for my son for 6 months (LONG story) and am a huge supporter of women who choose to breastfeed for as long as they want. I personally don’t know that I’d be comfortable breastfeeding a toddler, but having not been there myself, I don’t know for sure 😛 You are doing what is, in your opinion, best for your family! We should not begrudge any mother for doing that–whether it is breastfeeding for a day, a week, a year, or half a decade!

  17. Oh Kristen, how I love you! You always do such a great job of putting things in perspective and spreading truth :)

  18. I breast fed my beautiful boy exclusively (as recommended by WHO) for the first 6 months. He was weaned b/c my work schedule did not accommodate breast feeding or pumping on demand. Yes, I know the law gives me the right to pump or feed, but its not always that easy when you’re a bartender. The world health organization (WHO) seeks to represent all countries, most being 3rd world. 3rd world countries do not have the nutritional foods that are readily available in the US. The WHO posts these recommendations (by the way, it only says 2 years and beyond) because in many cultures breast milk is the only nutrition to be found. It is your right to keep your child on the breast for years and years. But, don’t you want your child to learn self soothing, at the age you are talking about, it is no longer about nutrition, it appears to be more about your need to stay close. I love being close to my son, but I also have to work. My child has learned to soothe himself without my breast. I can leave him with friends and family and he is perfectly contented by them.

  19. Catherine, it seems that you may have missed the part about all the health benefits of breast milk past the 2nd year. You might want to re-read it.

    “The WHO posts these recommendations (by the way, it only says 2 years and beyond) because in many cultures breast milk is the only nutrition to be found.” <— That is just completely false. NOT TRUE at all. There are many notable benefits to full-term breastfeeding. Follow some of the links posted in my article. Breast milk doesn't magically lose its amazing qualities after a certain age. You should really do some more research on this topic, because you are incorrect.

    The WHO does NOT make its recommendation aimed solely at Third World Women– their 2years+ recommendation is for all mothers, which their literature is very clear about. You should read some of it.

    "it appears to be more about your need to stay close." You are incorrect. I am fully aware of my feelings regarding breastfeeding at this time in my life, & as I said above, I would be fine with him being done now. I am content that he rarely asks to nurse anymore. *He* may need it to feel close occasionally, which I am also completely fine with. But your claims that it's no longer about nutrition are incorrect. He still gets breast milk, which is an excellent source of many living vitamins & minerals (plus it kills cancer cells), so how is it not about nutrition? You should really read more about this topic, at least if you're going to comment…

    That's awesome your son got 6mo exclusively breastfeeding! Self-soothing is not a goal of mine; I only let my son soothe himself if he says he needs some space, but if he needs me for soothing, I consider that my job. I am his mother, & when I became a mother I understood part of my job would be helping him with emotional regulation. He's THREE. We're not in a hurry.

    "by the way, it only says 2 years and beyond" <— I specifically said the WHO recommends up to 2 years & beyond several times, & linked to their official statement saying the same. I am not sure what you are misunderstanding.

  20. Almost sounds to me as if you’re feeling guilty, rose. Why do you feel the need to stress that your children are responsible adults with college degrees, jobs and wives? How does that ‘prove’ your approach is ‘better’? You seem to be trying to defend yourself by stating your way is ‘best’.

    Weaning is a process which usually takes some time. It starts at 6 months with the introduction of solids, and can take years, up until the age of 7. You seem to have a problem with that, but it’s perfectly normal and natural, as explained in the article above.

  21. I don’t really care who breatfeeds whom, where, or for how long. I just really don’t need to see it. I know it’s natural…so is taking a dump. I also don’t need to see that.

  22. This was my biggest issue with the TIME cover. In addition to making EBF something to gawk at, it implied that women who didn’t or couldn’t weren’t good enough as mums.

  23. Well written, and interesting. Thank you for having the courage to speak up for breastfeeding. I nursed my daughter until she rejected at six months. It broke my heart & I know she HATED the bottle. About a month after we had to stop I figured out why she stopped – I had eaten some very spicy food. I just had forgotten it was a no-no. Unfortantely it hurt my baby’s tummy & I ended up drying up. I would have nursed until she no longer wanted to.

    I hear people say all the time – isn’t he too old? Here in Europe they nurse until the children are quite old – to American standards. It’s natural.

    I am also a single Mom & I’m proud of how my daughter turned out – now 24. Never stop doing what is right for you & your son. I wish you all the best.

  24. Ooooook…..first of all please dont attack me just because i dont agree with you(since you seem to have done with all the poeple till now who didnt think like you) just like u want control over your body, everyone else is entiteled to the same privalige. The real people who should be offended by that article are people like me…i have 5 beautiful children who i have NOT breastfed (a) because i have not wanted to and (b) in the last few years have not been able to ,you think people gawk at you coz u breastfeed a 4 yr old??? try being with me when i tell people i have never wanted to breastfeed they look at me like i have fallen off the moon!!! and u might think so aswell, but what can you do thats MY choice,and i would like to challenge anyone to come and meet me and my children and say we are not normal,or i am not loving enough,or they are not healthy. When they cry i am there for them,just not with a nipple to thrust in the mouth,when they wake up in the night i comfort them and hug them,just not by breastfeeding-comfort and love can come in other forms and techniques,i really have a problem when we are suddenly compared to mamals and animals, HELLO! we are humans we are above animals,we have the GOD given gift of speech, and the difference to choose moral behaviour so putting up a picture of a cat feeding kittens is totally not the same.

    ” Also, why in the world should I be in a hurry to kick my not-even-4-year-old child out of the nest?” you are also exaggerating here no one says that by stopping to breastfeed you are throwing ur kids out of the nest, your children will be yours for many many years to come and a little secret(coz this is how i feel about my mother) you always need a mummy!! there is no other replacement!! Oh and i wasnt breastfed :)

    “All female mammals breastfeed until their young are ready to wean” this is another bad example coz extended breastfeeding has nothing to do with weaning as you yourself say you started to wean at 6 months…but again i dont want to lose my point here,i am not attacking you,you are entiteled to do whatever u like with your children and your body,i just want the same right, for someone to say i am not mom enough is just insulting and also comes from ignorance-being a good mom can come from so many different perspectives at the end of the day each mom has to go with her heart and do what she feels is right for her,a happy mommy makes a happy child….i hope you will agree with me on that at least!! :)

  25. Well done Kristen! Great article, posted it on my FB page and has been shared by others over 40 times. Love the cat meme too. 😀

  26. Thank you for this excellent response to TIMe magazines story. It is heartfelt, sincere and well researched. As a mum feeding her almost 2 year old I find this subject fascinating, especially because I have it all to come, my son will be naturally weaned, so as he gets older more and more people will respond to me with ignorance and horror. Thanks again. Photo of my nursing my son

  27. pck, then you should turn your head or shut your eyes! It’s incredibly easy to NOT see breastfeeding. On the other hand, our society desperately needs to see breastfeeding. Cultures where women breastfeed openly have much higher rates & much healthier people. So I & many others will continue to nurse openly, as is our protected right.

  28. I am not “attacking” anyone. It really bothers me when people use that word to describe adults expressing their opinions on the internet in a non-aggressive, non-inflammatory way. Real attacks are REAL. Children who are bullied, women who are assaulted– THOSE are “attacks.” Willingly leaving a comment on a blog & getting a reasonable response is not getting “attacked.”

    Anyway, I do think it’s unfortunate that you didn’t want to breastfeed– it’s kind of like not wanting to use a carseat. YOU may not want to & of course you can make your choice– but what about what children want & deserve? Children deserve safety & health, which comes from carseats & breast milk, NOT formula. But I doubt you want to believe that, so moving on…

    You say I am exaggerating about kicking my almost-4-yo out of the nest, but that is not an exaggeration. I have read the comments, I know. I don’t mean kick him out of my home, obviously– but people in the US seem really determined to never coddle children, telling me to “cut the cord” simply because I still nurse weekly. People tell me to smack him instead of comfort him, ignore his cries or he’ll never grow up, leave him to cry at night & force him into his own room (yes, he still sleeps in my room & I’m glad)– kick him out of my mothering nest. So you’re wrong there.

    Your statement about weaning is VERY inaccurate. Where did *I* say I started weaning at 6 months? I said my son tried solids at 6mo & didn’t like them until about 10mo, but solid food was about 1% of his diet, the rest was breast milk. He didn’t start significantly lessening his amount of nursing until he was 3-years-old. Either way, mammals nurse their children until they wean themselves, typically around the *equivalent* of 4 years or so — & they eat some solids at the same time, just like humans. Comparing human lactation to other mammals is a GREAT example– you should read some of the articles about natural weaning linked above, maybe then you’d understand that the comparison is accurate.

  29. I breastfed both of my children till the were 3 as well. I also tandem fed my children. I had never heard of anyone doing that at the time. I would not go back and redo a thing!

  30. I was unable to breastfeed my son (long story) and I really wanted to. I actually had a person in the grocery store harass me because I was bottle feeding my son. I think you did a great job of standing up for ALL moms. Thank you.

  31. Catherine – I think it’s great that you BFed your son as long as you did, given the challenge of pumping at work for you. I just want to tell you my own experience to clear up what seems like a misconception about full-term breastfeeding. I’m still BFing my two and a half year old, and she is also able to self-sooth. In fact, at the playground, I’ve been told by other mothers that they are surprised at how quickly she bounces back from a scraped knee or other disappointment. She’s “securely attached,” which means she knows I’m there for her when she needs me and is therefore able to explore with confidence. Of course, children can be securely attached without BFing, but I credit some of her security to my BFing her.

    I can and have left her with family or babysitters for many hours (including overnight) without any problem. With my first child, I thought that as long as I was BFing I couldn’t be away from my child for more than a few hours at a time, and since I was ready to take a weekend away from her, I weaned her earlier than either of us would have liked. Fortunately, now I know that I can take that weekend away and come back and continue nursing.

  32. Thanks Kristen for all you do and speaking up. I’m so glad I let my son choose when to wean (he chose 7.5 years). It was hard work. But I’ll never regret meeting his needs and helping him keep his immune system as strong as it could be (the human immune system isn’t fully robust until 6 or 7 – one of the reasons Kathryn Dettwyler PhD concludes age 7ish is the ideal weaning age). Thanks again! :)

  33. Thank you for this!! My son has just self weaned at 5 years, 2 months.. I’m so happy with our choice regarding extended breastfeeding..

  34. Those sentiments that you’ve listed at the start of your letter were out there whether or not TIME positioned itself as an asshole with their recent cover, and women have already been asking themselves if they are “mom enough” in various ways (I’m speaking for myself, but I don’t think I’m alone here). What’s the big deal?

    I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but I’ve done all that attachment parenting stuff, and yes it was wonderful, but it was also a pain in the ass and I probably could have done things a little easier and not have lost a whole lot. I think the important thing about the discussion that the TIME cover “inspires” is that we all look for ways we are working in common to raise our children lovingly. There is no us vs. them. It’s just “us” out here.

    Can we please take a chill-pill already?

  35. Oh god, pck, THAT arguement again? Are you unfamiliar with the previous billions of discussions about this topic? See: everything before you. Enlighten yourself! Well done Kristen.

  36. PCK,

    Please look the other way, throw a blanket over your head or go hang out at home all day so that you don’t see people feeding their little ones the way God intended for them to be fed. We are not hiding just to please the likes of you. You are obviously a very crude person to compare feeding a child with the body getting rid of waste. Breastmilk is not waste. It is important food/nutrient/medicine/immune booster and security for our human race. Please get an education.

  37. bruteandbird, I tried to explain why it’s a big deal up there^ (in fact, that’s the premise of the whole article), but I guess I can try again. The “us” vs. “them” shows itself in the nearly hateful attitude the American public has toward breastfeeding mothers. Have you ever been harassed for breastfeeding? I have. It’s a big deal. Women get harassed for nursing all the time– on busses, in restaurants, in Target, by family members, by doctors, by social workers. It’s another form of sexist oppression of women. TIME’s cover encourages that attitude, using wording & an image that clearly strives to make full-term breastfeeding/AP look like freakish extreme behavior. You are right those attitudes are out there whether TIME chooses that route or not, but they did make the obvious, manipulative choice. It bothers me, & many others.

    I am surprised that you found AP to be a “pain in the ass”! That has not been my experience at all. Maybe some of the tenets of AP should have been adjusted for your situation to make it less of a pain. The point of defending AP isn’t to say it’s so much better than “them.” But Ap is one of the most misunderstood topics I’ve ever encountered! People assume it’s about spoiling a child, never letting them do anything, wrapping them in bubble wrap. The stereotypes & judgement are HUGE. I hope people will understand there is science behind it.

  38. Great article! I would like to breast feed my daughter for over a year , but I do find it challenging to because the majority of moms think that im crazy or it isnt right (including my husband). I really wish more people were educated on the subject and the benefits of breast feeding. Even though research has shown that breast feeding is better, I still get frowned upon by mothers who use formula :(

  39. Breastfeeding is akin to adults eating in restaurants. Your comparison to “taking a dump” is crude and childish. I really don’t need to see intolerant people like YOU, come to think of it.

  40. Pck, do you associate “taking a dump” with you eating your lunch? I doubt it. Pretty sure you have eaten in public places where people can see you. Why does a child eating their lunch or getting a quick drink have to be equated to using the bathroom? They are not even close to being the same thing and implying so, completely undermines your previous statement of “I don’t really care who breastfeeds whom, where, or for how long.”

  41. Thank you so much for writing this!! I love attachment parenting. I breastfed both of my boys until they were 3!! I am now nursing my 5-month old also. I plan on nursing him until he is ready to stop. I have always been put down for nursing my kids for so long, but Most people are truly ignorant about breastfeeding. I try to just ignore comments, even when the remarks come from family members. Breastfeeding is also an emotional thing. It’s not easy to just cut them off from nursing. Weaning is a gradually, natural process. Why do so many people think it’s that easy?? This leads me to believe that we are dealing with generations of bottle fed babies and parents who bottle fed. Most people don’t have a clue about the benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and child. Now, I don’t really care about what people think. I don’t nurse my children in public after the age of 1 because people JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND. Myself, along with so many other mothers have become “closet nursers” because of this.

  42. You get hassled by moms who are feeding their poor babes formula?? I have a hard time biting my tongue when I see someone shaking up a bottle of formula for a wee babe — or scooping rice cereal into a bottle — or feeding a child McDonalds. It is ill-informed parenting choices and lack of education and honesty that makes some mothers think that boob milk is somehow not the best thing for a human babe.

    You go with those boobs, mama! We are on your side.

  43. I have three very happy kids, they are 24, 23, and 20. I was unable to breast feed any of them past three months. My oldest simply started refusing the breast, my other two failed to thrive on breast milk alone. It would be nice if you got of your high horse and realise that loving your kids and nurturing them is what counts. I would have loved to breast feed longer, but I couldn’t.

  44. Could you please quote me where I’m on a “high horse”? Whenever people state facts about breastfeeding they get accusations like this, claims of “self-righteousness” & being on a “high horse.” Why? Because it’s hard to hear facts about formula & breastfeeding? You are right that loving & nurturing your kids is what counts, but the risks of formula are many, & parents deserve to know that. So I’ll keep talking about it– or as you say, ride on my “high horse.”

  45. I’m so impressed by your fantastic article and even more so by your polite, informed responses to negative comments. It speaks volumes about you. Your son is so lucky. He has a great mom. Thank you for spreading this message. I have read the TIME article and was terribly disappointed, but your article I will share with everyone I know.

  46. Thank you so much for using the phrase “child-led weaning.” Many mothers whose children self-wean at a young age are judged harshly by others when they then bottle-feed.

    Love for your children, effort on their behalf, and responsiveness to their needs are what is important. It’s a shame Time couldn’t focus its converage on that!

  47. USA is the only ignorant country in the world where you could expect a reaction like this. It is OK for boobs in pornography or advertising…. but it becomes an atrocity when they are actually being used for their intended purpose. Hopefully we evolve into more caring human beings, otherwise we are doomed for sure… and soon!

  48. Thank you for such an outstanding and necessary letter. I am not sure I would have caledl myself an AP parent but by all definitions I am. I continue to nurse by 3.5 year old daughter daily and tonight even thought of starting to wean her. It is something she deeply values and now i understand more clearly my need to let her self-wean. She was born at home 3 weeks early and didn’t latch until almost one month old. I pumped and finger fed around the clock to help her gain weight and I told myself if she nurses she can nurse until she weans herself. She is a strong, intelligent, bonded little girl and nursing her has been integral to her health and wellbeing. I understand not all women find nursing easy – myself included – but I was supported by people who believed in me and her. We all make the best decisions we can for our children, so let’s all get on one side together, suppotring eachother and doing our utmost to be oustanding parents.

  49. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am literally standing and giving my computer an ovation!!! I LOVE this entry and you have spoken for so many of us who are actively breastfeeding and attachment parenting. This is outstanding and I wish you and your son all the best!!

  50. And just as no one has a right to comment on you breastfeeding you have no right to comment to a mama shaking up formula in a bottle because you have no idea what she’s been through to get to that point.

    You don’t know her story, you don’t know how much or if she tried. You have no idea if every shake of the bottle breaks her heart a little because she wanted to do something that comes so naturally to you.

    Just something to think about from a mom of 4 who breastfed as much as she could after cancer.

    Well written OP!

  51. I want to thank all the supportive commenters here– I appreciate your words so much! In a society where breastfeeding women are treated with hateful disdain, support from a community of like-minded mamas is so important! Thanks so much! ~Kristen

  52. hi, I am the mother of 4 grown children , 3 of which are self-weaned. I would have allowed my first child to self-wean but was in a car accident and hospitalized for 2 weeks and had my milk dried up by a shot I was given, As a result of this hospitalization my son was weaned at 2 years old. fortunately I had read ” Let’s Have Healthy Children” a book by the late great Nutritionist Adele Davis, and learned “self-weaned children have minds like bear traps and self- confidence that would carry into their adult lives ” because they are allowed to be babies, and children while they are babies and children. Why would anyone want to rush a baby to grow up? Children grow up way too fast. You turn around and they are all grown up. Why cut a little one off from their Mother’ and the nuturing that only breast feeding a child can engender.? Why would we treat our children more coldly than a “Wild Animal” ? Eye contact , touch ,physical closeness and trust is a given with breastfeeding. The other many benefits nutritionally ,with brain development,immunity and even dental health (as bottle feeding causes orthodontic problems) simply can’t be over-emphasized. I am told on a daily basis how remarkable each one of my 4 children are, and you know all I did was allow them to nurse at my breast til they decided it was time to stop. I don’t believe in being political about this , I don’t care for the term Attached Parent, this seems like a devisive term to me,and is not helping the cause of raising healthy children. In my mind it is preferable to say my child will wean hmself, or my child is self-weaned. Everything is so political ,can we just have love please?

  53. What an unfortunate headline: “Are you mom enough?” It is implying that attachment parents are saying that to other parents. No, the TIME editors invented that headline. At least one commenter here accused another commenter of saying she was “not mom enough.” Please don’t fall for the editors’ trick. That headline unfortunately plays right into the common misperception that parents are judging and criticizing others, when in reality they are just stating facts and their personal experiences and insights.

  54. “Not wanting to breastfeed like not wanting to use a car seat” is a ignorant and highly subjective comment.

  55. I think breastfeeding is great (as I breastfeed my son for as long as I could), and with discreteness should even be done in public (as much as some of you think you should be able to walk around, boobs out, feed when and where you want, screw what anyone think). But (news flash) there are other people in the world that have different values than you! They may not want there children seeing your breasts. Just a thought. And the load of crap about kids not wanting to feed under a receiving blanket is just ridiculous. Babies don’t care! And if I haven’t pissed enough women off, breastfeeding a 3 year old? I’m sorry if your kid is speaking in complete sentences, has all there teeth and the ability to sit at a table, they are more than ready to be weaned. At some point, your not doing it for them, your doing it for yourself, cut the cord!

    I’m not one of those that thinks its creepy or anything, just really unnecessary and doesn’t seem to me a child could gain healthy independence when he/she feels the need to run up to mom in between rounds of play at the playground to latch on. I do feel that breasts are etremely sexualized in our country but I think about people who have moral, religious or other objections to seeing brests (or having their families seeing them) in public. I think its much more reasonable to ask a woman to be discrete than to ask….lets say a Muslim family to change their beliefs or what? Not leave their house?!? Get a grip, ladies!

  56. Thanks, Shana….I feel ya girl. Women are not great mother’s because they have the ability to breastfeed their Preschooler! Women are great mother’s because of the actions and choices they make everyday. Formula feed babies are just as healthy and well-adjusted as any other. I think these women feel the need to keep throwing their breasts in our faces for attention and because they can.

  57. It sounds like you are the one being judgemental. Apparently it’s okay for you to write an essay on breastfeeding, but no one else is allowed to comment unless they agree with


    The only thing that matters is that we are each making the best decisions for our children that we can based on our individual beliefs.

  58. The American public doesn’t give a hoot if you want to breastfeed for the rest of your natural life, we just don’t want to see it! Simple. As. That.

  59. Kristen, i want to first thank you for writing this article. I found it interesting, informative and i admire your passion on the topic. As a 27 year old woman who does not have children, i havent fully formed my opinion as to what i will do with my (hopefully) future children. I guess you could say im still taking in information and weighing my options. I was not breast fed as an infant, im not positive why but i believe my mother made several attempts and i wouldnt latch on. I also think its possible that formula was being pushed more as an easy alternative at this time. I do know that both my brother and i were the healthiest of healthy infants and kids, and neither of us consumed breast milk for very long if at all. That obviously is not to say that breast milk doesnt have its health benefits for mother and child, there are enough studies that show the benefits. I guess it bothers me a bit that its assumed that people who are not breast fed cannot possibly be healthy individuals. That is just false. But thats my own personal pet peeve.

    What prompted me to respond was not your article necessarily. It was a response of yours to someones negative/ anti breatfeeding post. I’m paraphrasing, but you told this person their opinion was incorrect. Well see, thats just the thing. Its not a fact, its an opionion. It may be different from yours, it may insult or infuriate you, but it cant be wrong or incorrect. Because it is just what it is, one person’s thoughts on the topic. I think your goal, and please correct me if I’m incorrect in my assumption, is to bring awareness, inform, and not necessarily recruit all people to share your opinion, but to further acceptance that breastfeeding is your choice and right to do until the child weans. If acceptance and a right to choose the details of your child rearing are your goals, then you can not tell someone with a differing opinion to yours that they are incorrect in their opinion. Because by doing so you are depriving that person the very accceptance and right to parent that you are seeking. I guess what im trying to say is that we dont all need to see eye to eye, but we all need to respect each others opinions and listen with respect even if we eventually agree to disagree.

  60. So I have a 3 year old and 7 month old. When I found out I was pregnant with my 7 month old my Doctor told me that I could continue to breastfeed, but suggested that it would be easier on both the toddler and the baby once she was born (due to jealousy) to try to start weaning. I didn’t try horribly hard. Just cuddled with her more at the times when she would normally breastfeed and she weaned very very easily!

    I look back though and wish I wouldn’t have done this and I wish I would have seen how much longer she really would have gone for. I am currently breastfeeding my 7 month old and hope to go for just as long if not longer.

    This article was great by the way and it makes me so mad when I’m at work and people are talking bad about the photo. I’m like well I nursed Olivia till she was alittle over 2 and they all kinda back away from the subject. So CRAZY. Boobs were meant for feeding babies not for sexual things, yes they obviously are liked by men, but that is not their main purpose!!

  61. Well, there is ample proof that breastfeeding is safer than using formula, & there is ample proof that using a carseat is safer than not. Health organizations are begging mothers to breastfeed because it can save so many lives & so much in healthcare. The comparison makes sense to me.

  62. I can see that you’re feeling heated about this, but most of what you’re saying shows that you’re not very informed on this topic. I fundamentally disagree with your statement that we need to be discreet. It is MY body & the laws protect my right to breastfeed as I need. Some babies DO mind being under a blanket– it’s crazy that you’d claim otherwise. My son did NOT like being stuck under a blanket. It’s so interesting to me when people who do not have any personal experience with a topic make comments about it…

    “At some point, your not doing it for them, your doing it for yourself, cut the cord!” <— This is why I defined the word “ignorant.” Your comments thus far are ignorant & rude. Everything you are saying has already been addressed by factual information in the links above. I am NOT doing it for myself– my son still asks to nurse occasionally & the WHO says I should breastfeed past 2 years & as long as BOTH of us want to, so for now we still nurse. YOUR OPINION has no foundation against these health recommendations. What you are saying has no basis in science. You should consider reading more, perhaps following some of the links within the article. Kids who get to child-led wean are typically MORE independent because they have secure attachment– please consider getting more informed; this is just silly…

  63. thank you for some very wise words… I nursed my children until they didn’t have any more interest about 2 years for both. I loved that time and love the look on a child’s face when nursing.

    i believe it is a sign of perversity that the same people who love to see/show cleavage and breasts for sexual excitment find it ‘disgusting’ when the breasts are used for what they were made for. May God help them. Thank you for all who are attempting to raise healthy children. And bless you who were unable or didn’t know about nursing and it’s benefits. I don’t condemn you – I do though want to support those who are nursing until child led weaning.

  64. Why are you being so rude Kristy? “Formula feed babies are just as healthy and well-adjusted as any other” <— According to statistics that is highly untrue. Where are you getting your information from? Could you give me some sources? I agree that women are not great mothers solely based on breastfeeding, but your rage is unnecessary. Facts are facts.

    "I think these women feel the need to keep throwing their breasts in our faces for attention and because they can." So rude! You know what's worse than throwing breasts in faces? Harassing women for feeding their children. You should pop your cultural bubble! Or never travel outside the US– you might see breastfeeding women, OH NOOOOO!

  65. A lot of people are commenting that don’t agree with me… If you can quote me where I am sounding judgmental, I can likely explain my stance. I am incredibly tired of the “judgmental” label every time someone takes a stance on an issue. Yes, I believe formula is far inferior to breast milk! As does anyone who has researched the topic… Yes, I believe attachment parenting provides the best tools for securely nurturing children! That is also backed by attachment theory, so my “judgments” are sound. I’m not some mean hateful person harshly judging everyone; I just happen to know factual information about breastfeeding.

    “The only thing that matters is that we are each making the best decisions for our children that we can based on our individual beliefs.” <— I disagree with this. I sincerely believe that parents should be making the best decisions based off the plethora of research that shows what fosters healthy, peaceful children. If the bottom line is "individual belief" that leaves a lot of room for for terrible things, since some people have very damaging individual parenting beliefs. Children deserve better than that.

  66. “I do know that both my brother and i were the healthiest of healthy infants and kids” <— That's not how science works though… Just like some people can smoke a pack a day & be the "healthiest" of people, statistics are another story. Statistically speaking, formula-fed children are by far ill more often, more seriously, & for longer periods than breast fed kids. If you follow the blue links throughout this piece, you will find a bunch of articles & studies on this topic.

    I am SO confused why you say an opinion can't be incorrect. "Eating corn syrup solids every day is healthy" <— That opinion is incorrect. "Smoking cigarettes is healthy." <— That opinion is incorrect. "Kicking puppies rules," <— That opinion is incorrect. "Formula is just as good as breast milk" <— Incorrect opinion.

    People are full of incorrect opinions! They are *entitled* to their own opinions, but not their own facts. If the facts differ strongly from their opinion, then their opinion is potentially incorrect. Is it some political correctness thing to pretend that opinions can't be wrong?

  67. Maybe this (the TIME cover and all the ignorant comments all over the internet) will help the AAP see the drastic need to raise breastfeeding education?? I sure hope so! Their standard is so low even when you understand their wording as breastfeeding up to a year. It makes it sound like they should be completely weaned by a year. The WHO at least makes it sound like 2 years is when you can start thinking about weaning, if you want to!

  68. Thank you! It seems so popular to say people are “judging” just when they state facts. Saying something like “breastfeeding is healthier for babies than formula feeding” is a proven fact, NOT a judgment against mothers who formula feed! There is a big difference!

    I think this is hard for people because once they read the research, they feel responsible and accountable.

  69. Look, I agree with you about breastfeeding. I really do. I love Dettwyler’s book and I quote it often. I was nursed until age 7.5 (my siblings all weaned between ages 4 and 8.5) and I’m nursing my twin 3-year-old sons and my infant 7-month-old son with no intention of stopping until everyone has decided they’re ready to move on independently of me. I nurse in public without a cover, I attend breastfeeding rallies and conferences and nurse-ins and LLL meetings. I’m an IBCLC and I work predominantly with WIC breastfeeding mothers to help inform them about the benefits of full-term lactation. I’m a really big believer in nursing.

    I don’t even disagree that there are big problems with formula and formula industry and so on and so forth. But I have a serious issue with the way that you are responding to peoples’ comments. A little courtesy goes a long way. Telling people they are uninformed, telling them they don’t understand science, etc does not endear you to them. Change peoples’ minds through compassion and empathy, by saying “maybe you’re right, I do feel very passionately about this issue and I understand that sometimes my passion is misinterpreted as riding a high horse – but this was really not my intent. I intended to state my opinion and to defend breastfeeding women against the onslaught of negativity that has been directed at them after Time’s cover was published.” I think you’d be surprised how many naysayers would have more respect for you if you sincerely considered their perspectives and did not dismiss them as being ignorant.

  70. Thanks! Just thanks, its so beautifully written I have teas in my eyes! Thank you! I live in Denmak, reuted to be such a free and open people, even here we are starting…. well not even starting, but having people calling it disgusting and molesting to you child to beastfeed… people keep asking me:”shouldn’t you stop soon… ” and my baby is only 9 months old. The questions stated when she was 6 months! Even healthcare profesionals stated telling me to stat solids at 4 months…..

    Thankfully I found a group of women parenting the same way we I and my husbond does and I had thei suppot in not starting solids until 6 months. My babygil loves beastmilk, but also loves solids,, sometimes when it is hot weather I try to push more breastmilk on her, but she just bites my nipple…. so I don’t psxh anymore 😉 So yes they can say no!

    Again Thank you!

  71. Thanks! Just thanks, its so beautifully written I have teas in my eyes! Thank you! I live in Denmak, reputed to be such a free and open people, even here we are starting…. well not even starting, but having people calling it disgusting and molesting to you child to beastfeed… people keep asking me:”shouldn’t you stop soon… ” and my baby is only 9 months old. The questions stated when she was 6 months! Even healthcare profesionals stated telling me to stat solids at 4 months…..

    Thankfully I found a group of women parenting the same way we I and my husbond does and I had thei suppot in not starting solids until 6 months. My babygil loves beastmilk, but also loves solids,, sometimes when it is hot weather I try to push more breastmilk on her, but she just bites my nipple…. so I don’t psxh anymore 😉 So yes they can say no!

    Again Thank you!

  72. If they found out that helping your child masturbate at an early age (most kids do it) led to parent-child bonding and healthier attitudes about sex I wonder how many people would be on board for that.

  73. pck: “baby eating = someone taking a dump”.

    yes i can see how those are exactly the same *rolls eyes*

  74. Love your post, and I agree. We moms need to support one another, not criticize! It is possible to use a supplementer rather than a bottle (I did with my adopted son until my milk supply was fully in) and it is possible to get donated breastmilk also. Even if a mom physically can’t produce breastmilk, she can still nurse her baby if she wants, and there are still benefits to that (facial development, fewer speech problems, etc.).

    If using formula breaks your heart, you don’t have to!

  75. Both of my son’s DID care…my first started yanking the blanket I used to cover off when he was just a week old. He would also kick his covers off at night until he was about five–he HATED having blankets on him. I struggled to keep covered, fighting him constantly as he nursed for a couple months until a lady at church ripped the blanket away and said I don’t need to cover, that nursing was natural. Bless her!!!! I am modest and don’t like to have my breasts showing, but I have learned to nurse in public so my shirt covers most of it. People looking right at me might catch a glimpse as my son latches on or let’s go, but I am okay with that chance. With my younger son (still nursing now at 2 years), I used a supplementer and HAD to see my nipple entering his mouth to be sure the tube was positioned correctly. A cover did not work, though after he latched, I made sure nothing was showing. STILL had a dad walk into the cry room at church and complain that I was in there nursing (nothing showing!). Umm, where exactly do you think I should be nursing??? The cry room where moms take babies seems a logical place to me…

  76. well my son si drinking out of cup and can eat with spoon quite nice and he is only 19 months – should i stop breastfeeding?

  77. I can look away and boy have I had to. My point is there are so many culture in the US that have moral, religious or other objections to seeing breasts in public. Can you honestly say Kristen, that it is preferable to ask all those people to change there believes or not leave their homes so a very small group of women who want openly breastfeed anywhere can do it? It sounds reasonable to me for you to be discrete.

  78. Awesome letter/article! I hope some of these excellent articles I’ve been reading get printed in TIME. Thanks for writing this and for all the good you are doing with your work.

  79. :) It’s funny to me because I’ve been getting comments about how WELL I am responding to the rude comments here. I guess you just have a different opinion. People ARE uninformed, & I will tell them that if they leave a rude & ignorant comment. When someone says “I was formula fed & I am perfectly healthy” I WILL most definitely tell them that is not how science works. If someone leaves an excruciatingly uninformed comment, I will tell them they are uninformed. Please keep in mind that the comments I am responding to in a way you disapprove of are criticizing my mothering choices & are generally rude. Also, you do not see the collection of incredibly mean comments that I am not approving, so please pardon me if you think my responses aren’t sweet enough.

    You want me to say “maybe you

  80. Rayan, what a disgusting comment! Thank you for showing people how extreme & disturbed some people are when it comes to judging breastfeeding. Your comment speaks volumes about YOU. I hope you get help if you need it.

  81. It is MUCH MORE reasonable to ask someone to avert their eyes. No one has to stay inside their home! Just simply don’t look. It’s feeding a baby! If you have an issue with it, that is YOUR issue, not mine. Don’t like? Don’t look. Simple as that. How am I supposed to “be discreet”? I refuse to go breastfeed in a bathroom; I won’t sit in my car & do it. My son refuses to be under a blanket– do you like eating with a blanket on your head? Maybe you should, then you’d never have to see anything that makes you uncomfortable.

  82. “I have a hard time biting my tongue when I see someone shaking up a bottle of formula for a wee babe”

    Some of us were not fortunate to have the chance to breast feed. I am not able to have children of my own and so my husband and I have been foster parents for the last five years. Our last foster daughter (who we have now adopted) came to us at 3 weeks old…obviously I could not breast feed her and she had to be fed formula.

    So please don’t judge mothers who give formula to their babies, you don’t know their circumstances and what they have been threw. The last thing I deserve is to have someone who knows nothing about me or the child I am raising questioning me and berating me for giving a baby formula!!

  83. Because you attempt to invalidate this woman’s reasons to breastfeed past infancy, yes, you are indeed criticizing her decision to continue to nurse her child. And so you have manifested the outcome that TIME’s journalist was attempting to create by writing this provocative article–to add fuel to the mommy wars.

    As for comparing humans to other mammals, of course it makes sense. If you only took a glance at other human cultures and even our own a couple of centuries ago, humans also breastfeed way past infancy. There are countless of stories of children (sometimes even as old as 9) being nursed past infancy and toddlerhood in India, Britain, North America (native), Mongolia..

    The ceasing of doing so has everything to do with our oppressors’ wish that we wean our children as early as possible. It’s common knowledge that separating mothers from their children is a good way to ensure an obedient and moldable population (if children do not attach emotionally to their mothers, they will attach to other adults, ideas, gurus etc). As well as ensuring that women are more productive on the job market. I think few would disagree that our society is one of alienation, even at the family level.

    However, having said that, there isn’t anything saying that a woman can’t be a good mother if she chooses not to breastfeed, or chooses to stop early. I’ve met several women who formula feed and are awesome mothers. For sure there are other ways to bond with a child besides breastfeeding. It’s just that breastfeeding is a very good facilitator.

    Yes, humans are moral beings, but I don’t see how this in any way conflicts with the practice of extended breastfeeding. My sister’s ex-boyfriend was nursed till age 5 and he was from a respectable, high morals family. Plenty of cultures past and present successfully combine moral social values with the practice of extended breastfeeding.

  84. The thing is experts would not find this to be true, because it’s not biologically natural behavior for mothers to engage sexually with their children. To breastfeed a child from infancy and throughout childhood is not a sexually arousing act (though yes naturally, breastfeeding is a sexually *reproductive* function–but I’m sure any intelligent person sees the obvious difference here).

    It’s normal, healthy and nurturing behavior and as such you will find a small but vocal part of the population touting its benefits.

  85. Yup, here in Sweden too. So much for our open Scandinavian society, huh? I only wish we didn’t have such a good rep abroad.

  86. My theory is that men love boobs as much as they do because they were deprived of nursing either at all, or until a natural age for weaning. Not all cultures have men with such a sexual attitude towards breasts.

  87. I hope you teach your five children English. It’s very hard to take your arguement seriously… Coz u type like dis.

    Keep up the good work Kristen; you’re article was needed!

  88. Are you kidding?! Taking a dump in public is inconvenient and unhygienic. How would you clean up after yourself, etc. It would also spread germs. There is nothing inconvenient or unhygienic about breastfeeding in public. Breast milk is the cleanest thing a body can produce (not that you come into contact with it when a woman is breastfeeding near you, anyway!) If you don’t like seeing someone breast feed, don’t look. I have actually never seen a woman breast feed in an “obnoxious” or overly noticeable way, so I don’t even know what people are complaining about.

  89. Thank you Kristen! It is refreshing to hear an informed and courageous discussion of this topic. (Love the photo, by the way!) Hopefully with enough intelligent, educated women speaking up, our McDonalds, trash TV culture will slowly start to change and allow for things like sound judgment, nutrition, and psychological well-being. I have been shocked by the ugly comments I’ve heard about full-term breastfeeding from the people I least expected. I guess breastfeeding really is still a radical concept in our society…and I live in Massachusetts, which has one of the highest percentages of breastfeeding!

  90. Hi there,

    Great post, I’m totally with you. And I think you are doing a heckofajob responding to people’s negative comments. Kudos. I don’t think I would be as nice. You should get yourself a massage or something. :)

    I just wanted to point out what a luxury it is to be in a country where people actually debate whether breastfeeding is the right way to go! And I guess in this case i am using luxury as a negative thing, but in third world countries, it’s like, no question that the breast is best. I mean, even the Puritans breastfed, people!

    I was just reading this great blog post about a western woman who lived in Mongolia when her child was a baby and toddler. It sounded like people were so positive about breastfeeding there, they all but gave her high-fives as she walked through as open market while feeding her son. I can’t imagine how awesome this would be.

    I think so many of our culture’s problems could be eased with more support towards mothers. The first few years are so, so important. And when moms are stressed and unable to be near their babies, that creates problems for both of them.

    A great book on the subject is ‘Our Babies, Ourselves’ by Meredith….can’t recall her last name. But it is basically the collected studies of tons of anthropologists in many countries. AP is simply the most natural and best start to give babies (and this statement is based on her countless studies and collected observations from around the world). It is not normal to leave babies alone or not respond to their cries, it is what we are programmed to do, and how they are programmed to communicate.

    I have a three and half month girl and already i can see the benefits from our AP approach, which I didn’t know actually had a name, to me it was more like following my instincts parenting. But she is very secure in herself, happy to be held by new people, and just as happy as can be. I didn’t even know this wasn’t normal until people started asking “Is she always like this? She just hangs out and is happy?” And of course she does cry sometimes, but it’s just when she’s letting me know she’s hungry or needs a change…and I gladly accommodate!

    Thanks for your vocal support of moms and babies!!

  91. If someone wants to breastfeed their kid until they at teenagers, I guess that is between the parent and the teenager. However, our breasts are sexual organs that defines us as women. Our nipples are more developed than a man’s and our breasts grow and become “luscious” and “appealing” to a man’s eyes. THAT is why people get offensive when women do not cover while breastfeeding or in the process of putting the baby to the boob. And I really don’t want to hear, “I shouldn’t have to feed my child in the dark.” Look, if you carry your child around in a sling and keep your child close to you, then I’m pretty darn sure your child likes or does not mind being covered while feeding as well as they snugged close to momma and reminds them of the womb out in public. My daughter LOVED being covered up while I fed her. I even covered while I was home because she loved it so much. So if your child likes being curled to your breast in a sling, then they are going to be fine being covered with a blanket out in public. In fact, in Africa, the women keep their babies hidden in their slings. Not wanting to cover out in public is mainly the woman trying to shove it other people’s faces, “I’m a woman, I have the right to breastfeed, go eff yourself” kind of attitude. Whatever happened to allowing ourselves to be modest? To cherish being modest? Sure, breast feeding is natural, I know it is. Boobs are natural parts of a humans body. So is a person’s bum and a man’s penis. Do people want to see men flaunting what defines them as a man? No. Yeah, boobs and a man’s lower region are not the same, but breasts define us as a woman and are sexually appealing to men. We are not physically turned on when we see a man’s bare chest. Men are physically aroused when our breasts are bare.

  92. Your first comment made it clear that you likely do not want to believe the facts about breastfeeding. Yes, that is my judgment of the situation. Sure, I’m judgmental. How did you arrive at that conclusion? By judging me, perhaps? I discuss & write about controversial topics all the time & I have discovered no matter how sweetly I sugar-coat something or how much I coddle someone’s feelings, they will still get offended.

    Are you disputing the fact that around 1,000 lives could be saved in the US & millions of lives worldwide every year if mothers would breastfeed as recommended? If you recognize that factual information as true (I have linked to UNICEF’s statement above), then CHOOSING to use formula has similar deadly consequences as choosing to not use a carseat. It kills children. The comparison makes perfect sense to me.

  93. Modesty appears to be a value of YOURS but it is not even in my top 10. I don’t care how people dress. Some cultures find bare ankles incredibly sexual. So women should always cover their ankles? Foot-fetishists are going to find feet arousing, so women should never bare their feet? I don’t live my life based on what someone might be aroused by. If a person finds breastfeeding a child sexual, they have a problem & I can’t base my decisions on that.

    My breasts are for feeding my child. I do not sexualize them, my child does not sexualize them, & many cultures around the world don’t sexualize them so excessively that a woman cannot feed her child without getting harassed.

    Does a man’s penis or “bum” feed a child? No? Then it is not remotely a good comparison. Breasts produce the perfect food for babies; they are for nourishing. My right to breastfeed openly is protected by law. The evidence shows us that cultures that do not shame women for breastfeeding have MUCH higher breastfeeding rates. So I will continue breastfeeding openly so the next few generations can do better.

  94. I understand your position and believe you are entitled to breastfeed for three years or never to breastfeed. It makes no difference to me.

    What I want to point out, however, is that you are no different than the people that are saying negative things about people that breastfeed older children. You are being judgmental, calling people that disagree with you “ignorant.” You are looking down on other moms and come across as thinking you are better than other moms that make different choices.

    I hope that you and the people that criticize you can both learn to be more accepting and understanding of others.

  95. It’s not disagreeing with me that makes a statement ignorant. A factually incorrect statement is an ignorant one. I am ignorant about things like videogames, fixing cars, advanced math… It’s saying things like “Cut the cord!” or “It’s not healthy for a 3yo to breastfeed!” or comparing it to masturbation or pooping that makes a statement ignorant. The definition of the word “ignorant,” as I previously said, means “lacking knowledge.” The comments here that are getting the title of “ignorant” are definitely earning it!

    It’s actually HURTFUL to have people telling me to “cut the cord” & that I’m damaging my child & that I’m perverted & wrong for doing something RECOMMENDED, healthy, & normal. I feel absolutely no obligation to “accept” those opinions. If people want me to sugar-coat my responses to comments that I find super offensive & rude, they’ll be waiting a long time…

  96. I disagree with this sentiment. First of all, my breasts are not sexual organs. They are more highly developed than the nipples and breast tissue of men because they are made to feed babies. The vast majority of cultures in this world do not view breasts as sexual organs or involve them in foreplay; there are only, depending on which anthropologists’ definition you go by, between 11 and 13 cultures of HUNDREDS which do. Ours happens to be one of them and we happen to see things predominantly through a rose-tinted glass of culture. However, I was raised in what I call a part-time commune (my dad was a professor, so we lived in the city during school months and in the commune during the summer) and my husband was raised in rural Kenya. Both of us were raised in micro-cultures that did not view breasts as sexual whatsoever and we have never used them as sexual foreplay because the idea is foreign to us.

    More significantly, have you ever been to Kenya in the summer? It’s hot! I use a sling all the time with my babies but if you’ve ever been somewhere like Kenya in the summer you know that there is more to not covering than exhibitionism. I don’t cover because I didn’t like the added heat of a cover and by the time we were in cooler weather, the habit was established. Even if I didn’t have a reason like that, though, I don’t appreciate the assumption that I’m just trying to shove my breasts in someone’s face. I’m not. I’m just trying to feed my baby. If I want to be discreet, I’ll turn away or go somewhere else, but if I don’t then I’ll just stand there and nurse. What’s the big deal with that?

  97. Kristy, If you have such an aversion to seeing breasts, how do you go out in public…or watch TV…or go to movies…or read magazines? Are you making a moral stand to ban all showing of breasts, or just those that are used for the God given purpose of feeding and nurturing a child? Go to the mall…you’ll see more breast exposure in store advertising than when a mother is breastfeeding her child. The sexual depiction of breasts permeates our society, from advertising to the way women dress. I find the outrage that people express against public breast feeding to, for the most part, be highly hypocritical, because, very rarely, do these same people have a problem with breasts being exposed in a sexual manner.

  98. Hey there,

    Thanks for this essay, and for the comments. My choices are different than yours, and they are what work best for me and my own kiddos, but I really do appreciate your pointing out how sad it is that TIME chose “Are You Mom Enough?” for their headline. Because suddenly, how attacked do I feel? Very. Do I have friends that practice AP and “full-term” breastfeeding? Yes. Do I sometimes feel judged by mothers who nurse longer than I do? Yes. Do I sometimes feel judged by mothers that attachment parent when I don’t? Yes. But I think that if we allow ourselves, as mothers, to be divided than we are losing much of the great strength that we have to offer this planet. We are in this together. And although research can support almost ANY viewpoint, I think if we offer each other love, understanding, and support in this awesome journey we call motherhood –even if we come at it completely differently–then our children will know that they are loved. Really. Best to you.

  99. I feel ya! I can’t even breastfeed without people giving me dirty looks or making sometimes vicious commentary, I get formula-feeding moms calling me a Nazi for discussing the facts, I get people heavily criticizing my parenting choices all the time, telling me I’m damaging my child when really I’m trying my absolute best. I haven’t actually seen a lot of research that supports some of the more damaging parenting choices (& I’ve read a lot about them), but all these titles don’t really matter. If a child is well-nourished, parented in a responsive, gentle way, if they are safe & protected, if their future health is in consideration, & they are being well cared for, then that’s great.

  100. Well said! Loved everything you wrote – I breastfeed all of my boys, and let them decide when they no longer wanted to feed.

    It does make a difference and I can see how well adjusted my boys are from B/Feeding. I have never heard of AP parenting style before, but I reckon that I so was doing that without realising it :)

    LOVED your post.

  101. Thank you so much for this brilliant response. I enjoyed reading everything you had to say.

    I’m not even remotely offended by an image of a woman breastfeeding a 3 year old (or beyond) but the depiction on the TIME cover is so unrealistic and uncomfortable looking that I definitely rolled my eyes. “Are you mom enough” is just offensive and further perpetuates the mommy wars which is completely unnecessary and childish. Then when I saw that they were deeming Attachment Parenting as an “extreme” I started to fume.

    People like that are the very reason that society continues on the path it’s on. I am an outcast in my area because so many people lack the proper information to understand why I make the choices that I make. Many people are completely unaware that I nursed one of my boys until just after he turned 4. I only weaned him because I was tandeming him and his younger brother and I was exhausted-therefore it was no longer mutually desired. Part of why I was able to stick with it so long was that he has food allergies and some pretty bad GI issues so it really was the best thing for him. His pediatrician, allergist, and gastro all praised me for my dedication to my son. 3 pediatric doctors in a pretty mainstream area praised my extended breastfeeding because they were knowledgeable in the benefits of extended breastfeeding. That speaks volumes.

    Most people don’t know that I’m still nursing a 2 year old. I have been lactating (with a 3 day dry spell during my last pregnancy) and nursing one kid or another for the past 5 years and 9 months and that is something that very few friends and relatives know about me but is a perfectly normal thing to me and I can’t imagine it any other way.

    AP is about meeting our children’s needs with respect and understanding. There is nothing extreme about that.

  102. I truly can’t wrap my head around why there is any “controversy” about this subject. Every piece of research supports the health and development benefits of breastfeeding. The World Health Organization recommends it until at least 2 years old across the world. Why, in this day and age, with the information at hand… are we debating this topic?! P.S. You’re doing a great job, Mama!

  103. With my first kid, the in-laws already asked me after 3 MONTHS (!!!) if I’m still breastfeeding, I should give formula… but I kept going. Unfortunately a little after age 1 I had to stop since I got very sick. So with number two I wanted to breastfeed longer, but around age 1 she lost interest in breastfeeding since she wanted to eat and drink like her sibling. I tried but had to give up. I even tried to pump then and give the milk in a cup, but the pumping didn’t have a great outcome for me. I wish I could have breastfed both of them longer and I never really cared about people telling me to stop or anything like that.

    I just can tell everyone, don’t listen to dumb people… breastfeeding is natural, that’s what nature gave us the breasts for!!! Everyone who thinks breasts are sex-realted and not for nursing are perverts and it just speaks about them what they have on their mind all the time.

    And all the people who think mothers should not nurse in public and go to a restroom… I guess all of you eat your meals in the bathroom too, right? you people just disgust me!

  104. Kristin,

    Thank you for this very well informed response to Time’s sensationalist barb.

    I am living in South Korea, and nursing my 2 yo son often in public places. I have been told by old Korean ladies that my son will be “SO smart!” because I am still breastfeeding him. When I am sitting in a metro station, breasfeeding my son, these old ladies will sometimes come up to us and actually move my shirt away! So they can admire his latch! I believe this is a society with a pretty healthy attitude towards breastfeeding. I wish ours was that way.

    Thank you again.

  105. Coming from a mom whose son has never received a single drop of breastmilk: I love this article and totally agree. There are countless benefits to nursing into toddlerhood. Formula is NOT equal to breastmilk. I get so pissed off at the defensivness surrounding the use of formula in these comments. You used it because you wanted/needed to and the majority of people couldn’t care less. Why be threatened by the facts?

  106. so here’s the difference between “taking a dump” and breastfeeding. when you take a dump, you eliminate garbage from your body so that it doesn’t stick around in your colon and make you sick. everyone can do it.

    when you breastfeed, you provide mental and physical nourishment to your child. only women can do it.

    while i respect the fact that i makes you uncomfortable to see breastfeeding, i think it’s important that you not put public breastfeeding into the same category as public dumping. breastfeeding is good for society and needs to be supported, or at the very least, not disdained.

  107. i breastfed my son until he was four years old. i went away for an academic conference and when i came back neither of us were all that interested in nursing anymore. i was challenged and criticized the entire time that i nursed, and although at times i became discouraged, it did not ultimately affect my choices. i’m not going to get into how fantastic my kid is, because obviously i think he’s the cat’s pyjamas, nor do i think that if i had weaned him earlier he would have been destroyed. the point is that he’s my son, it was our decision.

    having said that, many women are discouraged from breastfeeding because our society is underinformed, overcritical, and ultimately misogynistic. it disturbs me that women are manipulated by the formula industry, by our capitalist economy, by patriarchal institutions, and by other women, rather than supported to parent in the way that they choose.

    all children grow up. i have heard of very few college students who still nurse. i am not sure why we are so excited to turn our children into adults. were we to say to our best friends, our husbands, our wives, our parents “i’m not going to do anything for you that you can do for yourself” we would have far fewer quality relationships. and yet we say that repeatedly to the little people whose arrival we anxiously await for nine months, who are entrusted into our care, and who we love more than anyone else in the world.

  108. Thank you tibicheri! I was about to say, “Not that argument again!” But I didn’t know how to phrase it.

  109. The NEED TO SUCK is a SURVIVAL INSTINCT. When a need is satisfied, it goes away. If it is not satisfied, it either hangs on, or comes back in a different form. Thumb-sucking is the most obvious one. This can go on for YEARS! Many, MANY years. (I knew a young man, who, at age 10, started sleeping with his hands tightly clamped between his knees to prevent himself from sucking his thumb.) And, thumb-sucking can turn into fingernail biting. And, how many ADULTS do you know who have this ugly habit?

    To look at another species, as an example, we had two cats (strays, who both lived long, if somewhat pampered lived). One male, one female. When they came to us (9 days apart from each other), the female was about 6 months old, and the male was about 6 WEEKS old. We never did understand why the female, who never had kittens allowed the male to suckle. But, it was obvious that he had been denied his full allowance of nursing. He did eventually stop this behavior. What should have been finished in 8-10 weeks, took 8 YEARS for him to get his fill and to finally be satisfied.

    I’ll bet you’ll never look at another adult fingernail biter the same again!

  110. You’re right. You don’t NEED to see it.

    Don’t like what’s on TV? Change the channel or turn it off.

    If a loving mother meeting the nutritional and emotional needs of an infant or toddler bothers you, kindly look elsewhere and consider minding your own business.

  111. I saw nothing wrong with the picture and i believe it is a mother’s right and she should use her own discretion about when she wants to stop breast feeding. But i did not breast feed my two sons and i was constantly criticized for not breastfeeding them. so the pedulum does swing both ways

  112. I hope Jamie Lynne Grumet sues Time Magazine for being misled. I’m guessing she didn’t know that Time would use such hate inducing and ignorant wording with her picture on the cover. I’m also guessing the editor(s) probably never breast fed or do not have children themselves. Only in America do mothers get harassed for breast feeding in public. Only in America does the culture think breast feeding longer than a year disgusting and wrong. Only in America can we also sue for damages…so please do it Ms. Grumet. I bet you wouldn’t be getting all these threats if the wording they used were more supportive. Really TIME, no integrity.

  113. I was not saying that your stance was judgemental. The way you are responding to other people is: “It

  114. I don’t care if people make the same choices as me or not. I want people to be informed about breastfeeding so they can stop shaming women about it! She did NOT say she supported breastfeeding– she basically “gave” me permission to nurse my child for 2 years, maybe 3. “I

  115. I tried to comment earlier, but I don’t think it posted so I’ll try again :) I just had a couple questions.

    You said “He asks to nurse once or twice a week these days, & only for a minute.” What else does he drink? At what age did you introduce cows milk?

    Excellent post!!!

  116. I realize that there are two extremes here and that I am posting a comment in one camp. I’m not in either camp so, please, understand that I’m not trolling. I simply respectfully disagree – what you do with your child is your business, of course.

    That said, it seems that the argument for full term breast feeding includes rhetoric related to a society’s want/need for a child to gain independence. This is one of my issues with this. What is so particularly wrong with a child becoming independent of a mother earlier? And what mother wouldn’t make the argument that their child should depend on them for a longer period?

    While I agree that there is scientific basis for breastfeeding a child until whatever age, and while I agree that what a person does with their child is their business (as long as it’s not abuse)… and while I also agree that Time magazine created a problem to sell more magazines, a case can be made for a child gaining independence earlier, particularly when the mother has to work (economics) or related reasons. Granted, these issues are human-made, but it’s hard to find a problem these days that isn’t.

    That our societies and our bodies are not necessarily compatible is nothing new.

    I will also make your point that you are responding to the venom that came with that early release of the cover. The first thought I had was ‘Oedipus Complex’ which could be right or wrong, but it was my first response. Is it correct? Perhaps, perhaps not, it doesn’t matter that much to me because it wasn’t a thoughtful response.

    And my point, which I hope is taken in the spirit of what I have written, is that this entry too didn’t seem balanced. What negative effects can be associated with such ‘full term breast-feeding’? There must be some because nothing is ever perfect. I don’t want to read the argument, I’d prefer to be educated. You’re half way there. :-)

  117. Some comments randomly get marked as spam, so thanks for commenting again! My son drinks purified water mostly, some homemade kombucha, homemade juice & smoothies, kefir, herbal tea… & a bit of breast milk :) He doesn’t drink cows’ milk except for occasionally when it’s fermented as kefir. I didn’t start giving him dairy until he was around 2.

  118. It seems like you might be reaching a little far to find a problem with full term breastfeeding. I see that you disagree, yet I don’t see any actual information to back up that opinion. The health organizations around the world that recommend at least 2 years breastfeeding (& beyond as mutually desired) all make the point that there are no negative psychological impacts from natural weaning. You should read about it, maybe in the link that I posted above. If you can find scientific studies that prove negative effects from full-term breastfeeding, I’d be surprised. Not everything is balanced. Can you find a good, balanced argument in the case of smoking? Nope, there’s just a bunch of negatives. With the case of normal nursing & attachment, there’s just a bunch of positives. Since everything I have ever read on the topic supports normal nursing, the burdon of proof would be on YOU.

    Did you see the article from UNICEF I linked about the importance of the first 3 years of a child’s life? That (& the many similar articles available on the topic of attachment) explain why the case cannot be made for forcing a child to be independent earlier. If a child WANTS to be independent & wean earlier, then that should be respected. But when children are allowed to wean normally, it typically happens after 2, around 3-4. Children naturally want to be near their mothers. You are correct that the issues you suggested as pros to forced independence are human-made, which is why it’s not a good argument against full term breastfeeding. We should instead be working to fix the issues that prevent normal, recommended breastfeeding.

    If you want to be educated, you should follow the many links within the article & get to work on it! You’re, maybe, half-way there! :)

  119. I liked your article; I don’t like the way some of the comments have gone. For some reason, when someone wants to educate about their decisions, people who choose differently get offended, everybody gets defensive, etc.

    The bottom line is that we all make decisions based on our values. Often, those decisions are choosing what’s more important between two things that are important to us. Sometimes it’s difficult to choose what we want because we don’t have support for that choice. Breastfeeding is best for the health and nutritional well being of the baby — that is a fact. It has been recommended to breastfeed until the age of two or older — that is a fact. There is absolutely no proven detriment to nursing a child as he or she wants — that is also a fact. That said, there are a lot of formula fed kids and adults out there that are just as healthy and smart as their breastfed peers. Breastfeeding is hard, and many women do not have the support structure in place to make it work. For some women, it becomes a choice between just doing the bottle and being a happy and together mom, or trying to breastfeed and being a stressed out, resentful mom. I think of it as kind of the difference between fast food and homemade food. Not McDonald’s if that’s offensive, but Subway or something like that. A Subway sub is never going to be as good for you as a sandwich made from whole wheat homemade bread and organic ingredients. Everyone knows that. But will it do if you just can’t stand the idea of going through that effort or if you have no one to help you? Absolutely.

    I personally am continuing to breastfeed my 17 month old through a second pregnancy and have no immediate plans to stop. It wasn’t easy at first. I had supply issues, mastitis, probably some postpartum depression. Fortunately, I had a mother who had breastfed, a supportive husband, and an excellent team of lactation consultants at the hospital and pediatrician’s office. Not everyone is that fortunate. The challenges I went through at the beginning bonded me to my daughter in ways I did not expect. When I was ready to give up, I only had to look at her face and know it was worth it. As a result, I’ve increasingly made more attachment parenting type of decisions to draw closer to her and be there for her more. I never make her cry it out, sleep with her when she needs it, and do my best to respond to her needs. I don’t know if it’s that or her personality (guess we’ll see with the next one!), but everyone tells me how calm and happy and well-behaved she is. But again, I’m lucky.

    I also wanted to say something about the whole BF in public thing. I come from a very religiously modest background, so I’ve always been concerned about baring too much. However, when my daughter started really fighting the cover, I tested it by breastfeeding opposite a mirror. And saw … Nothing. Yes, if you really look, you can tell that’s what I’m doing, but the kid’s head covers my breast, and the body covers the midriff. Believe me, I’m showing off much less than a woman in a low cut halter top. And guess what — the older the kid, the more they cover. :-) So while uncomfortability with the whole breastfeeding older kids thing may be the issue, I think that, if we’re really honest about it and look at how much is really showing, it’s not a concern for modesty that makes breastfeeding in public an issue. That doesn’t mean women should go and be in your face about it (if they really are; that’s an assumption I think). We could all be better about understanding and accepting different ways of doing things.

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