I hate the Time magazine cover. I love the Time magazine cover.


I hate the cover because it is sensational and exploitive. The stylized photo of a defiant looking mom nursing a 4-year-old boy dressed in camouflage and standing on a chair portrays attachment parenting as extreme and even militant. The cover is sensational because it depicts something highly unusual: nursing while a child is standing on a chair.




Nursing for longer than four years is extremely rare in the US. When we surveyed the Mothering readership in 2006, we found that 10% breastfed until a year; 41% breastfed for one to two years; 32% for two to three years; and 6% for more than four years. This is among a population in which 96% breastfeed..


In US society at large 22.4% are still nursing at a year. The CDC does not keep statistics on breastfeeding beyond one year, but it’s safe to assume that breastfeeding for more than four years occurs less than 1% of the time in the US at large.  It’s uncommon, even among attachment parents.


Time’s cover is exploitive of the child photographed. The image is far from tender and has an erotic edge to it. Nursing is not something that a child would customarily pose for or do at the mother’s request; the image belies the fact that older children nurse infrequently and are generally not exhibitionists.




I love the Time cover because it is a landmark moment for breastfeeding. Attachment parenting has gone mainstream. Everyone has heard of it now. The cover was featured in two of this week’s Saturday Night LIve skits, but it wasn’t attachment parenting that was lampooned: it was the cover image. The cover has had a unifying effect because it has been so universally ridiculed as overreaching.


It’s no coincidence that this cover comes on the heels of a month of intense and effective breastfeeding advocacy. In early April, Public Citizen started a petition to outlaw the distribution of formula samples in hospitals in support of the WHO Code of the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. This is the first time that a group outside of the breastfeeeding community has initiated such an effort.


On April 19th, Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Health Department announced that they are putting their support behind the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative for 24 NYC hospitals. Formula samples cannot be given away in baby-friendly hospitals. This is the first time a US mayor made a commitment of this nature to breastfeeding.




Not coincidentally, The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women by Elisabeth Badinter, was released on April 24th. Badinter is an old-school feminist who believes that breastfeeding is inherently oppressive despite it being the feminist issue of our time. She is also owner of Publicis, public relations company for Nestle’, the world’s largest formula manufacturer. According to Katy Allison Granju, Badinter’s company also represents the manufacturers of Enfamil and Similac. Her job is to increase formula sales!


In the context of one of the biggest months ever for breastfeeding advocacy, we have the Time cover, which clearly deprecates breastfeeding mothers. Time is looking for newsstand sales. And, they are beholden to their advertisers, especially during these times of severely declining print ad revenue. Formula manufacturer, Pfizer, for example, is the third top advertiser in the US and spent $90.6 million in advertising in the first quarter of 2011 alone. On April 27th, Pfizer announced that it is selling its nutritional business to Nestle’; the baby formula division is expected to generate $2.4 billion in sales in 2012.




In some ways it is a tribute to our efforts that breastfeeding has become the bell weather for attachment parenting. And, it’s a tribute to us as women that we less easily take the media bait to attack other mothers. This time, we are all united in our shock over the Time cover. They say that a new idea is first ignored, then ridiculed and finally attacked before it is assimilated. We must be winning because breastfeeding is definitely being attacked.


I hope that we can resist the temptation to go unnecessarily down bunny holes defending ourselves when we could instead unite to help pass essential breastfeeding and family leave legislation. That’s what we really need to do.


Let’s bring it home, sisters. “The heart is a muscle the size of your fist. Keep on loving. Keep on fighting.”


(Thanks to Jennifer Tite for the use of her photo.)


Peggy O’Mara  (101 Posts)Peggy O’Mara founded Mothering.com in 1995 and is currently its editor-in chief. She was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has lectured and conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League International, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four.


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63 thoughts on “TIME IS ON OUR SIDE”

  1. “the image belies the fact that older children nurse infrequently and are generally not exhibitionists.”

    EXACTLY. My 6 y.o. nurses once every few weeks. Usually when he is about come down with an illness or something. It is not because he has some sort of Oedipal complex with me or has an unhealthy attachment to me. In fact, he pretty much is the only child in his classroom that has not had a breakdown of some sort. He is the one who says that when he misses me in school and feeling sad about it, he thinks about all the other fun things that the day has to offer and just thinks about the time when I pick him up. He is the one that comforts his classmates who are in distress or who miss their parents.

    All of this despite the fact that prior to YESTERDAY he had never been babysat by anyone.

    And while I may have my own issues as a woman, breastfeeding my child is hardly my outlet to deal with my own issues.

  2. It is times like this (and TIMEs like this) that make me wish Mothering was still around as a print magazine. I miss you Mothering, although I feel your current existence is good, it’s not enough for those of use who are loving and fighting. The TIME cover has been a real wake-up call for me in that I have received semi-threatening emails on my website and even the reception of my 3 year old son and I at a grocery store (with him riding on my back in the Ergo) has changed and we are stared at. I don’t like following my natural inclinations and then having a major publication change other’s opinions of me. Thank you Mothering for providing education, information, and support for mothers like me.

  3. Great response. I’m sure you didn’t mean to imply that breastfeeding is a “new idea.” Although the Time article certainly acted as though breastfeeding, babywearing, and co-sleeping were new ideas.

  4. EXACTLY!!!!

    I nursed each of my kids for 2 to 2 1/2 years. I NEVER nursed them while they were standing on a chair. EVER.

    It was quite easy to wean them, partly because they were simply ready to wean, and partly because I did NOT wean them from the comfort and snuggling they needed. I would say, “sorry, they’re empty, but here, come sit on my lap in the rocker and have this nice sippy cup of water,” and that would be enough for them.

    There is something grotesque and deeply disturbing about a young woman breastfeeding a 4-year-old boy who is purposely dressed and posed to look like a man, and I question the ethics of whoever decided to pose them that way.

  5. I think it is silly that this was even put to print. If taken out of context, this is no less than what a man would be arrested for viewing on his computer as minor involved porn. They didn’t pick a 40 something, heavy set mother of 4 with breasts down to her knees did they? Of course it was a perky, pretty 20 something with her entire breast exposed as if I’ve ever seen a woman feed in public in such an exobitionistic style. I feel they have set women back again, by decades, of all the hard work put in to make breastfeeind a normal rite of motherhood. Is Time magazine so desperate for sales that they have reduced themselves to fetish-stylized tabloid like covers to save their jobs?

  6. The article clearly points out the boy is 3. I don’t think he’s dressed like a man, I think he’s dressed appropriately for a 3 year old. I never really thought of the pants as being militant but rather pretty normal for 3 year old clothing. It didn’t even seem to me that they styled him. My 2 year doesn’t nurse, but looks pretty much like that. The photo is just an artistic representation of something, no different than many other photojournalistic photos or cartoons.

    This whole article is about the COVER, but there was a lot of interesting stuff the article pointed out, such as “Post Traumatic Sears Disorder,” which I think is a real problem the AP community must deal with. So many women find that AP concepts just aren’t working for them for one reason or another (they thought they could stay home and exclusively breast feed but then have to go back to work, their baby hates being worn, they’re not comfortable or sleeping in the the family bed, etc.) and they feel so much guilt about it. The last thing moms need is to feel guilty for needing to switch from breastfeeding to pumping. As a community, I don’t know if we’ve dealt with what happens when things don’t work out and I think it can have dangerous consequences. Mothers who feel guilty or feel like they’ve failed in some way are way more susceptible to PPD, something we should all be working to prevent.

    The article also pointed out something that really is to AP’s credit. The initial story told in the article is of a women who slowly brought more and more AP concepts into her life, because they intuitively seemed like the right thing to do and they worked for her. These are the kind of AP mamas that should be indicative of the movement. Women who are not doing AP because of pressure or guilt or because they are into some kind of dogma, but because it’s working for them and came naturally to them. Everyone can relate to parenting in the way that works for them, regardless of what side of the fence you’re on.

  7. At first I was really offended when I saw the Time magazine cover. I breastfed both of my boys for three years. They were born at home, unvaxed, slept in the family bed, nursed on demand and were carried in an ergo or sling everywhere. I’ve been ridiculed by many for years including doctors, family, strangers about my decisions on how to birth, nourish and LOVE my children. And now TIME decides to jump in?

    But I love the cover too, Peggy. TIME has run out for these fools..breastfeeding and attachment parenting..if it can be said..has made a comeback and we have more mothers than ever choosing the safety of home-births, family bed-sharing, becoming more educated on vaccines and wellness alternatives for children. If the opposing powers felt no threat we would not have a cover – period. On top of that..the cover backfired. It has only ignited a national conversation on the subject..which has never been known to hurt a movement (again, if it can be called that!).

    Kudos to women everywhere doing what is best for their children and what comes NATURALLY.

  8. Thank you Peggy, for your comments about this disturbing and yet wonderful photo. My daughter breastfed until she turned 4 and this was an aspect of my parenting and relationship with her that remains etched in my mind as the most positive and beneficial thing I could have done for her. At age 17, she is a very happy, aware and independent teen-ager. I wrote about this experience last year at the Healthy Child blog:


  9. “The cover is sensational because it depicts something highly unusual: nursing while a child is standing on a chair.”

    This made me laugh out loud. Thank you. You made my day.

  10. Thank you Peggy. Yes. I too both love and hate the cover. I too hope that because AP and extended breast feeding is under attack, it is nearly time those ideas are assimilated. That’d be nice. 🙂 (Ha, understatement of the year.)

    I am locally known as a ‘Breastfeeding Zealot’ and Babywearer, only because I have 6 kids and never hesitate to bring my kids along, wearing them, and/or nursing them in public, at parties, or neighborhood functions.

    I’m no ‘expert’, but more than a few moms contacted me about this Time cover and even wanted me to speak out (for ‘us’) on the radio – A local am newsradio was having people call in…and our local hospital had a Dr officially make a statement: Dr. Howard Belkin, a psychiatrist affiliated with Beaumont Hospital, said, in cases of older kids breastfeeding, it may be all about the mom:

  11. The cover is exploitative AND aggressive. “Are you mom enough?” Are you *kidding*? I think TIME is taking its cue from Newsweek’s provocative covers, but Newsweek is pro-feminist, and this cover seems anti-feminist, designed to turn women against each other.

    That said, I do believe some mothers perpetuate this “mom enough” idiocy. I had three drug-free deliveries, but I don’t judge moms who have difficult deliveries and need meds or surgery. I nursed each of my kids for a year or so in our family bed, but if you want to nurse your kids longer, or not at all, that’s your choice. I strongly support vaccination, because I believe that the refusal to take on a small risk to benefit the community jeopardizes everyone’s health and the “herd immunity” that extinguished polio and other dangerous diseases. But even on this point, I’m willing to engage in discussion and debate.

    I think that moms on both sides of these contentious issues tend to justify our own choices by denigrating those of other women. I do it myself sometimes, I admit (homeschoolers top my list). Kudos to Peggy O’Mara for encouraging us to be reflective about our own choices as well as our judgements of other moms.

  12. Wow, I really never thought I’d see the day when Mothering and it’s reader would be judging how, where, and for how long another mother should nurse her child. I understand that the photo was meant to be as incensing as possible for those outside the AP and full-term breastfeeding community, but to see it judged even here is sad. Why is it not ok for someone to say “You shouldn’t be nursing your 2 year old. It’s uncommon and therefore unnecessary,” but that’s an ok excuse for when another person doesn’t want to see a 4 year old nurse?

  13. Erin Cyr has already said what I have been thinking:

    “It is times like this (and TIMEs like this) that make me wish Mothering was still around as a print magazine. I miss you Mothering, although I feel your current existence is good, it

  14. One aspect about nursing or “extended” nursing that I have not seen in comments relating to the Time article, here or elsewhere, is how short 1 year or 2 years or even 4 years really is in the “big picture” of childhood. I nursed my almost 4 year old daughter for 2 years. I cannot believe how long ago that seems now. What seemed like forever at the time is such a distant and sweet memory. How can anyone judge what is right for anyone’s family but their own? (But of course that’s exactly what sensationalistic cover stories like this do).

  15. Attachment Parenting really is just instinctive I would think. It’s what comes natural & has been practiced throughout time in most cultures. Why should women be made to feel bad about something so healthy & normal. We’ve got to get back to nurturance & common sense to turn this society around.

  16. I appreciate this response. Hate to be self-promoting, but you all might be interested in a response I wrote to Time Magazine. It’s called “Hey Time Magazine. Are you Man Enough?” http://www.renegademothering.com/2012/05/12/hey-time-magazine-are-you-man-enough/

    What struck me about their entire “coverage” on AP parenting was the way it attempted to separate us mothers – to draw more lines between us – I wrote a pretty radical (and pretty feminist) defense of us mothers. That article really pissed me off.

  17. I hated that cover, too. It was ridiculous. Nursing a child is a loving moment, not for exhibition, although if people happen to catch a glance, there’s nothing with that. It’s weird to deliberately encourage people to look.

    But I disagree with not sending a free box of formula home because, let’s be really honest, nursing a child for the first time can be difficult, and if your child is dropping too much weight, having some difficulty latching, or not urinating enough (getting dehydrated), you may have to supplement with formula. As a single mother, I had to one or two times a day for all of 3 days after I got home from the hospital while I also pumped after every feeding to encourage more milk, but I had no formula at home when I needed it! I had to take a week-old baby to the store to buy some formula. I resisted doing it, but he needed it for just a few days, and then we were off and running, and he has nursed to (currently) 3.5 years old. So I see nothing wrong with a free container of formula that could help in a pinch. It’s the shipment I later got at home of 4 huge containers of formula that I did not request or need.

    Nursing your child may mean that you have to supplement, and there should be no stigma from the breast-feeding community on that either.

  18. Thanks for this response. I am especially shocked by the revelation about Elizabeth Badinter’s PR career. I read an excerpt from her book in Harper’s Magazine a couple of months ago and found it infuriating, misleading, and poorly argued. I can’t believer Harper’s didn’t reveal the Nestle connection. I still remember my mother boycotting Nestle in the 80s over marketing formula in developing nations.

  19. I breastfed my daughter for three years and stopped because the sensation suddenly changed and it no longer felt appropriate, if you know what I mean. Very strange but definite and absolute. I had no choice but to stop and that was translated clearly to my daughter, who didn’t complain (now that she’s 7 she complains a lot more when I don’t want her touching my breasts!). Anyway, I just wanted to say that the cover doesn’t seem titillating or erotic or provocative in a sexual way to me at all. Her exposed breast is so small that it just doesn’t read in any way as pornographic, and because I have no problem with her nursing her 3-year-old son, I don’t see it as anything other than a very strange position and stance. Can’t see any nipple; it’s just chest skin, as far as I’m concerned. I do feel that it’s very unfortunate, however, that a proponent of extended breastfeeding would not be showing the connection created between her and her son with more than a hand holding him up. The title? Too ridiculous to take in. I just ignored it as sensationalism. But, as another mom pointed out, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be as mom enough as I wanted; perhaps if I’d wanted to bf but couldn’t, this would land quite differently.

    So far I haven’t had any real live conversations about this, so I’m happy to be able to participate in this one! Thanks.

  20. There is a photo in the magazine of Jamie nursing her son cuddled up on a chair, along with other mothers and children. Somehow I don’t think she knew which of the photos they would end up using on the cover, let alone the dramatic headline. The photographer even admitted (boasts really) of having the little boy stand on the chair for dramatic emphasis, so I don’t understand why people are putting blame on the mother/son pair for how the photo was set up and used by TIME.

  21. I was so excited to see that a “mainstream” magazine was devoting so much attention to Attachment Parenting. How disappointed I was in reading the articles, which were uninformed, misleading and inaccurate representations of AP. Extremist? I don’t feel as an AP parent that the way we choose to raise our child is extreme at all, just really what came naturally and which was reinforced by Dr. Sears, Mothering and other resources I discovered over time. I don’t think the photo or the writing encouraged dialogue at all, from my perspective it created more divisiveness. I have seen so many comments out there on the news sites, on Facebook, that have just made me sick. Accusing women who breastfeed beyond infancy of being pedophiles, and worse. I feel that now AP is seen by the “average” person as something cultish and in some cases abusive. And how to fix that?

  22. I just can’t believe that breastfeeding can cause such chaos it’s a shame when it’s just the most natural thing for a mother to do. I wish milk was labelled cows breast milk then there would be something to talk about!

  23. I wonder if many of you actually read the article in TIME or just looked at the cover. The article is very non-judgemental of extended breastfeeding, pointing out that the AAP and WHO support breastfeeding as long as mutually beneficial. They even had a sidebar talking about how breastmilk changes to support the different needs of a toddler, refuting the belief that toddlers get nothing special from breastmilk after 1. Of course showing a 3 year old breastfeeding is going to be shocking because there are very, very few women who actually breastfeed children that old. If you spend a lot of time in the AP community it can seem like everyone is into EBF, but if you think that 22% of babies are breastfed at 1, then by 3 that number is way lower. If you’re doing something that 99% of the country ISNT doing, sure, it’s going to be controversial. Not that that should change whether you do it or not, but you should recognize and understand people’s surprise and maybe even negative feelings towards things they don’t understand… yet.

    Also to those of you saying that AP came “naturally” or that it’s the “natural” way to raise your kids, I’d say that it doesn’t always feel like that for everyone. For many women, breastfeeding is hard work, and continuing to breastfeed even through a year can be even harder work. Being exhausted from waking up every 3 hours until your kid decides to sleep through the night because you won’t use CIO is hard work. And carrying a heavy, sweaty toddler on your back instead of pushing them in a stroller can be hard work too. I get really angry when people seem to claim that AP is easy and natural, because it isn’t. Maybe it came naturally to YOU, but it certainly didn’t to me. By dismissing how hard it is to be an AP mom, you’re basically denying that these people exist.

  24. Totally agree with you! That’s what I felt too, you have worded it much better than me.

    I think there’s some defiance in the picture – but that’s to the world that’s against breastfeeding… I do not see absolutely anything wrong in it. The child is dressed just like any boy at that age does. Sure, no one would feed a child standing in a chair. Their back and deltoids would kill from bad ergonomics. This is an artistic expression that conveys that – yes, breastfeeding is totally okay for a child who can stand on his own.. I will feed my child because it’s good for him. what are you going to do about it?

    And I’m in total favor of putting a 26 yr old on cover. To me, It says that even the new generation of mothers are going for this time honored way to nourish children.

  25. And no – the only thing I don’t like is the title. ‘Are you mom enough?’ Really??? Who judges and decides this enough part?

  26. People’s response to Time’s cover is exactly why we longer-term breastfeeding mothers did so very discretely, especially past two or three years old, and especially our boys. Our society has become so unused to the sight of a child nursing that people are repelled by it. So those of us who do nurse a bit longer tend not to do so publicly. I love that Time has put it on their front cover, and all the controversy of them doing this has made it even bigger news. The secret is out, for all to see. And debate. Time magazine has provided a great platform for those of us who wish to respond to the article to do so to a much wider audience than would usually be interested.

  27. The set up with the chair was supposed to make a reference to Madonna images where nursing babies are pictured with adult proportions. Not sure it that’s true or not, or where the sense is in that, but that’s what I read.

  28. I was actually a little disappointed by the article. To me, it felt like it was more about Dr. Sears and his family than AP as a parenting idea, with some emphasis on BF/EBF.

    There’s this picture of a nearly 4y/o boy nursing (and the mom looking like she’s trying to be a fashion model?) and then you read the article and there’s not much information on AP or BF or why it’s beneficial and how it’s protected by law in most, if not all, states. It felt misleading and like a plug for the Sears’ books. But again, this is my personal feeling.

    When I was pregnant with my now 4.5y/o child I’d never heard of AP. I’d heard of Ferberizing, but only because of a movie. I only found out about AP when I was researching what felt natural to me. I live in NYC and hated strollers on the subway, you could tell it was awkward and cumbersome. I knew I was going to be a baby wearer right from the start, just like I knew I was going to breastfeed from the beginning. I am also a single parent and knew I’d have no one to take night feedings and changings for me, so co-sleeping was an obvious choice.

    I wore my daughter until she outgrew our carrier and by that point she was big enough to walk everywhere, we only take the stroller when we’re going to be out All Day. We still co-sleep and she still nurses at night. She’s been away for entire weekends and surprisingly I’m still producing milk. She knows it’s only for bedtime and I know how much our “Mommy Hugs” mean to her. I’m not going to hurt her feelings by taking away something so special to her when I can’t even give her a good reason, by our standards.

    Yes, Time’s cover photograph was awkward and perhaps even poorly shot. There was no love there. No eye-to-eye connection, no visible bond. To me, that’s what nursing is about and showing that is crucial to the acceptance of EBF. Otherwise it just looks…odd.

  29. Oh, and incidentally, both my kids have nursed while on a chair:O. I cook for long intervals and at a few occasions, they have been standing on chair next to me and been hit by the sudden urge to nurse with me unwilling to let the food burn while I sit down to properly nurse them.

    BUT I’ve never posed in front of a camera like this!:D

  30. It’s hard work being a mom period, regardless of the method. The way I look at it, if you’re not carrying your child around/making sure they feel safe and cuddled or nursing on demand/making sure they’re nurtured on demand, you’ll be dealing with the behavior that follows from that decision. While I generally follow a gentle parenting method, there are naturally times when I deviate from my ideals, and when I do my children immediately make clear to me how much harder it is to deal with a child when he doesn’t feel 100% unconditionally loved. This is what AP is about in my opinion–the way we love our children. Not the type of sling we use. An aching back from a long day of holding my babe is nothing compared to the tears and frustrations of having a power struggle with your 4 year-old.

  31. My issue of the TIME cover is the mother and child they chose to feature. Lovely woman and child, but….she is very tall and her child is tall, so they stick him on a chair so he can reach the breast to nurse. And he is looking at the camera, which isn’t the norm unless a child is instructed to do so. The cover photo doesn’t come off as nurturing to me.

    How many folks who see the TIME magazine at the store (if the store didn’t covered it up) will not even read the article, much less know that this mother and the father have a very healthy lifestyle that is focused on family and not materialism?

    Shock value is meant to either cause people to be turned off and disgusted or more interested in the topic being presented. And when you are in a hurry at the check out stand people arent about to step aside and see what the article is all about.

    Having read the article (I sub to their online edition) they have some wonderful women speaking to the issue of breastfeeding, attachment parenting and how many countries do much better at allowing mothers to be mothers, without the pitting of mothers against other mothers.

  32. I found the cover to be offensive and honestly, stupid. I’m breastfeeding my 13 month old now and will continue until shes about 3 (if she wants too!) But I’m still trying to figure out how a cover of a Time magazine (which I don’t have time to read anyway with 2 children under 5) exactly affects my life and how I live it. I am the only one that I know out of my friends who breastfeeds and although I do feel they are missing this wonderful thing that they could do with their child, its their business what they do and my business what I do. I think there are probably more important things Time could put kn their cover. I also thought it really was an unfair way to show breastfeeding – to me its one of the most important things you can do for your child and whoever took the photo their ignorance is shining through!

  33. I actually really like the cover shot, don’t see anything wrong with a mother nursing her son while he stands on a chair. As a nursing mother of two (17 months and 5 years), I have nursed in any position possible at this point. Even, yes, staring into a camera! Jamie Lynn looks great, she is confident and proud because she knows what a wonderful thing she is doing by nursing her son, and she does it in spite of the inevitable ignorant criticism she knows she will endure. We should not need to hide the fact that we nurse past infancy, if others think we are trying to be confrontational or prove a point that shouldn’t concern us. Now that my older daughter is 5 we really only nurse when she wakes up and falls asleep, and one time at home in the afternoon, but I was never shy to nurse her up to 3 or 4 years (pregnant!) because I know it’s the right thing for her and I’m just not afraid of what others think. I also think the cover shot is perfectly tasteful, her breast is exposed just as much as any nursing mother’s breast would be, and why should she not be young and beautiful? I appload her courage and look forward to seeing the effect of this article on public policy in the US!

  34. That said, I think the headline is definitely too sensationalist and confrontational, and calling attachment parenting “extreme” and Dr. Sears a “guru” is just plain ridiculous!!!!

  35. After reading the comments about this post I’m actually very surprised that there are “very, very few” moms who breastfeed children past three years. lol I still nurse my daughter who is 3 1/2. I have stopped nursing her in public just b/c I’m not comfortable with that anymore I guess, and that I think she nurses a lot when she’s bored and not out of any comfort or other needs. She is still constantly nursing at home, though I’d thought she would have slowed down by now. I figure it’ll probably be something like a friend of mine who was comfortable telling her son as he approached his fifth birthday that he’d be a big boy and wouldn’t need to nurse anymore. He suggested his last nursing would be on his birthday – and it was – and he was fine with that! 🙂 I think it’s just a personal decision for each mother and child duo. I also like and don’t like the TIME cover. But what a funny way to find out I’m so much more of a minority than I’d previously figured! 😛

  36. has anyone read the article? Seriously, i haven’t bought the magazine, but i want to know has anyone read it or is everyone mankign their statements based solely on the cover?

  37. Well, Peggy, you finally sound old-fashioned. How can you cite that this isn’t the norm when it SHOULD BE. And yet you feature what’s normal and should be normal for other mammals? All of the talk of obesity protocols about changing perceptions and here is a perfect example of changing perceptions. Are you calling out the unfortunate babies that get spanked for potty training accidents on reality TV as not ok because it IS the norm? I can’t wait until my almost 4 year old (who is nursed every which way-though now mostly at bedtime) and her 6 year old brother who loves snuggling up with us as we nurse-and pose for pictures, (shock!)get to see something like this at the grocery store. Maybe for once they will feel like someone else “Families” the way we do. All they ever see is pacifiers, bottles, etc. And I’ll admit because its not the norm I don’t do it as much or talk about it as much because she’s older. But Jamie- she has done what I would love to. To all the people (including you apparently) who think it should be hidden because its “rare”-she’s giving the finger. I applaud her and wish I could have posed this way with her. The first biracial or transgendered couples photographed probably faced similar backlash. But I bet their kids were proud. Pseudointellectuals like yourself have been saying this has an erotic edge? Have you seen Natl’ geographic or the travel channel? They sit around all day nursing kids of various ages. But on reality TV they fuzz out the nipple. If you are dark skinned are you not erotic? If you are indigineous and native are you not exploiting the child because you’re not “pretty”? Hipocritical-a word that is not subjective-has a clear definition, and your post is an example. You also speak of backlash-may I contend that the great mothers are too busy mothering to join in the social media frenzy until a few days later.

  38. Hi Robin, I assuming some of your comments were in response to my earlier post. I should have clarifed my take on AP parenting. I in no way meant to diminish other parenting methods or choices, or the fact that not everyone can (or should) follow AP principles. And I have definitely found parenting very very challenging and demanding! I had so much trouble with nursing in the first few weeks I almost gave up, I had pretty serious postpartum depression, my three and a half year old never slept through the night ONCE until she was 2 1/2, she was up every 2-3 hours throughout the night every night. Plus I had my first baby at 41 so I am absolutely exhausted and I feel I have aged 10 years in three! I do not share these things for sympathy or acknowledgement. I just meant in the OP that the basic AP principals seemed intuitive and natural to ME before I ever really learned about them formally. And when I found Dr. Sears it was such nice reassurance. Parenting itself is never easy, probably is not meant to be, and I truly honor every mother’s choices and experience.

  39. I actually think the cover is fabulous! Why not publish an ‘extreme’? Some find it extreme to nurse past a year. Some find it extreme to not vaccinate their children or to not let them cry it out in their cribs. I think the more press the ‘extreme’ gets, the better it is for the rest of us.

    Additionally, I am really disheartened by those who declare that this mother should not be the model for the cover because she is too pretty or perky or young.

    I was born attractive. Does that mean that I should be put into a dark room while I nurse? Had it been a forty-something woman, it would have been perhaps seen as less American, I believe. Our society hails thin, attractive women. If anyone can get the word out that it is a natural, wonderful thing, I think it is them. I believe this type of coverage is EXACTLY what the breastfeeding community needs to have out there.

    If it’s considered shock value, so be it! Perhaps in the future, the public won’t be so shocked when well-meaning, loving mothers choose to nurse their toddlers on park benches without getting the disapproving glares that women get today.

  40. I do not find ‘natural’ to be synonymous with ‘easy’. Death is natural. Childbirth is natural. Heartbreak is natural. None of those things are easy.

    I think that Attachment Parenting is most certainly natural. That does not imply that it is easy to me.

  41. I love and hate it too. Says this nursing abd bed-sharing mother of one; 4 1/2 years and going. The image could end up be quite devisive.

    I need to go find the article to find out what TIME has to say.

  42. THANK YOU for posting the radio documentary link. I listened and I LOVE it and will be sharing with my network. Great “food for thought”, literally and figuratively. :o)

  43. Thank you. I embraced most AP concepts because they felt right ….however my baby was huge and my body was weak and by 6 mos I wasn’t wearing him as often as I thought I would be…yet every piece of Sears advice seems to go back to wearing your child, to the point of him saying if you had worn your child you wouldn’t have this issue! Nowhere does he offer alternatives to mothers who can’t wear their babies. Nevermind the fact that he recomends a sling for crying out loud! Luckily I knew enough to dismiss that advice without a second thought.

  44. what got me was that the little guy wasn’t touching his mama. just sort of hanging off her breast. and the head line… eeeep. i didn’t like that at all. i did however like her standing there defiantly, and i like that she was young and pretty. like you can be young, beautiful and be nursing your biggish kid and it is OK.

    i just wish he had maybe had his arms around her or something.

  45. The picture is not a snapshot. It’s not meant to depict a realistic breastfeeding relationship (though apparently it does, because I’ve read more than one comment where a mom said that she has in fact nursed while her child stood on a chair). The picture is stylized and artistic, and I like it. Unfortunately, it’s not a picture that a lot of Time readers (or viewers of shows that are discussing it) can handle. EBF is such a foreign concept to many, and this is a poor introduction to some and a reinforcement of misconceptions in others.

  46. I was excited to hear about an EBF article being in Time, and then felt very disappointed when I saw the cover. A mom of two girls 8 and 4 with another on the way, I have been nursing non-stop since my oldest was born. My oldest stopped at about 4 1/2 and the youngest still nurses. While I would never have guessed that my kids would nurse so long, I feel the pain of those who are made to feel weird by their families and peers. My own mom has come a long way, as someone who never nursed her own kids and didn’t understand why I would ever want to. I have stayed home, I have worked, I have done everything in between. One kid didn’t like pumped bottles, another one didn’t mind. I never did have to go to formula for any reason, and have always been grateful. I don’t understand why those who do use it are always so defensive of the practice, and quick to criticize those who don’t. It always seems to me like most of the formula users I know don’t try hard enough to get past BF’ing problems they encounter because they get so much pressure from their peds and peers to give it up for various reasons. I know that’s not the case for everyone, but it seems like the norm. I am so grateful to La Leche League for supporting me through both kids, and for all the moms at those groups taught me about just doing what felt right for me and my kids. I recommend it to everyone, even though when I was growing up, my mom referred to them as the Nursing Nazis. I wish TIME had depicted EBFing as the loving, nurturing relationship with one’s children that it is. My kids are great! I think we are doing a good job parenting them, and I just wish others could experience the wonderful things our family has been gifted with because we are open to going with the flow of natural parenting. Even the term natural parenting seems sort of strange to me, coined as something that describes our lack of cribs and doo-dads and formula. It’s just what works for us and asks the least of us and our children, with the best results! I miss Mothering in print and cried when I saw the little girl on the last issue going away through the fields. I felt in some way that it might be indicative of what was to come for mothers. Losing nature. I pray that’s not the case.

  47. THANK YOU Robin. I have tried so many AP things and they just didn’t work out and have felt guilty or even envious of others for whom these things (family bed, extended breastfeeding) seem to come so easy. I appreciate you making this point.

  48. Thank you Autumn for saying this b/c–It DOES offend those of who tried to the point of pumping 20 hrs + a week to be “mom enough”, but still couldn’t get the supply up. I extol the benefits of breastfeeding, but I wish by doing that others didn’t have to make people who can’t or won’t (sometimes there is an anxiety or very good reasons why women choose not too that you aren’t privy to)feel bad for their decisions.

  49. I’m sorry, but breasts have a two fold perception, especially in our overly sexualized society. They are incredibly erotic, practically a genital region (again, I am speaking of our culture, not my opinion)and on the other side of the coin, nurturing and motherly when we bf our babies. The problem is that a completely exposed breast even when bf in our culture can still be perceived as erotic, as sick as that sounds. You can’t assume our culture is going to be the same as native peoples where women go topless on a regular basis. I don’t think Peggy deserves to be called a pseudo intellectual just because she recognizes the reality of our surroundings, however disappointing they may be.

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