By now, I'm sure you've seen the new TIME magazine cover that comes out tomorrow. It's a woman standing with her three-year-old son breastfeeding him with the title "Are you mom enough?" and subtitle "Why attachment parenting drives some mothers to extremes - and how Dr. Bill Sears became their guru."
Yeah, I'm kinda jumping on the bandwagon here and writing a short post. I don't normally invite drama, but this one hits close to home for me. (I'll try to articulate my thoughts and keep things on track...)
See, we breastfeed. Not only do we breastfeed, we exclusively breastfeed, which means Penny has never gotten formula or water or supplements or even food in her short little life. I like breastfeeding, it has come naturally to us and there really wasn't any other choice in the matter. Of course, if breastfeeding hadn't worked out (and damn it, I was going to fight until the end if that was the outcome) I would've gone with formula. But for now, it isn't an issue.
While we don't plan on breastfeeding until three or four or however many years, we do plan on doing a solid year and even to two years. This comes as a surprise to a lot of people that I talk to. In this country we're still a little backwards in our breastfeeding thinking, we're still trying to fight for the healthier benefit, the more natural way, and fight the stigma that breastfeeding has had for the longest time.
Let me get this straight: Breastfeeding is not bad. It's not gross. It's not harmful, it's not weird, it's not going to scar your baby. Yes, it hurts at first, but heck, I don't even remember that. Yes, there is a slight learning curve. But it is the best thing, hands down, for your baby.
What really bothers me about this cover is the picture. It doesn't look natural, it doesn't look comfortable. Who even feeds their baby like that? It's almost ridiculing the fact that she's breastfeeding her three-year-old because look! he can breastfeed standing up! Isn't he too old?
Most people wouldn't breastfeed this late, but if it works for them, it works for them. To each their own. Why are we criticizing other families for their parenting styles? Why can't we just let them be? In the end the child is loved, the child is nurtured, and the child is learning to become a functional adult in society. (Remember when I talked about that?) So come on, let's relax a little, TIME, and everyone else. Let her breastfeed her three-year-old. Whatever.
And you know what, this cover isn't just offensive to those who breastfeed and practice attachment parenting (which we do to an extent). It's offensive to those who don't do any of it! Just four little words: Are you mom enough? Along with the photo of someone breastfeeding. How do you think those who didn't breastfeed feel? Like they weren't mom enough to do? Choose your words carefully, TIME.
This cover of course was generated to cause controversy and sell more magazines. I haven't read the article and I don't want to, the cover does enough for me.
Let us all just relax and know that we're doing the best for our kids and everyone else is too. And geez, breastfeeding an older kid is not bad for him.