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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Are you mom enough?

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.

12 comments:

  1. I agree to each there own, and I think that when we have children I will breastfeed (even though now, as I am not a parent and can't say decisively) I don't believe I would breastfeed past 2. Again, to each their own. One thing though, that I think of with that title, is I think of people who couldn't breastfeed. When I say couldn't i mean seriously physically couldn't. Jesse's sister-in-law was diagnosed with cancer during her second pregnancy and couldn't breastfeed because she immediately started cancer treatment. So I think of those people, who may feel less than a mother, if even for a moment, when they see that cover.

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  2. I've seen videos of an 8 year old still breast feeding. Now THAT is not natural! It might not scar a baby, or even a 2 year old...but an 8 year old?! But like Jesse & Marissa said...to each his own!

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  3. I am 100% for "extended" breastfeeding, but I agree with your line of thinking. My son turned 1 on Saturday and he is still breastfed. We will breastfeed until he's at least 2 years old and then he can self-wean after that. There is NOTHING wrong with that.

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  4. I AGREE WITH YOU QUESTIONING THE TITLE IT DOES INFER THAT WOMEN WHO DON'T BF ARE INFERIOR. AS A MOTHER WHO ONLY BREAST FED FOR 2 MONTHS I TAKE NO OFENCE TO THE COVER PICTURE, HOWEVER THE CHILD DOES LOOK A BIT OLD TO NURSE. I DO LIKE YOUR POINT OF VIEW IN THIS ARTICLE. IM ESPECIALLY INTRIGUED BY THE MANY DIFFERENT VIEWS ON THIS COVER. I RECENTLY GOT A CHANCE TO VENT ABOUT A POST A FRIEND OF MINE MADE ON FB. IT GOES AS FOLLOWS:
    SHE WRITES
    ----Breastfeeding is totally normal, natural and healthy thing to do. I nurse my son... but I don't do it in public and certainly not on the cover of time magazine. Distasteful.

    IN WHICH I POSTED: I DISAGREE...... I SAW MORE ON THE VOICE THIS WEEK WITH CHRISTINA'S TWINS HANGING OUT. WHY SHOULDN'T A MOTHER BE ABLE TO NURTURE A CHILD IN PUBLIC WHY SHOULD SHE BE FORCED TO FEED HER CHILD IN A PUBLIC RESTROOM, DO YOU KNOW ANYONE WHO EATS IN A PUBLIC RESTROOM???? . SH!T IT'S LEGAL IN SOME STATES FOR WOMAN TO GO TOPLESS BUT IT'S JUST DISGUSTING FOR A WOMAN TO DO WHAT COMES NATURALLY AND USE HER BREAST FOR WHAT THEY WERE MADE FOR! WHAT'S SO SHOCKING ABOUT A PICTURE OF A MOTHER NURSING? WHY ARE WOMAN THAT ARE FULLY COVERED & NURSING STILL RIDICULED? REMEMBER BREAST ARE NOT JUST A FASHION ACCESSARY AS MEN HAVE TAUGHT US TO BELIEVE , YET IT WOULD BE FULLY ACCEPTABLE FOR A ALMOST NUDE MODEL TO BE ON THE COVER OF VOUGE TRE CHIC. DO I WANT TO SEE OTHER WOMANS BREAST ?....NO!!! BUT I FEEL THAT A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE A CHOICE. AND AS TO WHAT AGE THEY CHOOSE TO STOP BF THERE CHILD THATS PERSONAL AS WELL! BREAST FEEDING IS A BEAUTIFUL EXPRESSION OF LOVE NOT DISTASTEFUL ♥

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  5. Thank you! Geez, after I saw that this morning I wanted to write a post too. It's beyond ridiculous for them to ridicule women who do extended breastfeeding and then to all but say you're not "mom enough" if you don't do it. So dumb. I completely agree with you. I probably won't do extended breastfeeding, but I'm not going to condemn someone else for doing what works for them. Such ridiculousness.

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  6. I am a pro breastfeeding, my mom was a LLL leader, and I nursed several of my kids until they were almost two. With that being said I feel like the cover is distasteful. I t does not look natural and it is covers like that that make people uncomfortable. I am one of those people that doesn't feel that you should have to cover up to feed a baby. their head covers more then most bikini's, but I do feel that cover is odd

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  7. I'm not a mom, so I don't have any real opinions on the matter. I do take issue with that cover as I feel like they wanted to make breastfeeding seem unnatural and controversial. I also don't like the title of the article, either. As if moms don't have enough to worry about and receive enough judgement... the magazine is trying to ignite more "Mommy Wars" in my opinion. Breastfeeding or formula, either way isn't everyone just trying to be the best mom they can?

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  8. My question is do you plan on exclusively breastfeeding your sweet baby until she's two?

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  9. I'm a medical student who looovvveeesss pediatrics!! In fact, we just finished a rotation in pediatrics complete with a week on breastfeeding and the benefits of this practice. I think it is so amazing to hear you say you are exclusively breastfeeding your sweet little girl! What amazing health benefits you will be extending to Penny! Breastfeeding Moms should be absoloutely celebrated, because it is some of the very toughest work imaginable! Hats off to all Mommas for making the amazing commitment! It is really sad how American society isolates breastfeeding women, and makes them feel like they are anything less than natural. It really should be celebrated and encouraged. If anyone is interested in resources that comment on the benefits of breastfeeding I would be more than happy to send them your way!
    Jessica A.

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  10. Luckily living in Colorado I've had no negative feedback for bfing my daughter till 13 months or now my son. And what do you know this son hates his coverup so I've become that Mom that sometimes (gasp) has to show a tiny little bit of boob on occassion to make sure he can eat. I am convinced these "mommy wars" are 95% media created. I am around moms all day every day and some nurse and some formula feed and we all get along just fine. Although I didn't read the article the cover alone just proves my stupid media theory once again!

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  11. Love this post. Mostly, because I also wrote about the topic. And boy did it hit a nerve. I actually was not as bothered by the photo but that was because I could not get past my outrage at the headline, especially the week of Mother's Day. I think it is ridiculous that they tried to sensationalize breastfeeding just to sell magazines. I am not impressed at all. You did a great job pointing out the truth in this post! Would love your thoughts on my blog! :)
    http://www.thedoseofreality.com/2012/05/10/time-to-read-another-magazine/

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  12. I also wrote about this. I was really upset by this cover as I am currently breastfeeding my 9 month old and at the moment plan on doing so at least until 2 and maybe longer. I had a lot of people seemingly judging me and my style of parenting thanks to this ridiculous cover. In fact, I've heard a lot of misinterpretation of AP from so called AP experts.

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