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May 10th, 2012
04:37 PM ET

Breast-feeding: Too much of a good thing?

It's hard to avoid staring at the cover of Time Magazine this week. If you're on social media like Twitter and Facebook, the widely shared image may have arrived on your screen before you ever saw it in the supermarket.

The provocative cover shows Jamie Lynne Grumet, a 26-year-old mother from Los Angeles, breast-feeding her son. This isn't your typical mom-and-baby shot: Grumet's son is 3. In case you were wondering, Grumet told CNN's Erin Burnett that her son is actually breast-feeding in that now-iconic image.

Grumet said her own mother breast-fed her until age 6, and Grumet still remembers it. "I'm proud of her," Grumet said.

The picture promotes an article about the growing popularity of "attachment parenting", a theory first advocated by Dr. Bill Sears and his wife, Martha, in their 1992 best-selling guide “The Baby Book.”

The Searses argue that co-sleeping, “baby wearing” (where the baby is attached to the parent with a sling) and extended breast-feeding will help parents respond better to the individual needs of their babies.

Celebrities such as Mayim Bialik of "The Big Bang Theory" are also promoting ideas about attachment parenting. Bialik said on Friday that she still breast-feeds her 3-year-old son. "He's not done breast-feeding, and I'm not ready to tell him not to," she said.

Many moms and dads have strong opinions about these practices, especially the breast-feeding advice.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies be breast-fed exclusively for the first six months of their lives.

"We don't all nurse older kids," Bialik said of mothers who subscribe to attachment parenting ideas. "But the notion that a child's voice matters, that every child is different, that's the basis of attachment parenting."

Heather Curtis, wife of Fark.com founder Drew Curtis, told CNN's Geek Out that she practiced breast-feeding for an extended period, carried her babies in slings and practiced co-sleeping, as Bialik did. So did Caryn Rogers, a science writer for the Preeclampsia Foundation.

"I didn't really choose to eschew conventional care so much as chose to get what I believed was the most evidence-based care," Rogers said.

Grumet said that sleeping with her baby does not affect intimacy with her husband.

Watch: Breast-feeding cover-mom defends pose

"I think intimacy is extremely important in a marriage and I think a strong marriage is going to be a great foundation to show your children how to be raised confident and happy and I had that with my family, too," she said.

Time: Extended breast-feeding is more common than we think

CNN.com readers expressed mixed views on the subjects of the best age to stop breast-feeding and the appropriateness of the Time cover in general. See what they said.

We want to know what you think.  Is it OK to breast-feed well past toddler-hood, or is it too much of a good thing?


soundoff (2,707 Responses)
  1. David

    Why can't people mind their own business? If you don't like the picture.... don't look. How she raises her children is no-ones business. And, stop posting the picture all over the internet. Time Magazine is just trying to create an issue and hopefully increase their circulation in the process.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • drinker75

      So you think the purpose of this article and picture is for people to mind their own business? If she wanted people to mind their own business she wouldn't have put hers on display.

      May 11, 2012 at 18:55 | Report abuse |
    • toadears

      I agree. And I think for Father's Day I would like to see a full expose on the cover of a prostate exam. Equal time and all that.

      May 11, 2012 at 18:56 | Report abuse |
    • Judge Bill

      I will let any woman off, if she breast feeds me.

      May 11, 2012 at 18:58 | Report abuse |
    • Lone

      Actually David, it is our business, as a society, how a child is raised. There are detrimental, if not flat wrong, ways to do it. It calls into question who it is being done for. The nutrition value isn't there, the bonding and handling is long past established , what purpose does it serve the child? Some mothers do extend feeding a few months because its hard to let that stage go but this is something else entirely. A number of studies have shown prolonged breast feeding has negative repercussions down the road.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:01 | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      Uhh she's on the cover of a national magazine and you ask why people can't mind their own business... really?? The moment she decided to be on the cover was the moment she gave up the right to have people mind their own business....

      May 11, 2012 at 19:01 | Report abuse |
    • wavejump1100

      this kid is going to have a hard core fetish for woman's breasts when he grows up. that is if he ever grows up, cut the apron strings already. breast feeding should end when the child is able to eat solid food.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      I'm pretty sure we all were minding our business before she made it international news with that photo and article. If she wanted us to mind our own business, why did she do this?

      May 11, 2012 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
    • wavejump1100

      oops.... sorry david i meant to make a general comment not a reply

      May 11, 2012 at 19:12 | Report abuse |
    • Trisha

      Lone (in your reply to David),
      Can you please provide references to these studies which prove extended nursing is detrimental?

      May 11, 2012 at 19:12 | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      It's pretty funny that all of you care about this so much. We are the most backa$$wards country in this regard. There are much worse things than prolonged breast feeding. Maybe not good beneficial for your body after 6 months but does wonders for your heart and soul.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:14 | Report abuse |
    • David

      Are you f.....ing serious? Does Time magazine really have to resort to this.crap to sell magazines? Oh man, America's in trouble. Lets hope the Mayan's are correct.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:19 | Report abuse |
  2. Red Pison

    She gets off on it. Sick woman.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Miriam

      And your evidence for this is where?

      May 11, 2012 at 19:03 | Report abuse |
    • Gregory

      Sounds like you get off on it. You're a sick person.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:11 | Report abuse |
  3. Ellison

    Female want to grow same size boobs like that picture. They get extreme jealous because they can't make grow BIGGER!!!

    May 11, 2012 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Greens47

    Bottle-fed children fare perfectly well. Breast-fed children fare well (as well). What this woman is doing has nothing to do with the kid's health, It is completely unncessary and borders on the perverse. I'm glad my wife did not breast-feed our children. It was more convenient to bottle-feed and I was able to handle the feedings at any point and give her a break. The "breast-feed only" cult needs to disband and stop hassling those who choose not to. All ten of us kids were bottle-fed and have fared very well in terms of health, education and career.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • cc

      On average, you're right-but individuals aren't average. Advocating that all practice attachment parenting is wrong-but advocating that none practice it is also wrong. I see no point in this cover-attachment parenting is individual and not suited for a mass market magazine.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:02 | Report abuse |
    • MG

      This is not anything against bottle feeding...to be honest I think it makes breast feeding look bad come on how many people bottle feed there babies for 3 years....I disagree with that as well. By a year they should be drinking out of a cup at least part of the time.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:03 | Report abuse |
  5. GetALife

    This picture says more about the unmet emotional needs of the mother than the child. I feel sorry for both of them. What a messed up society we live in. That's a disturbing display and not appropriate for the mother nor the child.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • a mother

      In countries like India, children are breast fed till the age of three at least.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:04 | Report abuse |
  6. Skeptic

    She looks 18 and he looks 8.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Tuco Salamanca

    Personally I don't care. I just think the kid is going to be a big mama's boy and grow up to be a p*ssy.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aaron Lanterman

      Here's a thought: try reading some of the scientific research on the matter, instead of just pulling a conclusion out of your ass.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:11 | Report abuse |
  8. toadears

    He looks scared. Are his hands in her crotch? Just askin........................

    May 11, 2012 at 18:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Shawn

    I honestly don't know how I feel about the pic.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Lisa

    It is not for the child's health. She's got a problem and needs the attention. Poor kid.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bigboxes

      Totally agree. You have to guess that she doesn't want to let go of her "baby". I would find it problematic if this child was bottle feeding at his age. Time to cut the cord.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:21 | Report abuse |
  11. Mia

    Wow...I think every comment on here must be from Americans! There are more countries that breastfeed after 2+ years than not....yep, only in American would this be 'news' and controversial!

    May 11, 2012 at 18:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • toadears

      Do they all do cover shots on a national magazine and go on TV too? Wow. That would be really boring television programming! For Father's Day, I want to see a full exposure of a man's pe nis after receiving female hormone shots for a transsexual surgery. I like to stay intellectually informed and believe in fairness in the media and transsexuals are Dads too. If you disagree with this, you are a teabagging, neocon, conservative Christian bigot, nazi loving, rightwing nut job.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:00 | Report abuse |
  12. Android App Free Download

    I just like the valuable information you provide to your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again right here frequently. I am rather sure I will be told many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the following!

    May 11, 2012 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. tastycles

    Yeah way to screw your kid over for life, idiot wench

    May 11, 2012 at 18:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ionymous

      Sounds like someone's bitter they got weaned too early. HAHAHA!!!

      May 11, 2012 at 19:12 | Report abuse |
  14. toadears

    I get it. Midgets and dwarves ahem excuse me "little people" are good in the sack. Right?

    May 11, 2012 at 18:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. other

    we always compare our selves to animals, they wean the mother weans the babys not the babys weans their self

    May 11, 2012 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Darw1n

    Lucky kid

    May 11, 2012 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. ghostclown

    Does anyone know of a website that has news on it? Preferably one that employs journalists.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • toadears

      Perhaps Time magazine?

      May 11, 2012 at 19:01 | Report abuse |
  18. jimbob

    I wonder if she's a teacher?

    May 11, 2012 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. VLK

    This growing trend must be why the youth of today are dumb and dumber. The current generation of middle to high schoolers are the most spoiled, rotten, self absorbed group of children any generation has ever seen. Shiftless, lazy, and no respect for anyone. All because Mommy says come feed...I'll make it all better.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lone

      Don't believe what you see on TV, and I can tell that is where you get it because you couldn't say that if you had any real experience with kids. That said, what do you expect? Degeneration is a common symptom of wealth, and what country has more? Surprise, welcome to a product of your own hand.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:05 | Report abuse |
    • Aaron Lanterman

      The actual scientific research on the topic runs contrary to your misinformed opinions.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:12 | Report abuse |
  20. Teresa

    TMI. Just plain TMI. Sure, it's "natural". So is wiping your behind after you poop. But I don't want to see that on the cover of Time, either.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • toadears

      Oh, I do! And check out my other posts. I would also like to see for Father's Day, a fully nude picture of Woody Allen and nominate him for Father of the year.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:02 | Report abuse |
  21. Guest

    We have a front runner for the luckiest kid in America award.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Daniela

      um, luckiest? that is sort of a sick way of thinking...yuck

      May 11, 2012 at 19:05 | Report abuse |
  22. mj

    He looks old enough to date her? Cougar Mom?

    May 11, 2012 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. DadMom

    Fantastic this method, whose results, however, are only in the long run. It takes courage and conscience to adopt it. I did with my three children, now 11, 10 and 7 years old. The first was breastfed for one year only, but the two others were breastfed until 3 years of age. All of them slept with the parents until late. And today they are gifted learners, with high self-esteem and confidence in what they do. My family is so grateful to this method, which, however, we did not know that was due to Dr. Sears, but we learn from a book with 101 rules on how to raise happy children.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. MG

    In response to David...She put herself out there on the front page of time ok so apparently she wants a response.....And I don't think there is anything wrong with breast feeding, I breast feed all my sons..but When a child is past a certain age you should be weening him because he is no longer a baby. And yes it is up to her what she wants to do but don't expect everyone else to agree with you.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • shane

      No it's not up to the mother. When the baby is a toddler, it becomes molestation. Put her in jail.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:01 | Report abuse |
  25. Marsha

    Isn't any thing private any more. Why does this woman think every one wants to see her breast feed her child on the cover of a magazine. Why does she think the world has to acknowledge it !

    May 11, 2012 at 19:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • toadears

      She's just trying to make a buck. It's the rotten economy.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:04 | Report abuse |
    • MG

      ATTENTION!!!

      May 11, 2012 at 19:06 | Report abuse |
  26. JOnes

    Why make such big deal about it?!?!? Sheese......

    May 11, 2012 at 19:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. DadMom

    Please, focuses on the method and not in the photo...The objective is provoke discussion. The method is fantastic.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. audrey

    I have two children. My son who is now 9 was nursed for alsost three years. My daughter will be 4 in June and she still nurses. She shows no signs of stopping yet. I'm glad I'm not the only one!

    May 11, 2012 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Daniela

      Whatever floats your boat!

      May 11, 2012 at 19:05 | Report abuse |
  29. ohmy

    Shame on her for exploiting the child all for her own gain.....

    May 11, 2012 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Curt

    Socially, a male getting breast fed till the age of four is worse than a female getting breast fed till the age of six. How will he explain that one to the football team.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • shane

      Apparently the mother doesn't mind sexual relations with toddlers. Maybe she will give out to the football team when he is in high school?

      May 11, 2012 at 19:04 | Report abuse |
    • Leslie A. Tampa Florida

      I breast fed my daughter until she was 8. It is sexual and it does feel good. But, it is for the benefit of my child also.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:18 | Report abuse |
  31. Hear Ye

    Attention seeker – move over Kate Whatshername.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. jimbob

    I wonder if mad sucking skills runs in her family

    May 11, 2012 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. GW

    What a weirdo. That kid is going to be a mental case.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. fj

    i'm thirsty too

    May 11, 2012 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GW

      ma ma – ma ma – lol

      May 11, 2012 at 19:05 | Report abuse |
  35. Howie76

    The way they are posed in the photograph is what makes this creepy. They intentionally set this up for a reaction and it worked. They have the child standing on a higher chair so he appears even older (pre teen) and looking out of the corners of his eyes to pose for the camera. The photographer did a great work in the composition. But is is still creepy to be posed that way.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Kimberlee

    I would be a million times more appalled if it were a mother smoking in front of her 3 year old and THAT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME! I dropped my child's classmate off at her home after a playdate at ours the other day and went in to meet her mother and it was like walking into a bar at closing time. I could barely breathe. My daughter will NEVER go over there for a playdate. I wasn't breastfed but I breastfed all my kids, the first till 14 months, the second till 9 months and the last to 26 months (yes, that's over age 2) and I'm extremely proud that I did. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding to at least age 2. It wasn't so much for sustenance obviously at that age, but more to put them to sleep, it was a comfort thing, and nobody says anything when they see a 3 and 4 year old with a pacifier in their mouth, it's another way to pacify a child except it's also a way to bond with them unlike a pacifier.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • toadears

      A smoking Mom is fully clothed and would never make the cover. Sorry. But I hear you. I teach and kids come in, especially in winter, smelling like the bottom of an ash tray. Bad for them.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:06 | Report abuse |
    • James

      Get over yourself. Nobody gets out of here alive. There are far, far worse sins than smoking tobacco.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:12 | Report abuse |
  37. JOnes

    Trying it you ANGRY LADIES,..... Breast feeding is not DRUGS.

    It's "NATURAL MILK FOR A CHILD"

    May 11, 2012 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. toadears

    I don't care how many babies you stick on those things, but when you put yours on the front cover of a national magazine for Mother's Day, little Johnny's nursing habits are not your motivation. LOL Silly Yanks. It's the money. All about the money.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. The Doctor

    This is disgusting. It look likes incest to me....

    May 11, 2012 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JOnes

      Breastfeeding.... I bet your mom give you breast feeding when you were baby. As you look at this picture you say "Ewwwwww". Your mom did breast feed you. You can't say "EWWwwwww"/ You forgot about it.

      Either you jealous or never breastfeed it before.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
  40. MightyMoo

    Who cares, if she was raised that way till six years old then let her raise her kid that way. She obviously seems to be doing well in spite of this silly bit of attention to her parenting habits.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. mmmmmm

    I want in on that.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Milkdoesabodygood

    Is she adopting? I'm a 40 year old orphan.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GW

      LMAO.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:07 | Report abuse |
    • toadears

      You people who change your screen name to match the story kill me. LOL

      May 11, 2012 at 19:07 | Report abuse |
  43. The Doctor

    This seems to much like incest to me....

    May 11, 2012 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Kimberlee

    And furthermore...it's medically beneficial for the mother and child to breastfeed. My kids are 10, 7 and 4 and none of them have ever had an ear infection or strep throat! EVER!

    May 11, 2012 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GW

      Aren't you special.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:08 | Report abuse |
  45. Milkdoesabodygood

    Move over, little feller.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GW

      The kid doesn't have to move. I imagine that both are working.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:09 | Report abuse |
  46. twd

    Hot mom, happy viewers, well-fed boy. No problem.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. TOMG

    IS OKEY AS LONG AS THE MOTHER HAVE ENOUGH MILK TO FEED THEIR KIDS , AMEN .

    May 11, 2012 at 19:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. TB

    In a more philosophical sense, this picture is symbolic of what’s happening to western society, including, unfortunately, America; remaining at the government’s proverbial teet long past the time when we should be learning self reliance.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. shmama

    Does anyone remember when Time Magazine was a real news magazine? Reagan years... I believe. Trying to compete with celebrity rags is a tough and soulless business. What we're witnessing is the slow and painful death of print.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TB

      that's probably why they did this; to try and squeeze a little more life out of the publication before it dies altogether. When real journalism no longer sells magazines, take a page from the book of Jerry Springer.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:12 | Report abuse |
  50. crcka

    There's priests doing this with little boys all the time. I don't see what the big deal is. She breast feeds little boys, priests c0ckfeed little boys.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:10 | Report abuse | Reply
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