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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. Denny Turner

    Up until the age of two years the mothers milk is for the exclusive use of the infant. After that it's all for PAPA, lol.

    May 12, 2012 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Nermal

    My wife breastfed both of our kids. But not when they were age three. And I agree with Keith....when they can get something out for themselves, then get them off the boob. Even though he didn't say boob. It makes me wonder IF there is some selfish reason that a mother would does this age age three, four, etc: doesn't want to give up the special "bond"? She doesn't want to even though it may be time to wean the child? Additionally, an infant nursing is one thing, but what pleasure could there be for a mother when the child is three or four? Except a sick one (?). And skip the health/immune system reasoning at the toddler age – for an infant, yes.

    May 13, 2012 at 00:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Sabrina

    Oxymorin....THANK YOU!! You said it best.....some people feel they must shove their opinion (ex: breastfeeding) down people's throats. Bottom line is, we all have the wonderful freedom to do whatever is best of each one of us. This whole issue about the cover picture is blatantly sensationalism. No one in their right mind would feel it necessary to pose for such a pic. And like I said in my previous post....this child has no say what his mother chooses to do. But there will be repercussions, sad as that it is....that is just life. She is an adult and she made the decision to put it out there for all to see. There was no need for her to expose herself and him to make her point. I find that to be the saddest of all.

    May 13, 2012 at 01:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dee

      Breastfeeding is always best for a baby. And yes, sadly formula fed babies are the ones who suffer when their mother's make selfish decision not to breastfeed. They will never reach their full genetic potential if they are denied the one thing they are biologically designed to consume.

      May 13, 2012 at 10:31 | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Another thing, I think this mom was right in posing for this picture. Now many more people will research and see the benefits of extended breastfeeding, as there are many many studies showing the benefits of breastfeeding past infancy.

      May 13, 2012 at 10:45 | Report abuse |
    • skeptical

      Dee–implying that not breastfeeding is a selfish decision by mothers is very closed minded. Yeah, for some mothers it may be a choice of convenience, though formula isn't really that convenient. For a lot of mothers, it is a choice of necessity. Because of people that make statements like you, mothers with allergic children, mothers whose bodies are unable to make enough milk to feed their child, mothers who have to work to provide and are thus unable to keep up the breast feeding, have to endure even more guilt than the usual dose mothers get. Lay off. Everyone knows breastfeeding is best. You, however, don't know everyone's situation.

      May 13, 2012 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
    • Elena

      Skptical, I think Dee means Moms who have options to breast feed and choose not too because of the aches and pains and difficulties that comes with breastfeeding.

      May 13, 2012 at 20:31 | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      Dee Dee,

      I am all for breastfeeding. This story is not about breastfeeding vs bottle feeding, it's not about breastfeeding in public. It's about attachment parenting. In the story, the woman is still breastfeeding her 6 year old. This woman has trouble letting go and she is going to cause problems for her child later in life. I can see an Oedipus complex in his future – also see him single and still living with "mom" when he's 35 years old.

      May 13, 2012 at 21:50 | Report abuse |
  4. Lena

    In impoverished countries I would say that kids are breast fed until age five, but I bet my bottom dollar those mothers would strongly disapprove of this magazine cover.

    May 13, 2012 at 02:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • svann

      Most countries are not as prudish as the US.

      May 13, 2012 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
  5. mmi16

    It always amazes me that people get whacked out of shape for images of the human body doing what it was designed to do. Nursing is a mother and child decision – 1 month, 1 year or more...BFD!

    May 13, 2012 at 02:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dee

      Yes! I wonder how many of the women on here complaining wear low cut shirts or tiny bikini tops that show more of their assets than a nursing mother does? And I doubt any of the men on here complaining would look away from an attractive woman wearing something that shows off their breasts. But when a woman uses them for what they are meant for, then that's considered wrong. What a messed up society we live in.

      May 13, 2012 at 10:35 | Report abuse |
    • dee, ur illogical

      there is almost no research that shows the benefit of a child breastfeeding this late in the childs life.

      the mom's an idiot for doing this. this kid is in for a life of embarrassment and ridicule. she should have thought of that before posing on the cover.

      As for TIME magazine, a desperate ploy to try and stay relevant as paper magazine goes the way of the dodo.

      May 13, 2012 at 14:59 | Report abuse |
    • quacktaculaura

      dee ur illogical- There is also no research to show that there is any harm in breastfeeding that late in life, so who cares?

      May 13, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
  6. ivory

    funny how these same folks who shove breast feeding down our throats would tell you it's okay to have an abortion...

    May 13, 2012 at 02:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BeMine

      I hope your Mom fed you garbage as baby instead of the food perfectly designed for babies, because garbage is the only thing coming out now.

      May 13, 2012 at 09:37 | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      No, I guess it's best for a baby to be brought into this world to a self-centered parent who will gladly increase their child's chance of many diseases, including cancer, just as long as their not bothered with breastfeeding. Casuse we all know it's all about a mother's comfort, and not the child's health.

      May 13, 2012 at 10:37 | Report abuse |
    • OxyMoron

      Dee, you are doing MOMs a disservice by calling them selfish if they use formula. You have no idea what these women go through because of people like you. Your ignorance is showing.

      May 13, 2012 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      How can you say something like that????

      May 13, 2012 at 12:03 | Report abuse |
    • Elena

      Yep, lots of people think once you decide to bring the child to to this World, you better take care of him/her. Moms who breastfed or tried know how difficult and painful it is especially in the beginning. Takes lots of patience and willpower to do it

      May 13, 2012 at 20:36 | Report abuse |
  7. Antigone

    With all that humans do wrong: no exercise, over eat and eat processed junk, go to war, poison the planet why are we talking about this? I think it is only so TIME can sell magazines.
    This something that is right.

    May 13, 2012 at 07:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dee

      Because apparently out of all human faults, breastfeeding past infancy is disgusting and wrong. Even though we are biologically designed to be breastfed for the first 2-5 years of life. Let's be supportive of mother's who chose to risk their child's life by formula feeding, but look down on an unselfish mother who actually does what's best for her child. I guess since our society has become so "me" focused, we find it socially unacceptable when a parent actually puts their child ahead of themselves.

      May 13, 2012 at 10:52 | Report abuse |
  8. Nance

    I breastfed my second child until she was two. It was a lovely exepereince for both of us and she is a well-adjusted adult!

    May 13, 2012 at 09:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PumpNDump

      I suggest your report back to us when she's an actual adult and supporting herself before you claim success now. Lol

      May 13, 2012 at 10:34 | Report abuse |
  9. Thrisma

    The child in question and his mother were interviewed on a morning show and he was interfering and whiny, demanding his mother's attention. It would be in the best interest of the growing child to give him a cup and some boundaries. Children are very comfortable with loving and defined boundaries, they are changing so much in their growth the there is security in limits and not a whole lot in making him different by permitting this feeding method at this age.

    May 13, 2012 at 09:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BeMine

      Who made you the parenting police? I'm sure you'd love it if people shared their opinions on how you weren't parenting right. It's her family and her right and the child will grow up just fine.

      May 13, 2012 at 09:41 | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      You will never find a 3 year old who isn't clingy at times. And if you say your own kids at that age were never clingy then that's a flat out lie. Young kids cling to their parent's when their feeling bad, tired or scared. And if a kid doesn't for some reason, then that says more about the parent and not the kid. Any 3 year old who doesn't ever turn to their parents for comfort does not feel comfortable with their parent.

      May 13, 2012 at 10:40 | Report abuse |
    • EmilyC

      This reply is actually to Dee. Dee, get a grip! First of all, you keep making these crazy statements like, "a mother is risking her child's life" by not breast feeding. Secondly, on one of your previous posts, the word is they're not their when used in verb form. Their is an adjective. I guess breast feeding didn't do much for your brain as you have shown several times. I also love how you keep commenting as only a reply so nobody can reply back to you. That's convenient. Clearly breast feeding hasn't prevented you from becoming a neurotic weirdo.

      May 13, 2012 at 15:10 | Report abuse |
  10. Bree57

    I feel that breastfeeding is a natural, "private", personal thing. I, personally, am disgusted by the thought of a child past being an infant is breastfeeding, but Oh well...in the privacey of your own home...I surely don't want to see this in the public eye.

    May 13, 2012 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • erin

      And I, personally, am disgusted by your point of view. Oh well, to each their own. I'm not going to deny my infant child food while out and about just because you can't get your head out of your rear.

      May 13, 2012 at 19:23 | Report abuse |
  11. Dinosaur

    While I'm guessing extended breast feeding teaches the child dependency, it is the mother's decision to make. But I'm SO exhausted with all the ballyhoo about public breast feeding: Not around me unless you're willing to tolerate an equally natural act like peeing in a tin-can.

    May 13, 2012 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. PumpNDump

    Lets be VERY clear. Dr. William Sears has been entirely debunked and uses studies completely out of context. He's a liar and a shill. His son, Dr. Bob Sears, writes books against immunizations to make money also. They are bad children. NOTHING they promote is based on actual science. None of they write is peer reviewed or published in accreditted journals such as JAMA, The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine or with a major University Medical Center. They are not good for medicine.

    May 13, 2012 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • EMMA

      What Sears and Sons maybe extreme in what they are saying. But, their ideas do contain some truths.Maybe, you need to do a little research on the side against vaccines. Have you seen the study from Pittsburg where baby monkeys developed autism from our childrens vaccine schedule. Something IS wrong and most research against vaccine/ autism related ideas are usually backed from the pharma corps. Vaccines are great and needed-, but– 1 out of 88 kids are getting autism and it has boomed the last 20 years . It follows the same timeline of the vaccine schdule increase. People are just concentrating on one thing the mercury in the preservative. It's much more than that. We have caused problems with their immune systems with all the antigens and other things that are in the vaccine. PLUS its too many too soon. People need to wake up and see what is going on through all the lies.

      May 13, 2012 at 20:33 | Report abuse |
  13. PumpNDump

    The child in the photo who was on the cover of TIME Magazine is 4 years old and being breastfed. That's creepy.

    May 13, 2012 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. mandi langley

    I think it is just absurd that woman are breast feeding there children past infanticy. I am a breast feeding mother and I say no more than seven months should you breast feed. Past that age its just not right and I think that the parents that do breast feed past infantcy need to have their heads examined

    May 13, 2012 at 10:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dee

      Wow. So formula is better for a baby than breastfeeding? The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for AT LEAST 2 years. The AAP recommends at least 1 year. Ideally a baby should never have formula.

      May 13, 2012 at 10:42 | Report abuse |
    • erin

      mandi, have you never taken your child to a pediatrician? Because they will tell you that children should be breastfed until AT LEAST one year.

      May 13, 2012 at 19:21 | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      Screw you! There is NOTHING wrong to breast feed past seven months old. Everyone has the right to choose what is best for themselves and their children.

      May 14, 2012 at 00:25 | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      If you think mothers who breast feed past seven months should have their heads examine, you need one more urgently! That's such an insulting comment you made!

      May 14, 2012 at 00:28 | Report abuse |
  15. Mel

    Two has always been my cut-off for breastfeeding. At that point, I felt that my toddler was old enough to wean. Then came my most recent child. He has multiple medical issues, including a primary immunodeficiency disease. I continue to breastfeed him past two because it helps boost his faulty immune system. I am currently 37 weeks pregnant and I really am not keen on breastfeeding two at the same time but I do it for the benefit of my children. I hate how people refer to breastfeeding past two as a selfish and/or a borderline sexual act? by the mother. For many, it is the exact opposite. We do it because we believe that is best for our children, in our situation.

    May 13, 2012 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dee

      A child's immune system isn't fully developed before the age of four, so breastfeeding past two is highly recommended. Congrats to you for doing what's best for your child, and not letting uneducated, ignorant people get you down 🙂

      May 13, 2012 at 10:44 | Report abuse |
    • dx2718

      I'm super-impressed that you managed to get pregnant while breast feeding, continued to breast feed while pregnant, and wish you the best luck in continuing to breast feed both your children! I think the composition of the milk may change a bit when the new one is born, though, so your older one may wean at that point – or you may need to supplement him with a bit more other food while your baby is little.

      May 13, 2012 at 21:08 | Report abuse |
  16. Dee

    Children who nurse the longest score highest on IQ tests. Maybe for one person that doesn't seem like much, but if we could increase the average intelligence of an entire society, then that's prety significant.

    Now lets here ignorant comments from all the parent's who's formula fed babies turned out to be geniuses...

    May 13, 2012 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rhia

      I think you meant hear not here. Just saying.

      May 13, 2012 at 11:41 | Report abuse |
    • Jessie And

      Can you please cite your test?

      I happen to have been Formula Fed and my IQ is 147, much higher than average. I also speak 4 languages and attend an Ivy League school.

      Once again, before you run your mouth, you might want to cite your sources.

      Thanks.

      May 13, 2012 at 12:35 | Report abuse |
    • Maryanne

      Were you breastfed? You seem to have a hard time with spelling.

      May 13, 2012 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
    • Rhia

      I read that study, the difference in IQ is just a few points. As in five. This study was published in the October edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was performed by University of Kentucky nutritionist James Anderson. However it has been debunked (http://www.halfsigma.com/2007/11/breastfeeding-d.html) See I can cite your sources and my own. 🙂

      May 13, 2012 at 13:32 | Report abuse |
    • EmilyC

      Yeah, um, it's hear, not here. Were you breast fed? If you were, I suggest you stop posting as you are disproving your own argument.

      May 13, 2012 at 15:15 | Report abuse |
    • Bonnieblue

      Let’s see. 100% of the population since time began were breastfed.....For all those thousands of years of breastfed children, millions died from plagues, malnutrition, influenza, colds, pneumonia and bacterial infections. For all of those thousands of years until the last century, people had IQ’s that had most testing in at the range below 80. It is weird how breastfeeding is being treated as though it is a new concept that has wondrous and yet previously unknown properties than what it really is. It is the means to feed your child when they do not have teeth or unable to feed themselves. The purpose and need disappears once you take into account that regardless of how much you want to stay attached to your kids, unless they become needy and unable to fend for themselves, they will still grow up and leave home. I think some geniuses tend to call that transition growing up and becoming “independent”. Now that is the natural course of your child’s life.

      May 13, 2012 at 22:02 | Report abuse |
  17. Rhia

    I am all for breastfeeding up to the age of 1. And I know that breastfeeding is best. However, all the people who say that formula feeding is wrong have no idea of hardships that can happen. I have a four month old who is formula fed but not for lack of me trying to breastfeed. My son has a milk protein allergy, he can not digest milk protein. I tried cutting milk and soy out of my diet and could not produce enough milk to feed him. (Milk is in EVERYTHING) I had to put him on formula. We tried hydrolyzed formula (which has milk protein in it but in small. broken down amounts) and we tried soy. The only formula he can handle is an amino acid formula. I wanted to breastfeed for a year. I am doing whats best for my son. I am sick of people trying to tell me that I'm not doing whats best for him by not breastfeeding. Just once I would like to see an article that highlights formula feeding instead of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding may be natural, but it's not easy for everyone and impossible for some.

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

    When possible (and in most cases it IS possible, though not all) human milk is ideal for babies and toddlers. Milk is full of nutrients, brain building specialized long chain fatty acids, and immune system boosters. Children are not done growing their brains or immune systems till 5 – 6.... that's reality.... Milk does not stop being beneficial because a child can walk, or even talk....If a mother is willing and able to give he child this awesome benefit, good for her. If she cant, do the best she can. If it bugs others, they can look away/ignore it...

    May 13, 2012 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Emily

      Very well said. I totally agree with you!

      May 14, 2012 at 00:38 | Report abuse |
  19. Deist

    SNL handled this foolishness perfectly last night.

    May 13, 2012 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Martha

    Do they breast feed for the bonding or for the dependence of the child? I read that one reason women breast feed is to lose the baby wt. I don't know if that is true or not. There are many, many ways to bond with your baby. Try reading a book, taking a walk in the park, eat an ice cream cone or watching him play a game, teach him to ride a bike. Breast feeding until she was six does not sound right bonding or not. That 3 yrs old should be eating fruit, good solid food or maybe just a cookie for a snack. I think this woman is using her child for her own enjoyment not for bonding. If a child has not bonded with their parents by three something else is wrong. How much money was this woman paid for the picture and the cover of Time?

    May 13, 2012 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Amy

    There's some rough comments on here, but im going to go even worse. Any mother who can breastfeed but does not, is not worthy to be a parent. If you're not willing to love another human being more than you love yourself, then don't reproduce. There is no justification, enough studies prove the lifelong benefits beastfeeding offers, for both mother and baby. Breast cancer rates are much higher in women who don't breastfeed, I guess that's natures way of payback huh? All you women who would literally risk your child's life so you are not inconvienced with breastfeeding, deserve higher rates of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers. Sound harsh? Well so is increasing your childs chance of mortality, obesity, cancers, and diabetes by formula feeding.

    May 13, 2012 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • EmilyC

      Would you agree that most Americans are now breast fed and have been for years now? If you do, then how do you expain the ever growing waistline of the average American? Might want to think that obesity one through. Can you please cite where you got that study from? I have never seen it.

      May 13, 2012 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
    • Lydia

      Actually, Emily, the obesity you are seeing in American society right now is the logical result of formula use. Look at the ingredients in a can of formula. For example, Similac Sensitive Early Shield powder contains: Corn Syrup Solids, Sugar (Sucrose), Milk Protein Isolate, High Oleic Safflower Oil, Soy Oil, Coconut Oil, Galactooligosaccharides. (All other ingredients are less than 2%). That's sugar, sugar, dairy solids, fat, fat, fat, and then pre-biotics. Yummy!!
      During the Baby Boom, due to marketing pitching formula as the "scientific" choice, infants were almost exclusively fed formula. You would really have to search to find a breastfeeding mother. Even today, only 35% of American infants are breastfed exclusively at 3 months (Source: http://www.savethechildrenweb.org/SOWM2012Interactive/SOWM2012_2/index.html#). That means 65% of our babies are having sugar and fat dumped down their throats 8 times daily. No wonder they are obese.

      May 13, 2012 at 15:49 | Report abuse |
    • erin

      Emily, most Americans are NOT breastfed (not for at least a year as recommended by doctors). That's the problem.

      May 13, 2012 at 19:18 | Report abuse |
    • erin

      and Amy, you have problems

      May 13, 2012 at 19:19 | Report abuse |
    • TwinMommy

      I breasted my first child until she was 7 months old. When she was 3 yrs old I had twins 7 week premature, at a hospital located 1hr20min away from my home. At that time, my husband was working 90 hours/week. I made the agonizing choice not to breastfeed them simply because I did not feel I could: express milk every two hours, commute to see the twins in the NICU daily and take care of my 3 year old, while still maintaining my sanity. This was not a selfish decision – the special formula they required cost $20 for a small can. Breastfeeding would have cost me nothing. Both my twins are intelligent, articulate 9 year old kids with no more illness than the average cold or GI bug. So, Amy, I'm not worthy of being a parent?

      May 13, 2012 at 19:55 | Report abuse |
    • Leslie Loves Nails

      Amy, I would have to say that anyone who is as judgmental as you seem to be of someone whose opinion differs from your own is far less a worthy parent than one who is accepting of others actions/beliefs whether or not they breast feed. What happens when your child does something you don't agree with as they get older? Will you disown them or otherwise shun them as a result? To breast feed or not is a decision that every woman makes for herself and should not be judged by ANYONE as a result of whatever decision she makes for herself and her child. While I appreciate the fact that you might like to nurse your children until they leave home for college, that doesn't mean that everyone else does or should. Stop trying to beat society to death with your milk-laden breasts.

      May 13, 2012 at 22:14 | Report abuse |
    • OxyMoron

      Lydia, though you are correct in the ingredients of SIMSensitive, you are not familiar with it's use. It is used when breast milk and/or formula are not tolerated. I have used it quiet a bit and have seen infants thrive on it when other things did not only upset an infant's tummy, but they failed to thrive.

      Some MOMs do not breastfeed because they may be on medications that are harmful to the infant. That is being a responsible MOM. Food for thought.

      May 13, 2012 at 22:55 | Report abuse |
    • KD

      Amy,
      You too are another ignorant moron who should've thought twice before posting your insulting comment! Go to "S" on page 2 and you'll see my response to that wench! Same goes for you!!!! You, hoping the formula feeding mothers get cancer!?!?! YOU ARE SICK and IN NEED OF HELP!!!! God help your children and your husband, if you even have one, for saying such things and having to live with you!. You're right, Karma is a b!tch, esp to people who hope others become ill because they don't " do what's best for their children"!

      May 14, 2012 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
  22. valibrarian

    We are asking the wrong question here. the number of american mothers who breastfeed beyond age 1 is tiny. The real issue is the number of american mothers who breastfeed beyond day 1 is also relatively small. Medical science has been asserting the nutritional value of breastfeeding for decades, but it is not happening. It's a shame, because there are lots of obese children under the age of 6 in the USA. They did not get there on breast milk.
    So fine, breastfeeding a 3 year old seems a bit odd to me, but I have no wish to make a federal case out of it. Let's change the subject and talk about the BENEFITS of breast feeding!

    May 13, 2012 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Jeanie

    Dee, What are your credentials that validate the many posts you have made. Pls supply a foot note for statements such as "children who are breastfed had higher IQ" My two eldest were not breastfed – one is a doctor and another has PhD in microbiology. I think this debunks your IQ statement. I think if a child can drink out of a cup, he is too old to breast feed. If she wants him to have breast milk, pump.

    May 13, 2012 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mel

      Just like some people cannot breastfeed...some breastfeeding moms cannot pump. It doesn't work for everyone.

      May 13, 2012 at 12:58 | Report abuse |
    • dx2718

      Anecdotal evidence does not prove or disprove anything. In order to identify a trend you need a LARGE sample size – not two from the same family. It is possible that, if your children were breast-fed, they would have been even smarter than they are now, and the smarts they have now are due to other factors. It's also possible that formula/milk makes no difference for kids that are already smart. It's even possible that formula makes kids smarter (though evidence says otherwise), but in any of these case, you cannot draw a conclusion from the fact that your formula-fed kids are smarter than average.

      May 13, 2012 at 21:24 | Report abuse |
  24. Mel

    A mom should do everything in their power for the benefit and wellbeing of their child. That is what being a mom is all about. In some cases, it is formula feeding, breastfeeding or both. Sometimes it is breastfeeding for 4 weeks and sometimes it is four years. Every situation is individualized and personal and nobody has the right to judge. Just saying (:

    May 13, 2012 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lynn

      You can give your child benefit of breastmilk WITHOUT breastfeeding for 4 plus yrs. That's why pumps were made and breastmilk freezes well. Has this woman ever traveled without her child in 4 yrs? What did she do then?

      May 13, 2012 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
    • erin

      No, lynn, that's not why pumps were invented. Are you a Medela rep or something?

      May 13, 2012 at 19:16 | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      Lynn, like I posted above...Just like some people cannot breastfeed...some breastfeeding moms cannot pump. It doesn't work for everyone.

      May 13, 2012 at 19:54 | Report abuse |
    • dx2718

      Pumped milk is not as good as direct-from-the-breast. The milk starts to disintegrate the moment it is expressed. The live bacteria and antibodies die and the milk gets sour over time. Furthermore, expressed milk is mixed all together whereas milk-from-the-breast changes from the beginning of nursing (foremilk) to the end (hindmilk). Breast milk is better than formula, and direct-from-the-breast is better than expressed breast milk in a bottle. That's for the baby. For the mom (and I speak from experience), pumping can be painful, does not stimulate supply like a baby nursing, and is very wasteful because you use a lot of water and soap cleaning all the pump equipment and bottles. It also takes twice as much time because you need to spend time pumping & washing and THEN feeding, as opposed to just feeding. If your only argument why children shouldn't be fed directly from the breast is that you think it's "yucky" then you should grow up a little and stop being disgusted by the things nature intended.

      May 13, 2012 at 21:30 | Report abuse |
  25. Jeanie

    Amy, it is really unsettling that you would wish disease and illness on a woman who did not breatfeed. I think you have some serious issues. Try some long-term therapy.

    May 13, 2012 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dx2718

      She's not wishing disease on them, she's saying they're wishing disease on themselves, because rates of various kinds of cancer decrease for a woman who has breast fed their children versus one who has not.

      May 13, 2012 at 21:33 | Report abuse |
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    May 13, 2012 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Gayle Collins

    what bothers me is that the mom and the time used this for a front page pic....in a time when bullying is so common you don't think this boy is not gonna feel the repercussions from a picture like this???? and the razzing he'll endure from all his buddies as he ages. Shame on you both for altering what his future may have been by bring this to the front page.

    May 13, 2012 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. steve

    HHmmm.....Why not indulge all natural urges? Forget about that old Oedipus! What did he know, anyway?

    May 13, 2012 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. twang

    Breast feeding a three or four yearold is sex abuse

    May 13, 2012 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mel

      Only if the intent is for sexual gratification

      May 13, 2012 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
    • erin

      twang, your're an idiot

      May 13, 2012 at 19:15 | Report abuse |
  30. PumpNDump

    Lets be VERY clear. Dr. William Sears has been entirely debunked and uses ACTUAL peer reviewed studies (Which he has nothing to do with) completely out of context. He's a liar and a shill. His son, Dr. Bob Sears, writes books against immunizations to make money also. They are bad fpr children. NOTHING they promote is based on actual science. None of they write is peer reviewed or published in accreditted journals such as JAMA, The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine or with a major University Medical Center. They are not good for medicine. Dr. Sears and his children have NEVER engaged in an actual scientific, peer reviewed study with test and control groups. Their entire premise is to sell books and promote "opinions" with no substance to support them and no actual data. The AAP, America Academy of Pediatrics, visibly distanced themselves from these circus clowns.

    http://ideas.time.com/2012/05/10/the-science-behind-dr-sears-does-it-stand-up/

    Obviously, Jamie Lynne Grumet, isn't very bright or literate. It's creepy to breastfeed a 4 year old. This is MUCH more about here, and money, than being a good mother. A good mother doesn't breastfeed a 4-year old.

    May 13, 2012 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Dr. Eric Bakker ND

    Breastmilk is much more than just a food. Besides it's the best nutrition for a growing baby, it supplies the factors needed to develop the immune system. Breastmilk contains several elements that protect baby against bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. The immunology of breastmilk is quite amazing.
    There are several discussions between health professionals. A part of them believe that baby gets no benefit from breastmilk after they are SIX MONTHS OLD. BUT there are some researches proving that, long-term breastfeeding and natural weaning (letting your child decide when to wean) is the healthiest way and builds a HEALTHY immune system.

    May 13, 2012 at 13:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Gayle Collins

    here's another thing... when a picture like this is taken it is shot to SHOCK people and SELL magazines. It is not shot in good taste with the hopes of changing peoples minds about breast feeding. So for all you people who are coming down on the people who are SHOCKED we are just responding in the way that the TIME had intended for us to respond.

    May 13, 2012 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. leo

    I think is good! thats why the security service traveled to Colombia!

    May 13, 2012 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. annebeth

    I do not understand all of the "judgement" made about feeding your child. If a mother wants to use formula or wants to do breastfeeding, then that is a choice that she and only she should make. If she wants to breast feed the child to whatever age she wishes, then that is still her choice. If she wishes to breastfeed in public or private, guess what, that is still her choice. As far as I am concerned it is none of my business and doesn't bother me what ever that choice may be.

    May 13, 2012 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dx2718

      Do you have health insurance and pay premiums? If so, then what mothers feed their kids is your concern, because if it affects the kids' health (and it does), it affects their health care costs, which affects your health insurance costs. That goes for breast/ milk/formula, fast/fresh food, everything.

      May 13, 2012 at 21:36 | Report abuse |
  35. Karla

    Yes- Saturday Night Live got it right. And does anyone else think this kid has a sort of smirky look as he stares right at the camera ?

    May 13, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lynn

      Where is dad in this whole debate? Guess mom was breastfeed for yrs but what about dad and his upbringing? She could pump and give him milk if she really is doing it for his health. IMO she cannot let go and he will suffer for putting his name/face out there on national magazine.

      May 13, 2012 at 16:05 | Report abuse |
  36. lynn

    Let's separate breastfeeding and breast milk conversations. Of course breast milk is best for baby, but that can be done without breastfeeding past age 1. If these moms are working outside of home they are pumping sometime during the day. Their child is most likely in daycare and they are only being nursed at night-more of a thing for moms who can't let go than little Johnny who is becoming independent away from home. I breastfeed both kids until age one. Once they got teeth, and had diff time focusing long enough to eat, I switched to formula for one month than whole milk. They both are very healthy and are indep. young adults. Our time to bond was rdg bedtime stories every night, family dinners, occas. sleeping in our bed if they had nightmares. I didn't need them latched on at age 4 to help them feel secure and loved. Let the kids grow up and move on moms. Why not pump and give them breast milk at home? Will you breastfeed at 5 and have little Johnny get off school bus and run in house to latch on?

    May 13, 2012 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • erin

      Lynn, did you ever pump? Because it is NOT FUN. Some of us choose to or have to go back to work at 1 year (or much earlier), but many do not. Why exactly do you think mothers need to pump instead of feed their children directly? Because that's what you did?

      May 13, 2012 at 19:13 | Report abuse |
    • dx2718

      lynn, there are lots of reasons why feeding kids directly rather than pumping is better, when possible.
      First of all, breast milk changes composition as it's sucked; the first milk, called "foremilk," is watery and quenches thirst, and then the "hindmilk" which is richer and comes later satisfies hunger and signals fullness. When you express milk, it all gets mixed together.
      Second, pumping is a pain, literally and figuratively. It's wasteful because you have to wash everything and it takes a lot of time. It also HURTS.
      Third, pumping just doesn't stimulate supply like direct breast-feeding. Most moms who pump and bottle-feed can't keep up with their kids and end up having to supplement with formula or other things.

      May 13, 2012 at 21:39 | Report abuse |
  37. Mary Burnham

    Let's talk about this cover. Of course, breast feeding is good & healthy for your child, but.....look at the pose on the cover. This is no Madonna suckling her babe, but looks like a fashion model looking straight at the camera & us. She is neither fondling not looking at her child. To me it looks like a LACK of attachment.

    May 13, 2012 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Sue

    While breastfeeding past 2 years of age seems a bit much to me, there are millions of children who are sexually, physically and emotionally abused every year and there are 400,000 children in the foster care system in the US, many of whom are sexually, physically and emotionally abused in the foster care system. How much press coverage does that get? How much public outcry is there over that?

    May 13, 2012 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rhonda

      @ Sue. Good post. Interview the hardened criminals in an prison and ask how many of them were breast fed.

      May 13, 2012 at 18:28 | Report abuse |
  39. Bob

    Every three-year old should know that Oreos taste better with COLD milk...

    May 13, 2012 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. mac101

    Sorry, this has nothing to do with what is best for the child, and everything to do with what is best for the mother. As far as I'm concerned, this mother chose to exploit her child for atta-girls, and Time Magazine didn't bother to ask if this was an appropriate photo for a child of 3.

    It isn't.

    According to Erickson, the appropriate developmental task of children aged 18 months-3 years is autonomy (vs. shame and doubt.) The appropriate developmental task of children aged 3-5 is initiative (vs. guilt.) Allowing a child to breast feed at age 3 and beyond is not going to help a child learn to delay gratification, or learn to cope with emotional distress; instead, it will promote dependence, instant gratification, and low self-esteem. Not promoting self-sufficiency in a three-year old is more than just irresponsible parenting, it is ultimately damaging to the child.

    And putting his picture on the cover of a national magazine without bothering to consider how it could negatively affect the child in years to come is about the mother's narcissism and the magazine's need to sell more magazines.

    That isn't good parenting, that is exploitation.

    May 13, 2012 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. newsqueen123

    Breastfeeding BABIES is good. Breastfeeding TODDLERS and PRESCHOOLERS not so much. If you can remember being breastfed, you were breastfed too long. This makes me think of Bitty on Little Britain. Ugh!

    May 13, 2012 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Rhonda

    I would bet money that any child who is breast fed beyond 1 and 2, will not end up with emotional issues, and will not end up a criminal.

    May 13, 2012 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Jt_flyer

    Very creepy.

    May 13, 2012 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Rhonda

    Interview the hardened criminals in any prison and ask how many of them were breast fed.

    May 13, 2012 at 18:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. erin

    This country is SO MESSED UP when it comes to breastfeeding!! The formula industry sure did its job on our psyche's in the '50s, didn't it? 13 years old – yeah, that's probably too old. Other than that, it's none of your f-ing business! Human infants (and toddlers) are designed to consume their mother's milk, not a powder of chemicals put together by a conglomerate. It's a health issue, people, don't you get it???

    May 13, 2012 at 19:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Joyce

    I find this cover disturbing, not because of any problem I have with breastfeeding....but this photograph depicts something far from the reality of breastfeeding, even when the child is three. This mother stands with her hands on her hips, looking at the camera, and the child's focus is on the camera as well. I would hope this isn't the norm for these two....that she doesn't stand up while doing something else, while junior hops on a chair to latch on.

    The boy certainly doesn't need the nutrition at this point, so what exactly is going on here? I've heard of women who breastfeed for the comfort of their child, maybe before bed or nap time....and it is a private thing, where the child is on mom's lap being cuddled. But allowing yourself to be photographed like this is a grotesque way to portray breastfeeding.

    May 13, 2012 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. msk

    I am a female. I have no children. I was breast fed and weaned when I could handle the food. I don't care how long anyone breast feeds and feel I have no right to comment.

    But I REALLY hate having this thrust in my face by a major news magazine. The photo seems very sleazy and more tabloid-like and will not in any way make me buy the magazine.

    I also feel incredibly sorry for this child, who will have to live with this for his whole life.

    Personally, the way it appears to me, makes me feel this is more for the mothers' benefit than the childrens who could just as easily be eating real food at this stage and should be learning to chew and digest.

    May 13, 2012 at 20:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Desdemone

    So, what did you decide, should I continue to breastfeed my 4 year old or should I stop. Please let me know ASAP! Thank you! 😀

    May 13, 2012 at 20:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Mohammad Aslam

    The Creator (God) informs us the age limit of breast feeding.

    "The mothers shall give suck to their children for two whole years, (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling . . ."
    Koran [Chapter:al-Baqarah 2:233]

    May 13, 2012 at 21:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Manny

    of course breast feeding a "baby is what should be done in as far as really having an emotional connection with your child but If a two or three year old child can ask for a cookie he or she can also ask for a glass of milk!!!!

    May 13, 2012 at 21:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mel

      ...and milk from a cow is better for a child than milk from a human?

      May 13, 2012 at 22:10 | Report abuse |
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.