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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. terry

    If the kid is old enough to remember it when he/she grows up – then, for crying out loud, the kid was too old !!!

    May 11, 2012 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DAPPER DON

      WHY IS IT THAT AMERICANS ALWAYS THINK THAT OUR WAY IS THE BEST WAY. SURE, QUIT BREAST FEEDING AFTER 6 MONTHS AND THEN SWITCH TO FORMULA AND PROCESSED BABY FOOD...AND WONDER WHY OUR KIDS ARE SO OBESE.
      YOU NEED ONLY TO LOOK AT EUROPE AND ESPECIALLY SO CALLED THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES WHERE CHILDREN ARE ROUTINELY BREAST FED PAST 2 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER....YOU DON'T SEE A LOT OF OBESE KIDS.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:53 | Report abuse |
    • Hah

      DAPPERDON,
      Your hypothesis is that breast feeding leads to a non-obese population. I'd love to see that data on that study. The main reason this country is obese is because of overeating, eating high fat/sugary content foods, and a lack of regular exercise. Notice that breast feeding is not one of the things I listed, because...it's not a component of obesity.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:00 | Report abuse |
    • Michael M.

      Hey Dapper Don...

      The UK has the same childhood obesity rate as the United States these days, and the rate in the states is declining among children.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:00 | Report abuse |
    • ionymous

      Why? What does memory have to do with it? If the child remembers being diapered then was he diapered too long? If the the child remembers baby toys then did he play with baby toys too long?
      I think people are equating breasts with sex. I can't explain why I like a handful of breast during sex, but I certainly didn't think that way when I was 3... or 4 or 5.
      If you're having sexual thoughts when you see a mother and child breastfeeding you should seek counseling.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:01 | Report abuse |
    • kdf

      um, you do not have to give them formula or processed foods! You can give them water and organically homemade foods for babies... this also keeps them healthy. There is zero benefit for breastfeeding your kid past 3 months.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:03 | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      This is taken directly from the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/BreastFeeding/

      Childhood obesity is an epidemic. In the US, 1 preschooler in 5 is at least overweight, and half of these are obese. Breastfeeding helps protect against childhood obesity. A baby's risk of becoming an overweight child goes down with each month of breastfeeding. In the US, most babies start breastfeeding, but within the first week, half have already been given formula, and by 9 months, only 31% of babies are breastfeeding at all. Hospitals can either help or hinder mothers and babies as they begin to breastfeed. The Baby- Friendly Hospital Initiative describes Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding that have been shown to increase breastfeeding rates by providing support to mothers. Unfortunately, most US hospitals do not fully support breastfeeding; they should do more to make sure mothers can start and continue breastfeeding.

      It appears that studies done through the CDC are finding a statistically significant link between breastfeeding / formula and childhood obesity.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:17 | Report abuse |
    • Double R

      @kdf

      How can you say breastfeeding has zero benefit after three months? Read the article below and you'll not only the benefits of breastmilk on the baby, but how breastfeeding also benefits the mother.

      http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/why-breastfeeding-is-important/

      Breastfeeding is the best thing you could ever do for your child. It stimulates brain growth. My children were both breastfed by my wife past the age of 1. Our doctors are always incredibly surprised by how intelligent our children are for their age. Not only that they have had very few health problems. In fact, my son never got sick until the time my wife stopped breastfeeding him. I urge all soon to be mothers to breastfeed your babies. No formula could ever compare to the nutritional and developmental qualities of breastmilk.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
    • ionymous

      @kdf – Did you breastfeed your child(ren)? Did you stop at 3 months? Are you wanting to justify your decisions? Just because it didn't work for you doesn't mean other people should fall back to your standards.
      Breastfeeding absolutely DOES have benefits after 3 months. Even if it somehow had no nutritional benefits there are huge emotional and bonding benefits.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
    • Dad from Denver

      Wow! Absolutely zero benefit? Where did you go to medical school? Most studies show immunological benefits decrease from about six months onwards. And again, most studies show few immunological benefits beyond the first year of life. There is some evidence of lower risk of allergy and gastrointestinal disease later in life from extended breastfeeding. But it is clear that there are significant immunological benefits from early breastfeeding, with those benefits decreasing, but (in some studies) still present through the first year.

      Nutritionally, exclusive breastfeeding through six months appears to be clearly the best option. Some studies (and some anthropological studies) do show benefits from early introduction (three months) of some fruits and vegetables. It is untrue, and potentially dangerous, to think that all of a three-month old's nutritional needs can be met through "organic homemade food". Three month old infants still need nutrients and minerals found either in breastmilk or formula, with breastmilk being the better option. By six months, more foods can be introduced, but babies will still need nutritional supplementation from either breastmilk or formula almost through the first year. (Some cultures, notably Scandinavian countries, introduce cow's milk at around ten months.

      Please think twice before posting wild, potentially dangerous, advice, in clear contradiction to standard advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics. While I would be among the first to say that the AAP is not always right, their advice is generally conservative and generally safe. Deviating from their advice should be done from a very well-educated point of view.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:31 | Report abuse |
  2. fangpi

    I feel sorry for the kid on the cover. That picture will come back to haunt him when he's older. Hopefully the extra breast feeding will make him really big and really strong so he doesn't spend his junior high and high school years getting beat up all the time.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Phyl

      yeppers...I fully agree...LOT'S of teasing and bulling!!! Just saying...

      May 11, 2012 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
  3. Mom Craves Attention

    That kid will be in therapy before he's 10. Maybe he can sit on mommy's lap while he talks to the doc?

    May 11, 2012 at 10:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ionymous

      Actually your formula fed baby will be in therapy! HAHAHA!!! Nestle wins!

      May 11, 2012 at 11:02 | Report abuse |
  4. Baby Nurse

    I am amazed at some of the remarks made on all the blogs, etc. Having worked with infants and children for over 35 years the recommendations have always been to breast feed for at least 6 months. Although that's a recommendation it always depends on who you listen to. There are always people who think their way is best and it is, for them. When a child can lift your shirt and look for the breast it's time to wean. Often times it's more for the mother than the child. When they start to eat regular foods and are over a year it's no longer for nutrition. If you want to breast feed beyond that it's fine but don't flaunt it, do it in public or tout that it's the right thing to do, it's not. When the WHO states to breast feed until age 2 it's saying that because of so many poor countries that this is the only nutrition these children will get. I also hate the push of so many women today that put a guilt trip on the women who choose not to breast feed. Baby formula has come a long way and is very close to mother's milk. My grandaughter was breastfed and she was sick all the time so that theory goes out the window. This will always be a contentious topic. Time just wants to sell magazines and stir the pot.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • julie

      Dear Baby Nurse,

      I love that you start to take the high road :"There are always people who think their way is best and it is, for them." and then go right into what you deem is appropriate.

      Since breastmilk does not lose it's nutrional value, breast feeding until the child is older is not an issue. Babies (and kids) still gain benefits from mom's milk past the age of one.

      I follow this rule: Do whatever the heck works best for you and your family and mind your own business on what other folks do.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:43 | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      I agree Julie. Able to lift your shirt and find your breast? Both my kids had the dexterity to do that at two months old! You can't have been around that many babies.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:54 | Report abuse |
    • Sylvia

      Baby Nurse, thanks for your thoughtful post. I'm going to send it on to my family because I have 7 grandchildren and we have been discussing this very issue. We have found that when a child gets to be 2+ years old and is still breast feeding often, it is much harder to wean them than earlier so it can continue even after the mother wants it to taper off.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:01 | Report abuse |
    • Jo Ann

      So your granddaughter was breastfed and still got sick? What does an n of 1 prove? When the benefits of breastfeeding are examined, there is very clear evidence (not just a theory) that, as a category, breastfed kids get sick less often than formula fed babies. Of course, some formula fed babies never get sick and some breast fed babies get sick a lot, but that doesn't change the overall trend. When you look at hundreds of breastfed babies and hundredds of formula fed infants, the former will have fewer illnesses than the latter. Your argument is akin to the one where someone says smoking isn't bad for you because he or she smoked until age 90 and stayed healthy; do you really think that negates the overall risk? How do you know that your granddaughter wouldn't have been even sicker if she had been on formula?

      Having said all that, I think that the evidence shows babies up to age one or MAYBE two tend to be healthier; I don't know that there is much evidence of a medical advantage after that. I would not condemn a mother for nursing a little longer if she has feels strongly about it, especially since it is commonly done around the world. However, I agree with the posters who suggest that it should be a private event at that point, to prevent the kind of negative public reaction the toddler would encounter in this country.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:06 | Report abuse |
    • Baby Nurse got it right

      Either you're doing it for the baby or you're doing it for your own comfort... Or maybe you just like the fact that your A/B cups are now C/D cups? It's time to give them a rest...

      May 11, 2012 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
    • yankee red

      Dear baby nurse--although I agree with alot of what you say, I think it is very shocking that you say formula is very close to breastmilk. That would be like me taking one step forward and saying I am closer to China. I may be closer but I am NOWHERE NEAR being there. Same with formula, it in no way is even close to be able to duplicate what is in mothers milk.....respond more responsibly as a health care professional next time please.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Baby Nurse –

      While I can respect your training and experience, how can you account for the CDC's most recent studies and findings for the following:

      Breastfeeding helps protect against childhood obesity and other illnesses, and lowers medical costs.

      The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies be fed nothing but breast milk for about the first 6 months and continue breastfeeding for at least 1 year.
      Babies who are fed formula and stop breastfeeding early have higher risks of obesity, diabetes, respiratory and ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and tend to require more doctor visits, hospitalizations, and prescriptions.

      Low rates of breastfeeding add $2.2 billion a year to medical costs.

      Mothers who breastfeed have lower risks of breast and ovarian cancers.

      Hospitals should do more to help mothers start and continue breastfeeding.

      Hospitals that wait to start the first breastfeed, or separate babies from mothers, or routinely give formula to breastfeeding babies make it harder for mothers and babies to be able to breastfeed.

      When hospitals support mothers to feed their babies only breast milk, it helps mothers to continue feeding only breast milk at home.

      Baby-Friendly hospitals make special efforts to support mothers to breastfeed.

      The World Health Organization/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, recognizes hospitals that follow the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

      When hospitals have more of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding in place, mothers breastfeed longer.

      This is directly from the CDC website – http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/BreastFeeding/

      May 11, 2012 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
    • Baby Nurse

      You all have your opinion and statistics and that's great. I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say. When I started working with kids in the early 70's breastfeeding wasn't as popular as it is now and kids had no more illnesses then that they do now. I am definitely a proponent of breastfeeding and have helped many young moms continue to breastfeed when they were ready to quit. MY opinion is that the stats are always driven by what is popular. I work with kids birth to free and don't see any significant difference in health whether they are breast fed or bottle fed. I bottle fed one child and breast fed the other and both were extremely healthy. My issue is with many women making other new moms who don't breast feed or continue breast feeding to feel guilty that they aren't doing the best for their baby. Is breast feeding best, yes but it's not for everyone and those kids who don't breast feed are usually very healthy.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
  5. terry

    Does anyone else find it strange that the mom in this picture dresses her kid in soldier pants and breast feeding the kid?

    May 11, 2012 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Phyl

      i noticed the same thing..."Go play soldiers little Johnny and then come back for lunch"..REALLY!!??

      May 11, 2012 at 11:06 | Report abuse |
  6. Kay

    When they start to teeth or get their first tooth then it's time to get off the breast. Sure, you can still pump and they can drink breast milk from a bottle or sippy but they should physically get off the breast. It's just weird, icky and unnecessary.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • e

      It's not icky to breastfeed after a kid has teeth. Some babies are born with teeth. I don't know everything, but I can say that breastfeeding creates a bond with your baby. Not a dependency. Babies are dependent on their parents whether they're breastfed or formula fed. I think it's every mother's choice. My son stopped wanting to breastfeed at 12 months, he was ready for sippy cups and straws, so that's what we did. Some children are not. All of them are unique and develop at their own pace. Not all mothers know what's best for their children, but most of us do the best we can. She made her choice, and it's her's to make.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:43 | Report abuse |
    • Lucy

      My daughter was born with 2 teeth, so I should have never breast fed her at all?? I don't think that it a logical statement

      May 11, 2012 at 10:49 | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      I nursed my son and it was challenging for both of us when the time came to wean him off. Women choose to or refuse to nurse for various reasons. Nursing does cultivate a special bond between mother and child; I believe the some mothers may feel like that bond will weaken once the nursing stops. The child doesn't need you in quite the same way. I don't think that nursing a child past the age of 2 is healthy. It may be nutritionally beneficial for child but it could very well create emotional and social developmental challenges. It is likely that breast milk is still the best source of nutrition for the child if the mother is eating healthy. Nursing is no longer the most effecient means to provide this resource when the child can feed himself and then request the breast. Too much of a good thing–makes the good thing a bad thing.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
    • stopthehating

      seriously....when they get teeth? my daughter got teeth at 12 weeks old. it took at whole 2 nursing sessions to teach her that she shouldn't bite down and then it was over. who are you to designate a time to stop. It should be when each individual mother wants to!

      May 11, 2012 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
  7. angie

    I wonder how she'd feel if her husband still went over to mommy's house for this type of bonding and nutrition. Cut the cord.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sailor

      With that logic, dad goes to work every day to make money so the kid should too?

      May 11, 2012 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
  8. Patrish

    As a 70 yr raised the old fashion way, I was totally put off by this article. None of these things make much difference. It's about loving and caring, but setting boundaries. No wonder we have such spoiled self-center adults. Each generation is getting worse and more neurotic. How about teaching these kids to have r responsibly for their actions as they grown up. These are your future leaders. Geez!

    May 11, 2012 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rh

      Exactly, this is NOT doing what's best for the child, it is for the ego of the mother. I nursed my kids until they were about 2, 2 and a half, but only nursed them in public when they were quite young, certainly less than a year.

      Using your child for your attention ho needs is criminal. Just because "it's natural" doesn't mean it is everyone else's business. Nursing a baby and covering yourself up is one thing, but nursing a child who can fend for themselves is unnatural. And what about people who have kids closer than 3 years apart? Are we supposed to put the old one on one teat and the new one on the other? Just doesn't make physical sense.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:48 | Report abuse |
  9. WJ

    You have me seeing red!! My question is why does CNN care? This is a lifestyle option that some choose to follow. You ask if it's too much. If publically open same gender attraction is not too much...how could you believe this is? I think you expose a serious double standard. It's ok to question when YOU want to, but not ok for others to question when they want to. If YOU pose the question it's just responsible media curiosity, when others do, it's mean spirited discrimination. Your curiosity, posed as it is, seems a lot like what is presently called bullying. What gives you the right to single theses people out for their choices?

    May 11, 2012 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • terry

      I don't think this woman was forced to be on the cover of Time and the kid sure didn't get a choice about being on that Time cover. This kid is going to be soooo angry at his mom for this unneccessary exposure to the national viewing. Oh yeah, this is a GREAT mother here. Where is Dad and why did he not stop this national viewing which is obviously some kind of thrill for this mother. BUT it's so natural, right? So is using the bathroom. Is Mom going to put this kid doing that on next week's Time cover?

      May 11, 2012 at 12:42 | Report abuse |
  10. David

    lynn – you are not a cow? thats a really dumb statement and I feel sorry for your kids. Why do you think you have breasts? For looks only?

    Let mom's breastfeed whenever and for however long they like, its their business and no one elses. It totally amazes me that people in this modern day could be so ignorant and intolerant. You're offended at seeing someone breast feed in public? Religious nut cases. Leave people alone and let them live their lives the way they want too.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rh

      My only concern is the affect on the child. An infant needs the antibodies from its mother, a healthy 3 year old does not.

      When your kid is able to tell other that he still nurses, it's time to stop.

      Raising your kid to be a mental case is a public good issue.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:49 | Report abuse |
    • quacktaculaura

      rh- Try doing research before spouting off your uninformed opinions. You can research all day. They have not found any negative benefits to a child nursing longer than 2 years. In fact the AAP recommends exclusively for 6 months, and then AS LONG as both child and mother choose to after that. There is no upper limit set, because there is no evidence that any harm is done to a child by breastfeeding for longer.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
  11. palintwit

    I really do wish that Sarah Palin would weigh in on this one. Who better to comment on breastfeeding than one of the most successful parents in the country. We need her guidance now more than ever !

    May 11, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. new mom

    I can see why some mothers would want to continue to supply their small children with breast milk over another mammal's pasteurized milk, but, for Pete's sake, pump and pour it into a sippy cup or glass after a year.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sailor

      It's as much for comfort as nutrition. Mom is their safe place and protector. It's their way of getting centered before they go back out into the "big bad world."

      May 11, 2012 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
  13. Teddy

    Why don't we regulate this too? It seems to be the road this country is going down. The choice of breastfeeding til the kids are older has been done for ions ... who cares?

    May 11, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Debunky

    Breastfeeding for 3-4 year olds?

    If you have strong arguments for or against this issue, maybe you should put them to the test here: http://www.debunky.com

    May 11, 2012 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. chris

    I also breastfed my kids for 3 years. I dont have a problem with this photo at all, but i cant help wondering if this photo is intentionally provocative. First the young mother is gorgeous and her son does look quite big for his age.I think a large male child lached on to his hot young mothers breast is why people are uncomfortable. Unfortunately to sexualize breastfeeding does not help the cause!

    May 11, 2012 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Techsupport

      But don't you see, that is the very issue?

      May 11, 2012 at 10:45 | Report abuse |
    • rh

      So if women, or blacks, or gays were being discriminated against, a cover with a 35 year old white male in a business suit with his foot on the neck of said "minority" would be okay? 'Cause that shows the issue...

      The issue is NOT what this woman and her poor son represents. The issue is the practicality of an infant, who CANNOT snack on a cookie, or have a juice box, and maintain health, nor have the individual will to do so without significant help, being nursed at a public place without the mother being arrested or thrown out.

      Infants need to eat very frequently and need help to eat and breast milk is best for them. This child does NOT need to nurse, and if *I* had a child who they recommended continue to get breast milk due to a health issue, I would pump when the child is old enough to ask about it. A child that age and size can eat three meals a day and be completely fine. An infant cannot. I nursed my children for two years each, so I do understand the value of nursing, but sheesh, the woman is flaunting her nutty decision. It is natural to have s3x and natural to take a crap, hopefully Time won't feel like doing a cover on those issues (or a nudist colony).

      I wonder if they interviewed the child about it.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:54 | Report abuse |
    • Techsupport

      Wow, talk about REALLY missing the point. This isn't about infants, being in public or even breastfeeding until the age of two. This is about mothers breastfeeding their children past even being a toddler. My son just went into kindergarden, sorry, he's not being breastfed at kindergarden. He can eat a cookie just fine. How does breastfeeding at that age fix this?

      Oh, and as for your comment about the cover and your hypothetical minority cover ideas....you obviously don't read much Time.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
    • ES

      > if *I* had a child who they recommended continue to get breast milk due to a health issue, I would pump when the child is old enough to ask about it
      -----------

      Rh, first, pumping is not as easy as many people believe. It takes much longer. And some women can't even relax enough to let the milk flow. It is not just mechnics, but also the emotions and hormones that are involved.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:17 | Report abuse |
  16. Easy

    Save some for the rest of us kid...

    May 11, 2012 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Techsupport

    Sex...everyone does it...so why can't I do it in public?

    May 11, 2012 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. John Stamos

    I personally find your post very offensive...

    May 11, 2012 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. jacey

    If a child is able to ask you to lift your shirt for a feeding, its time to stop.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lynn Taylor

      My children are in their 40's........raised on formula and a healthy diet.......what's important is they are so well adjusted in every way.....these mothers have a BIG problem in separation...OR...they have nothing else in their lives to focus on....first try being a "good wife"..that's the basis for a family relationship.... Dr. Sear's is just coming up with some crazy theory to promote his practice, books, etc.........children need ROOTS and WINGS...and knowing they are loved and wanted.....not an everlasting attachment to their mother's...........in my time it was Dr. Spock......next generation will come up with some other crazy theory.......

      May 11, 2012 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
  20. Nancy

    I breastfed my son until he was 3-yrs-old. Partly because it was good for him, and partly because he had severe reflux and other digestive issues, and this was the only way he could be calmed most of the time. It was also the about the only meal that he could keep down. As he grew, his condition improved (he's still on reflux medicine). He's now a 3rd grader and is truly one of the best people i know. In school he's always a teacher's favorite because he's smart and well behaved. He's also compassionate to all living things (even the moths that get in the bird seed), and sensitive to other people's feelings. I don't know why he's so good, but i'm sure the long term breastfeeding did not hurt, and the attachment possibly helped.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. jenn

    Can I have some fries with that mommy?

    May 11, 2012 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Carlos

    I was Brest feed till i was 3 years of age, i don't see what the problem is. I'm 25 now and I wish my mother gave me more attention growing up.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SCT

      That is one very interesting comment.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:42 | Report abuse |
  23. chazzz

    This is all making me very, very thirsty...

    May 11, 2012 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. mary

    What CNN and so many other "news" organizations seem to conveniently fail to mention is that this woman is a certified lactation consultant. If anyone knows and understand the breastfeeding and weaning process, it is her, no doctor.
    From La Leche League:
    "Many primates wean their offspring when they are erupting their first permanent molars. First permanent molar eruption occurs around five-and-a-half to six years in modern humans. It is interesting to note that achievement of adult immune competence in humans also occurs at approximately six years of age suggesting that throughout our recent evolutionary past the active immunities provided by breast milk were normally available to the child until about this age."
    http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/lv/lvdec00jan01p112.html
    What's socially normal is not always what's biologically normal. It's socially normal to consume copious amounts of sugared beverages and develop juvenille diabetes. Does that make juvenille diabetes biologically normal?

    May 11, 2012 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sailor

      Amen! The kid is supposed to give up nutritious milk because he can eat a cookie. No wonder our population is so obese!

      May 11, 2012 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
    • WhatNow

      Sailor...Bad analogy as our population has become more obese in recent years and breastfeeding has increased.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:10 | Report abuse |
    • Wow

      Mary,

      Your comment is shameful. Do some research. Juvenile Diabetes is different from Type 2 Diabetes which I assume is the disease you are referring to. Juvenile Diabetes is NOT caused by consuming "copious" amounts of sugar as you say. It is a chromosomal error and a genetic disorder. You are both hurtful and wrong. It is hard enough for kids and adults living with this type of diabetes without ignorant and judgmental people like you running your mouth.

      May 11, 2012 at 16:56 | Report abuse |
    • mary

      Hey Wow,

      I'm well aware that there is a difference between type 1 and 2 diabetes. Perhaps I should have said "juvenille diabetes, type 2" to avoid sounding so judgemental and shameful, as you say. Type 2 diabetes in a 9 year old IS "juvenille diabetes". You sound like you're splitting hairs so you can name call.
      I apologize for sounding so judgemental and shameful. Perhaps it was not glaringly obvious to which disease I was referring to. So I must spell it out for people such as yourself: I was talking about juvenille diabetes – Type 2. Happy now?

      May 12, 2012 at 08:01 | Report abuse |
    • mary

      And by the way Wow, the argument still stands. Juvenille diabetes – Type 1 is not biologically normal. It is not caused by consuming copious amounts of sugared beverages, so it only makes sense as a complete analogy in the context of type 2 diabetes. But diabetes of any type is not biologically normal. But if you see a 7 year old walking around with an insulin pump and they tell you they have diabetes, that would be socially normal and understood.

      May 12, 2012 at 08:05 | Report abuse |
    • Wow

      Mary, Type 2 diabetes is not referred to as Juvenile Diabetes, mostly because it is commonly seen in adults. Juvenile Diabetes is another name for Type 1 Diabetes. I would know because I've had Type 1 for most of my life. My point is that you wouldn't go around pointing fingers and blaming a cancer patient for being sick so why is it necessary to stage an assault on Diabetics of any kind especially on a breast feeding forum? It isn't an easy disease to live with and while you are right in saying that Type 2 can be caused by poor health habits, not every Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis can be attributed to this. Some are genetic, some are environmental, some are just plain bad luck. My hope is for people to be less frivolous with their words and try to be more sympathetic instead of assuming people have Diabetes because of some bad lifestyle choices. As a Diabetic, I have experienced some pretty hurtful comments aimed at me and I make it a point to let people know that their words matter to those of us who live with this disease. As it stands, you are correct, Diabetes in any form is not biologically normal, although sadly it is becoming much more common.

      May 14, 2012 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
    • mary

      Oh good greif Wow. Stop taking everything so personally. I feel badly for you that you have Type 1 diabetes. I was however, not pointing fingers at anyone, simply alluding to the scientifically proven fact that type 2 diabetes in the juvenille population has been linked time and time again with copius consumption of sugared beverages. I made one single statement and you're turning it into so much more. It's not being careless with words if it's the scientific truth from a public health (if not an individual) perspective.

      May 14, 2012 at 21:27 | Report abuse |
  25. Donna

    What possessed this woman to even pose for this picture with her son? Can't wait for him to grow up and see what his loving mommy subjected him to! And the smug look on her face . . . ugh!

    May 11, 2012 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Ron

    If you look at the bible, Old Testament in particular, even Moses was not weened until he was after 3 years old, there were no bottles back then and the only food babies-toddlers had was breast milk, which has been proven to make the child healthier and to provide protection against diseases. I agree that the picture is in bad taste, and it should have shown mother and child in a more private pose, as most breastfeeding mothers do it.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. tribecagal

    My cousin breast fed her son until he was about three. One day we were together shopping at Macy's. The kid was annoyed with her for not buying him something he wanted so he stood in the middle of the store screaming "I want the boobie". When she tried to quiet him down he only screamed louder "I want the boobie....NOW". Breastfeeding babies ok. Breastfeeding children not so much.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • stopthehating

      ummm yeah....that has nothing to do with breastfeeding, but instead what word she chose to teach him to call it!

      May 11, 2012 at 11:29 | Report abuse |
  28. GeorgeBos95

    Having known women who chose to breastfeed to 3 and 4 years old, I can tell you it's complicated. In some cases, the mother just couldn't let go. In others, they genuinely seemed to believe it helped their child's development.

    In either case, the kids are well adjusted (they're in their late teens now), They don't cling to their mothers, don't have social issues – they're quite stable and normal.

    It's remarkable that anyone thinks they can speak with authority on this regarding anyone else's choices – including Doctors. Docs often get things wrong when it comes to emotional development. As do psychiatrists.

    All the negative comments out here seem to be the by product of keeping breast-feeding hidden – making it abnormal to even consider. Breasts are such a loaded topic in American society – simultaneoulsy revered and reviled. The reality is, we're built to breast feed, not feed our kids formula from a can.

    Get over your bias people, and stop judging others for the bonds they want to establish with their kids, and the benefits they see in the process.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. bob

    I don't really think it's anybodys business. If you look across the world and even if you go back a few hundred years in our own history children were breastfed until 5 or 6 years of age. In some countries they still are. WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL??? All of a sudden over the last what 60 – 80 years what has been happing for HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of years is now wrong and harmful to the child. Really GET A GRIP!!

    May 11, 2012 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark

      The reason it is a big deal is she is doing it on the front cover of time magazine.....what is the purpose of that??? Mag sales slow or what....If you want to warp your kid at least do it in private....just weird anyway you look at it

      May 11, 2012 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
  30. Katie

    Let's face it. Breasts provide milk for the baby, but also sexual stimulation for the woman (and any man who happens to see them) . This looks like she's crossed the line from being a nuturing mother to enjoying this in a sexual way. That's no baby. This is just sick.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ES

      Did you actually breastfeed or just made this up? Breastfeeding actually supresses the sex drive.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
  31. Roto

    I breast fed all through college with as many gals as I could find!

    May 11, 2012 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. John Smith

    That lady is a pedo, she should be put in jail for life!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 11, 2012 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sailor

      You're joking right? I can't believe you would even see it that way.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:21 | Report abuse |
  33. C

    Ok, this is not a new issue – it is debated CONSTANTLY among mothers, pediatricians, bloggers, etc. Breastfeeding is a CHOICE and not only is it a choice whether or NOT to, it is completely up to the mother and the child as to when they should stop. Who cares if the kid is 3? I personally stopped when my children were 1. That was our choice. I'm sure this mom will be done breastfeeding him before kindergarten.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Mark

    Mmmmm looks good..........

    May 11, 2012 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. BD70

    Too much of a good thing.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Jenny Rome ga

    What CNN and so many other "news" organizations seem to conveniently fail to mention is that this woman is a certified lactation consultant." So she is doing this magazine for the money/attention. Oh yeah that is healthy and what is best for her child. This kid will die one day when this resurfaces in his teens.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. ES

    Do any of you who have issue with breastfeedin know that it is actually hard and hurts like hell the first month? And when you have to wake up every 3-4 hours breastfeed for 30 min instead of spending 5 min to give the kid a bottle, you think that is easy?
    And in the US women actually have to go back to work after 8-12 weeks of giving birth and then they have to pump ( if their employer even allows it) and that takes twice more time than the natural way? You think this is all for fun and pleasure?
    Breastfeeding is a personal choice, but it is definitely a hard choice. Breast milk protects babies from a number of ills and obesity (because they have to work harder for food). It is proven.
    Breastfeeding mothers need all the support they get and not the attacks from people who have no idea how hard it is. I had to stop at 6 months, not by choice, but because I had to go back to work and I couldn't pump. I wish I had an option to decide myself when to stop.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. NorCalMojo

    That's a pretty weird picture.

    May 11, 2012 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. marie

    I wonder how long this kid will be tied to an apron string. By four he should be learning to socialize and be somewhat independent. I dont understand what the point is. Maybe she doesnt cook

    May 11, 2012 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Mark

    Kidergarten snack time will be different for his class just saying

    May 11, 2012 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. oh hai there

    This is all kinds of creepy. There is a decent chance this young boy will grow up to have a breast obsession. -____-

    May 11, 2012 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Michael

    The WHO has provided the following recommendations relative to breastfeeding:

    As a global public health recommendation, infants should be EXCLUSIVELY breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods WHILE breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. (Caps Added)

    If the best interest of the child is the our greatest concern, then public perception regarding the sensitivity needs to evolve in favor of these worldwide recommendations for the benefit of the health of our children.

    May 11, 2012 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. feekoningin

    I've known people who have done this, but interestingly, it's always been mothers with sons. Just sayin'... I agree with the people who say it's for the mom, not the kid. And I also think it could set them up for weird mommy issues later. Personally, six months was all I could take. And my second child's doctor told me to put him on whole cow's milk at six months. I thought I misunderstood and didn't do it. The next time we went to see him, he asked whether I'd taken him off the the formula and put him on the cow's milk. When I said, no, he told me to go ahead and do it. I talked to my mom about it, and her answer was,"What do you think people of other generations did? The babies survived, didn't they?"

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

      Your post is confusing. It sounds like your child was on formule, not breastmilk , right? Breastmillk is better than cow milk (because it has things needed to keep a human healthy, not a calf), but when we are talking about formula then who knows.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
    • Feekoningin

      He had done both. He was on breast milk at first but was hospitalized for a while after birth, so it was hard to get into the groove, and we had to supplement, anyway once he came out. So he actually went from formula to breast milk.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:14 | Report abuse |
  44. Guest

    My theory is if the kid is old enough to ask for it he or she is too old to still be breastfed.

    May 11, 2012 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. mommyof 6

    THIS IS GREAT!

    It's about time (TIME) that somone cared enough about the children to publicize what is normal in most countries and was evenin the Bible!

    Allowing child-led weaning gives the child security and a level of comfort that 'drive-thru" nursing doe snot.

    Nursing is not only about food. It is about security, bonding, comfort, etc...

    Shame on North americans for being so selfish and perverted to see this as anything else!!!

    May 11, 2012 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Bails

    GOOD GRIEF! BETWEEN THIS AND OBAMA'S GRAND DECISION OF THE DAY TO SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE, WHO NEEDS ALL THE OTHER CRAP IN THE WORLD??!!! LET'S FOCUS ON THESE TWO VERY IMPORTANT ISSUES, SHALL WE?!

    May 11, 2012 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. JeanneDark

    The mother is an exhibitionist and all to happy to visually exploit herself and her son. She will be the media's newest bad girl and will make a fine living making the talk show rounds and will soon star in her own reality show and a stint on DWTS, I hope she makes a lot of money because her son is going to incur huge psychiatric bills throughout most of his life.

    May 11, 2012 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Annie

    I see no harm in breas tfeeding your child past the 6 months, however, I do have a problem with exploiting ona magazine cover, its supposed to be a private, intimate way to bond with your child & not all has to see you doing it.

    May 11, 2012 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Feekoningin

    I realize now that I robbed my son by stopping the breastfeeding at six months. Do you think he'd be embarrassed if we tried to make up for lost time now that he's 16?

    May 11, 2012 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. momnmo

    Wow! I bet the people with the strongest 'anti' feelings on here don't even have kids. People need to mind their own business and keep their own affairs straight. It does NOT take a village to raise a child and certainly NOT our screwed up government. Now we are being told what to eat, when to eat it...same for our kids..what a bunch of BS.

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