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May 11th, 2012
01:46 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Breast-feeding toddlers

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

When we woke up this morning, “Time breast feeding cover” was the top trending topic on Google. Throughout the day, variations of that search have taken up four more of the top 10 spots.

What is it about the photo of a 3-year-old breast-feeding on the cover of Time magazine this week that’s caused such uproar? CNN.com readers had a lot to say about the subject.

Breast-feeding: Too much of a good thing?

Readers debated the proper age to wean a child off breast-feeding.

JungleQueen
I breastfed exclusively all three of my babies for 9 months, and then they started to wean themselves. I was able to breast-feed all three for 2 years (my twins and my oldest are a year a part) before they finally weaned themselves for good. Unfortunately, too many people are worried about what everyone else is doing instead of what they should be doing. Different children have different needs

P.J.
What would people say to a 3, 4 or 5 year old drinking formula from a bottle?

mab18
My baby was formula fed from day one – not by my choice, but because of health complications (to me) … Fast forward 2 1/2 years – my daughter is completely healthy, happy all the time, ahead in height and weight, and ahead of most of her "classmates" in daycare mentally. Yes breast is best, but that does not mean that formula fed babies are only going to "survive.”

Kate
Just because a toddler is breast-feeding doesn't mean it's exclusive. When my boys were toddlers, nursing was saved for before naps/bed, and a few other private times at home when they wanted the comfort. They were drinking out of sippy cups an eating table food by 6 months. It's not all or nothing, and my boys learned the boundaries of when/where it's appropriate.

thisplanethasgonenuts
I am of the belief that when your child is old enough to go outside and play and socialize with other children – the breast-feeding stops. I mean, no breast-feeding mother wants to deal with the question: "Can Bobby stay for dinner?"

Scott
I think we need to listen to nature on this one. Why would we think we are different than any other mammal that stops breast-feeding when their offspring have teeth? That's why the teeth come in, so they can eat food!

Some readers said the problem wasn’t breast-feeding but the photo itself.

Ohioan
Let's all just cut to the chase. I'm all for breast-feeding. But the TIME cover was totally inappropriate. If the mother wanted to get her point across there are other ways. The child is the victim here.

maeflowersdoulaservices
I am 100% for extended breast-feeding if that's what you choose for your family. But I have to say that this photo does not portray what real extended breast-feeding is. The sweetness of breast feeding is not in the photo. If anything I think that with a cover photo like this it will make people want to not breast-feed at all. Breast-feeding is about the snuggles and love between a mother and her child and that doesn't happen with a child standing on a chair.

Others disagreed.

Watch: 'Attachment parenting' doc speaks out

Molly
I cannot believe that so many people are so uncomfortable with the idea of a woman providing the most natural, nutritional and perfectly balanced food for the child… Please stop alienating women for doing the most natural thing since the dawn of man.

For some, it was an example of America’s unique culture.

Tom
Globally the average age of weaning is 4 to 5, meaning that some stop older, some younger. So 3 isn't too old to be breast-feeding. Seems we are the backwards culture.

Theresa
What most of the people commentating fail to recognize is that what we call "extended" breast-feeding was (and STILL is throughout most of the world) "civilized" and traditional, [and] is actually the norm and what is best for children's immune systems, bonding maturation, self esteem… Americans are prudes who only see the breast as a sex object. Pathetic.

Others took issue with the debate as a whole.

CMax37
So breast-feeding is the only way to become close to your child? By this equation, fathers are nothing more than sperm donors because we clearly can't have a strong bond with our children.

@casdesummer
At a time when children are becoming obese, in a country with rampant child sex abuse, this is an issue?

Jenny
EXCUSE ME! I am an adopted child, my mother could not breast-feed me. I turned out just fine, thank you very much. I have two boys neither of whom were breastfed. They are both in college and doing great. Breast feeding does not make you a mother. Love, nurturing, compassion are what makes a good mother.

What's your opinion of the cover? Share your opinion in the comments area below, or sound off on video via CNN iReport.


soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Susan Kiely

    Am all for breastfeeding. Am not for exploitation of a child. She exploited her child in order to promote her agenda. She herself said that the photo did not portray how she normally breastfed the child. The intent of the staged photo was to evoke 'discussion' and she got what she went after. Unfortunately she is not the one that will go through adolescence with this photo being food for bully fodder.

    May 11, 2012 at 14:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • adeti putham

      so true. she promoted her hot body. she wanted to be famous and this is all she has to offer.

      May 12, 2012 at 23:04 | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      Yeah, I doubt this magazine cover will haunt this child for ever. This cover will go into the history bins like all the rest, how many of you go looking through 10 years old magazines?

      May 13, 2012 at 18:18 | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Guess you never have been downtown in where the la leche league hangs out. Exploitation? Are you really that clueless? If it wasn't for women who were so inbred about breast feeding, we would have a lot closer relationships developed between mothers and their children...especially the boys. There is nothing wrong with a woman feeding her boy until he is DONE. Period! I am six foot four, over 200 pounds, can bench press about 350 ish on a good day, and completely am in keeping with a real boy nursing for as long as he wants. And I dare anyone to tell my daughter that she is anything less than noble when breastfeeding her boy as long as they want. I DARE them.......yes, I have several college degrees too!

      May 15, 2012 at 14:11 | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Maybe if more men would man up, and encourage their wives/partners/ daughters to extend breastfeeding, there would be less cackling around from the biots and hyppocrites here...!

      May 15, 2012 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
  2. SBrunner

    I am hoping that this photo does not follow him into his adult years and job interviews. This mother is exploiting her son by photographing what, in my opinion, is private and intimate, this is shameful.

    May 11, 2012 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • J. Mitchell

      I totally agree with you... People don't go around letting the public see their child breast feed, there's always a blanket or something because it's a private moment, I was shocked to see that on Time magazine let alone a news website. This kid is gonna have to deal with this when he's older one way or another.. Good luck!

      May 11, 2012 at 19:21 | Report abuse |
    • CR

      Job interviews?!? Really? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard, a potential future employer will deny him a job because of a photo taken when he was 3 years old.

      May 13, 2012 at 18:33 | Report abuse |
    • behaviors

      I think it's "time" people start paying attention to what they are projecting
      breastfeeding, yes, can be a good thing
      Showing up like "hot mama" to feed your four year old son looks wrong and bad, and it is
      It's as bad as child sex abuse-- who decided this would be a good idea
      no one respectable - it's embarrassing and sad

      May 14, 2012 at 23:50 | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      SBrunner.... YOU SHOULD BE SO RIGHTEOUS! You should be ashamed.

      May 15, 2012 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Real men let their boys stay with their mothers as LONG as they want to. REAL men who hire, hire on merit, not on pictures of a child on a magazine cover or a baby food jar. How about some FACTS like "What does the World Health Organization say about age related suckling disorders? Probably NONE since, oh wait a minute... there are none!

      May 15, 2012 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
  3. Confused

    OK everything I'm reading says 3-year-old, but that kid looks like he's in 3rd grade. Standing on the chair makes it even worse. Makes the kid look like a perv and the woman giving a "What you gonna do about it?" look, clutching the kid to her – VERY creepy! I think everyone is thinking it, but not saying it. That kid isn't just old enough to eat solid food, he looks too old for his age.

    May 11, 2012 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ttb&mmbmom

      Breastfed kids are like corn fed cows. Makes them grow healthy & strong fast. ;o) He looks to to me like he's being bashful my son often stands like that near me when he's being bashful (not breastfeeding though). I can assume there are a bunch of people at this photoshot this kid doesn't know but maybe he's curious about, so he's checking them out from the safety of Mom's arms.

      May 11, 2012 at 18:36 | Report abuse |
    • beth

      You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. BF toddlers and preschoolers still eat food, LOL. Seriously? YOu think they eat nothing else? The breastmilk is in addition to a typical diet of solid foods, and continues to confer health benefits to them. Just as babies typically start solids around 6 months roughly, but still continue breastfeeding. THe American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 6 months of *exclusive* BFing, and a minimum of one year of breastfeeding. Obviously from roughly 6 months on baby transitions to a combination fo solid foods and breastmilk, and that can continue on as long as it is "mutually desired" per the AAP. They do not set an upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding. The ignorance about how it works is very evident reading some of these posts. Do you seriously think she has her 3 yo on a breastmilk only diet?

      May 14, 2012 at 09:00 | Report abuse |
    • Allyson

      Beth it is sad how uneducated people are about breastfeeding. I work in health and see A LOT of toddlers/children who breastfeed. It is a lot more common than people think. People are quick to judge and make comments about a topic that they know little or nothing about.

      May 14, 2012 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Dear Confused.... it is creepy to you because you are creepy!

      May 15, 2012 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
  4. Regular mom

    I think that every family can rear their children within their own beliefs and culture, in the privacy of their own homes. Underline privacy. That mom should be investigated for child neglect and abuse, and the idiots Time magazine should be prosecuted for child abuse for publishing that picture. Lady....what the hell were you thinking putting your 3 year old child out there breastfeeding for world wide circulation. Breastfeeding is a very quiet special moment between mother and child NOT A FREAKING PHOTO SHOOT!!!! I'm so angry I could spit. I breastfed my daughter, so I am horrified.... thanks for giving all those conservative males another reason to try to put us women back into the last century.

    May 11, 2012 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thor

      Regular Mom... yep, it should be something private, if possible. I believe, however, that this woman is making a statement of support for all members of the more fair sex.... AND the men who are creeps about the whole thing. Boys are not made into being more tough from pulling them away from their mothers breast. Boys are made into men because they have RESPECT which certainly is best started with the Mother at the breast. A stronger man is made, not with the fist or the belt, but with an internalization of respect. This breastfeeding thing.... that't the best answer than an American Woman has come up with for fostering a better nation. This woman is a godsend........

      May 15, 2012 at 14:19 | Report abuse |
  5. PAthena

    The Scientific American many years ago had an article on human breast feeding and birth rates. As I remember, breast-feeding has a contraceptive effect, depending on the frequency of the feeding. By year 3, the normal infant (in the wild) has reduced the frequency of feeding so that the mother becomes fertile again, and can give birth again at 4 years.

    May 11, 2012 at 17:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Tracey

    Shame on Time Magazine. . . how disturbing is this image? The child is definitely being exploited, and what does the mother get from this? Talk about stoking an oedipus complex; this seems completely unnatural to me.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. francine

    I am all for breast feeding but when I child is that old I am totally against it. As a teacher for 30 some odd years I taught a student later on in his academic years..He had been breast fed till he went to kindergarten. His mother wondered why he had separation issues..Look no further. Breast feed a child...but when he begins to have teeth and is eating solids it's time to stop..

    May 11, 2012 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CR

      Any child can have separation issues. My husband was only breastfed for 8 or so months but he was EXTREMELY clingy until about age 6. He wouldn't even let go of his mother's leg at age 4 and 5. He is a great, loving, and confident man who travels the world. All children grow up differently looking at one brief phase in a child's life will never tell you the whole story.

      May 13, 2012 at 18:24 | Report abuse |
    • beth

      THankfully the American Academy of Pediatrics, World Health Organization, and the American Academy of Family Physicians all disagree with you. The AAP says BFing should be continued for a minimum of one year, and "as long as mutually desired" after that. The WHO and AAFP recommend a *minimum* of two years of BFing, and note that weaning before that time puts a child at increased risk of illness and death.

      May 14, 2012 at 07:28 | Report abuse |
    • beth

      You should also note that "teeth" don't play into any medical organization's recommendations, since most kids have teeth before one year of age. Weaning at that point would actually go against the advice of the AAP, WHO, AAFP, and other medical groups. I know plenty of insecure children both BF and FF, and I know plenty of securely attached BF and FF children. Your anecdotal story is pretty worthless scientifically, as is your "opinion" on teeth and so forth.

      May 14, 2012 at 07:30 | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Francine.... have you ever thought that it is not the government baby sitting service called "kindergarten" that was the cause of "separation anxiety"? If the child didn't get forced into being pulled away from his mother until he was ready, I doubt that there would have been any separation anxiety. You "teachers/educators" who spend years laboring in your profession have not considered that the reasons why schoolteachers have such great problems in the classroom (yes I have taught in public school) is because of one thing : RESPECT. Fancy the boy who has developed a respectful relationship between his mother and himself at the breast. Real men need to step in and demand that children be protected from teachers like you. You are dangerous and need to be weaned from the school system. Children should never be pulled from their mother. How dare you?

      May 15, 2012 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
  8. ttb&mmbmom

    I am a supporter of breast feeding and breastfeed both my kids (my son for 6-1/2 months and my daughter for 12 months). I just got better at it with experience. If you are looking to establish and incredible bond with your children I highly recommend you try breastfeeding from day one. However it is a personal choice. I would never criticize another woman for choosing not to breastfeed. Becoming a parent for the 1st time is scary enough you have learn about your options to do what you are comfortable with. That's the great thing about living in the free world you can choose what you prefer to do. I only wish people would stop trying to criticizing other people for their choices and be tolerant of their right to choose. Those that are saying it’s abusive or wrong that she used her child to pose for this photo, should understand she has the right to choose and dealing with the consequences down the road will also be her choice. I somehow think that if she was breastfeed til age 6 that she’ll be capable of explaining this to her son in a way that it’s not embarrassing for him. Let’s also have a little prospective here, is a little embarrassment from mom the end of the world for this kid? I somehow think he can overcome the embarrassment and this one photo will not ruin his life.

    May 11, 2012 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Angela

    If he's experiencing attachment disorder at this stage of the game, he needs to be seen by a therapist.

    May 11, 2012 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thor

      Angela, you of course, are the labelling expert?

      May 15, 2012 at 14:27 | Report abuse |
  10. Beth

    This cover, to me, does not display what breastfeeding is about. It seems like what it is: a publicity move. I agree with those who state that breastfeeding is a private and intimate thing between a mother and child. It isn't something to be exploited like this, no matter what the good one intends to do with it. The ends do not justify the means. I'm also bothered by the comments that make statements to the effect of "my child was breastfed until they were 5 and now they're a super genius and graduated from college at age 10", as if breastfeeding was the only contributing factor and if they hadn't breastfed their child would be doomed to a life of menial minimum wage labor due to their inability to learn. The whole AP/extended breastfeeding movement centers around a rejection of the former notions of children needing intense scheduling to grow up properly. How you interpret that is entirely up to you. In many parts of the world, people breastfeed their children until they are toddlers. But there are other parts where people don't do that. It varies from culture to culture and if we all forced each other to be in the same boat, what a boring bland world this would be. As someone else stated, once your child has teeth, they are no longer nursing primarily for food, they are nursing for the comfort. That comfort can be gained in other ways if one is not comfortable nursing for extended periods. There's no glory in shaming other mothers for their choices because they were different than yours.

    May 11, 2012 at 21:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thor

      Yes, Beth, it is a publicity move. (please insert the word Duh here).... She IS promoting the normal return to an anthropological accurizing of when breast feeding should go on.... especially in boys. He will be more of a man for it when he grows up.

      May 15, 2012 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
  11. Isabella

    I'm finishing my Ph.D. in psychology and every theory from individuation, differentiation, attachment to others well known theories doesn't agree with this parental attachment theory cited in the Time article.

    May 11, 2012 at 21:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thor

      .... it is "theories don't" vice "theories doesn't". I have a few degrees too, but, not in ebonics!

      May 15, 2012 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
  12. Jeebus

    Wow, unbelievable. Reading the responses of those in favor, every single one of them cite entirely selfish reasons for continued breast feeding. These mothers need to look themselves in the mirror and realize they aren't doing this for their child's emotional needs, but their own. It is their own desire to feel loved and needed that causes them to keep their children emotionally and nutritionally dependent entirely on themselves. And to imply that extended breast feeding creates bonds not possible other ways in an insult to every father, every adoptive parent, and every mother who for whatever reason chose to use formula or end breast feeding at 6 months as doctors suggest.

    That being said, I would totally suckle on that mom's milkbags myself right now, but the bond I wanna form with her sure ain't maternal.

    May 11, 2012 at 21:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • beth

      From an anthropological perspective, the average age of weaning was between 2-8 years old. Kathy Dettwyler has done extensive research on the topic. Surely all of this mothers were "selfish" over the course of thousands of years. Nice try.

      May 14, 2012 at 07:32 | Report abuse |
    • beth

      *these not "this" mothers. Sorry for the typo.

      May 14, 2012 at 09:02 | Report abuse |
  13. RootyPoots

    I think most parents make decisions based on what is cool, trendy, and what is the latest fad. Anyone with a brain and basic skills of observation can see that both breastfed babies, and non-breastfed babies do fine. I do think there is a contingent of people out there making "attachment parenting" decisions based on their own emotional needs though, rather than there children's.

    May 11, 2012 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • beth

      From an anthropological perspective, the average age of weaning was 2-8 years old. Look at Kathy Dettwyler's research in this field. Trendy? That makes me literally laugh out loud. Tell the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, and the World Health Organization their recommendations are "trendy." Go ahead. I'll wait here and laugh when you see their response. I'd say over the history of man, early weaning and or formula feeding are far more "trendy" than BFing and extended BFing, to put it mildly.

      May 14, 2012 at 07:43 | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Beth... thumbs up!

      May 15, 2012 at 14:03 | Report abuse |
  14. Manmohini

    There is a lot of ignorance about extended nursing, as reflected in some of these comments about kids becoming "nutritionally dependent" by being deprived of sippy cups and real meals. Toddlers who engage in extended nursing eat regular food and regular portions. While they receive some small amount of millk and immune system benefit, they desire food and need food. Toddlers who nurse do it for comfort, not food. I have an incredibly deep bond with my son, who suddently stopped nursing on his own at 3 years, 4 months. He was just done one day, and he never went back. And that was fine by me. It felt like a very natural shift of the season. All in all, nursing was the closest thing to divinity I've experienced in this material form. My son loved it too!

    May 11, 2012 at 23:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Gray Horton

    you all have your head up your a__. What the f____is wrong with you? Breast feeding stops at a NORMAL age, about year 1. You people are f____ing nuts. You have mental problems that you are passing to your children. Go see a shrink you wack job..

    May 11, 2012 at 23:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thor

      ...so... Gray, 2/3 of the worlds population is.... mentally deficient? ...but... not you... not you at all?!

      May 15, 2012 at 14:01 | Report abuse |
  16. earthboys

    My first was nursed for 4 years tandem with my 2nd for the last year. My 2nd for 3 years. I am about to have twins and shall nurse them for this time. Not only does it strengthen the immune system but the bond between mother and child. We still co-sleep and I carried my babies in slings. We also own an organic farm in DR and all our animals are nursed, cows and horses for an extended time between 5 – 8 months and longer. The animals don't have health problems and the mothers are strong enough to birth in nature unassisted. Not only do my children have a beautiful glow, are happy and healthy but so do my animals. My children have no need to visit doctors nor pediatricians. I believe it has to do with extended breastfeeding.

    May 12, 2012 at 08:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. just a mom

    I don't think I am an overly earthy mom or anything other than a regular old mother who worked and raised two boys with my husband. I breatfed both boys until they were about a year old and I believe it was one of the best things I have ever done. Everyone's time table is different and when we stop bashing families for doing what they think is best for their kids we will all be better off. Any parent looking out for the nutritional health of their child is a star in my book.

    May 12, 2012 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. milkdrinker

    That breast has long depleted of milk.
    This may be an act of sexual child abuse.

    May 12, 2012 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • beth

      The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a minimum of one year of BFing and says it should be continued "as long as is mutually desired" after that. THey do not set an upper age on BFing for that reason. The WHO and American Academy of Family PHysicians recommend a *minimum* of two years of BFIng and note that weaning prior to that puts a child at increased risk of illness and death. Sooo....yeah, it is isn't sexual abuse, even according to the experts in the field.

      May 14, 2012 at 07:34 | Report abuse |
  19. Alsoamom

    Just watched CNN segment where male anchor and male psychologist totally misinterpreted what their guest, a woman practicing attachment parenting, said. Much too quickly they happily jumped to the conclusion that there must be something (for sure unconscious) " in it" for the mothers who breastfeed toddlers and beyond. Both were dismissive to the point of being disrespectful to their female guest. What does that say about their unconscious?

    May 12, 2012 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Marie

      I agree.

      May 13, 2012 at 03:39 | Report abuse |
    • beth

      Totally ridiculous, isn't it? I guess there has been something "in it" for women for the thousands of years that they've been breastfeeding, since the average age of weaning anthropologically was 2-8 years of age. I love how uninformed people pathologize a normal and loving act that is supported by every major medical organization.

      May 14, 2012 at 09:36 | Report abuse |
  20. P Sargent

    The cover is terrible. I believe mothers should breast feed, but not past toddlerhood, and not in public unless properly covered. There is such a thing as modesty. There is also such a thing as child abuse and this cover demonstrates it quite nicely. And there is such a thing as moderation. The cover violates all of these principles.

    May 13, 2012 at 01:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. carolyn

    Hope the paycheck was worth it. What a sell-out! The child will foot the bill.

    May 13, 2012 at 06:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. 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 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • beth

      You may not like the Sears, but they didn't come up with the idea of extended BFIng. If you look at the anthropological evidence, the average age of weaning historically was 2-8 years old. THe AAP, the WHO, and the American Academy of Family Physicians do not set an upper limit to BFing. The AAP says a minimum of one year and "as long as mutually desired" after that. WHO and AAFP recommend a minimum (minimum!) of two years of BFing and note that weaning prior to age two puts a child at increased risk of illness and death. There *is* scientific evidence about the ongoing benefits with extended BFIng. THe benefits of BFing do not just disappear because a child hits age 2 or 3. It continues to have benefits in creating healthy gut flora, reducing the risk and complications from intestinal illnesses, continues to confer benefits to the mother's health (reducing estrogen sensitive cancer risk), continues to provide some immune boosting properties, etc.

      May 14, 2012 at 08:49 | Report abuse |
    • beth

      BY the way, that's what makes this whole argument silly. The Sears advocate AP, but they didn't invent those parenting practices...they've been around for hundreds or thousands of years. Much of the world still engages in extended BFing, bed sharing, baby wearing. I don't think the women in Africa carrying their babies in slings read Dr. Sears. He just brought those practices into the mainstream. Many moms engage in those practices because it feels instinctively right to them, and that makes sense since many women used these practices historically. What I think the Sears did was give moms the "okay" to parent that way if it felt right to them. I know I had inlaws of the school of thought that formula was the best way to go (MIL equates BFing with being "low income" which is common of her generation. If you could "afford" formula, you fed formula). THey told me holding my newborn too much would "spoil" him. That type of thinking isn't uncommon. I didn't need to read the Sears to feel that it was okay to hold my baby as much as I wanted to. Babywearing made it much easier to get things done with a newborn, especially once I had older children to care for (two hands free to hold hands in a parking lot, for example). Breastfeeding has plenty of evidence, which is why the AAP recommends a minimum of one year of BFIng, and the WHO and American Academy of Family Physicians recommend a minimum of two years of BFing and note weaning prior to age 2 puts a child at increased risk of illness and death (and there is *science* to back that up).

      The Sears wrote a lot about attachment parenting, but it is really just about the same practices women have been using for thousands of years. It isn't everyone's thing; I get that.

      May 14, 2012 at 08:56 | Report abuse |
    • PumpNDump

      Beth, Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about and truly don't understand science and scientific method. This isn't even a theory since it doesn't follow even the most basic tenants of what a Theory requires. Please, S T F U, unless you know what you're talking about. The women promoting this are marginally intelligent, if that, and typically religious nutjobs.

      May 14, 2012 at 09:24 | Report abuse |
    • beth

      Breastfeeding doesn't have scientific evidence supporting it??? I think you need to get a clue. My husband is a PhD and I have a master's degree in a healthcare field.
      Is there solid evidence on other parts of attachment parenting? Not much. However, what I'm saying is that the Sears didn't invent attachment parenting. They advocate something that many women have opted to do for thousands of years, and many of those practices are used all over the globe by women who have never read a book by Dr. Sears or heard his name.
      It isn't about the Sears! That's what I'm saying here. In terms of evidence, the research on breastfeeding is pretty impressive, hence the recommendations by major medical organizations, and why many top research hospitals now work hard to make sure all preemies have donor milk, for example.
      I don't love or hate the Sears, but they didn't invent attachment parenting. They have attempted to normalize some of the practices women all over the globe have been using for thousands of years.

      May 14, 2012 at 09:40 | Report abuse |
    • PumpNDump

      Beth, you're husband MAY have a Ph.D. but the entire notion of breastfeeding past the age of 2 has no medical or scientific support from the American Academy of Pediatrics and you're actually addressing it from a 3rd world notion/perspective, NOT a 1st world. PS: You obviously don't understand science or have a scientific background. Let me clue you in:

      The earth is approximately 4.5 BILLION years old.
      Evolution is both a VALID scientific theory and a scientific fact.
      The whole "god" and "jesus" thing, a myth invented by men with no peer reviewed, academically accepted proof of existence whatsoever.
      The greek and roman gods are just as valid as the "christian" gods.
      99% of all christian dogma was lifted LIBERALLY from prior religions.
      The bible was a book written by men.

      "Attachment parenting" is NOT a valid scientific premise or theory as it doesn't follow even the most basic requirements of a Theory. It is NOT supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It has no valid data or collection methodology. It's ludicrous. It's for very messed up parents/mothers. We don't live in equatorial Africa where food is difficult to obain.

      May 14, 2012 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
    • Allyson

      Beth you are a very smart woman.

      May 14, 2012 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      I guess in America, it is much better for mothers to beat their children to obtain compliance rather than nuture them from the beginning with love and affection and mutual respect. What a concept to reduce violence and disregard for another....

      May 15, 2012 at 13:59 | Report abuse |
    • PumpNDump

      "thor", I suggest you get out of your dress and back in some pants. Tool. ALL 1st world nations stop at 2 years old or earler, you cretin. Facepalm. Lol

      May 15, 2012 at 20:02 | Report abuse |
  23. Yuveth

    I am 100% for Nursing a child, but when that child is able to walk and has acquired teeth and is able to take the mother's breast out for him or herself.. it's time to wean them.

    Is this for the child or for the mothers sake?

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

      Thankfully the major medical groups disagree with your stance. AAP says BFing for a minimum of one year is recommended, and as long as "mutually desired" after that. WHO and American Academy of Family Physicians recommend a *minimum* of two years of BFing. Your walking and talking has absolutely no validity as a reason to wean if you look at the science, anthropological evidence, and the recommendations of the world's major medical bodies. Your personal take is irrelevant.

      May 14, 2012 at 07:37 | Report abuse |
    • Allyson

      I am a little confused where people are coming up with this statement that when a child has teeth it is time to wean. Where are people making this up from?

      May 14, 2012 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      I agree with the teeth thing. I have teeth and have never had a woman complain when I gently perform oral operations on the anatomy!

      May 15, 2012 at 13:55 | Report abuse |
  24. A Mom with Healthy & confident breastfed kids pt of view

    Pretty Shocking! I advocate breast feeding at home or under a blanket if in public. NOT ON THE COVER OF A NATIONAL MAGAZINE!! I fed both my children, a boy and girl for 2 1/2 yrs each! (THEY ARE now 12 and 7) Later it was mostly at night time, or to comfort them and as stated by others... it is a private and beautiful thing I will never forget. (neither of them wanted to stop actually:) They both are confident, secure children, never needing a pacifier, cuddly toy to hold on too, blankie, etc. I guess I was that to them? But the point is that this
    Private Natural gift has been displayed and made into a Public Moment which is so disturbing!! I am very embarrassed for the little boy as he grows up and this mother should be ashamed for using this to become whatever she was obviously endeavouring to become. Ick.

    May 13, 2012 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Belle2004

    This poor boy is being exploited because of his egotistical mother. I breastfed both of my children, and if you can I think it's the way to go, but this lady clearly is more concerned about people looking at her then thinking of what this photo will do to her son. Also, I have a 3 year old son and he looks wayyyy younger then this boy.

    May 13, 2012 at 21:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PumpNDump

      And you would be right.

      May 14, 2012 at 11:28 | Report abuse |
  26. PumpNDump

    Dr. Sears is a quack and his "theory" has no scientific basis.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Sue

    That poor kid will be teased & bullied one day....it's just disgusting that the mother & Time allowed this. They should both be charged with child abuse and exploitation. Just b/c other countries do it doesn't mean we should follow their backwoods thinking. They do it b/c in poor countries it's free and may be the only way to feed a child. Ugh!!! This mother especially should be ashamed of herself. I hope the $$$ was worth it to embarrass & ruin your kid for life. Did you frame the pic & hang it above your mantle too? Just nasty....

    May 14, 2012 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thor

      Sue, maybe you should be charged with stupidity! Most nations don't stop breast feeding until 5 or 6! ..but you are too busy reading your bible to know that!

      May 15, 2012 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
  28. PumpNDump

    The irony: that the young woman on the cover is a god squad member.

    May 14, 2012 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. kell1331

    As a man and student of human nature , I feel that breastfeeding is a natural human right. I also have the opinion that breastfeeding should be discontinued between the ages of 2 to 3 years as I believe any health benifits are pretty well maxed out for the child by that time and would worry about the long term mental health of the child if breastfeeding continued beyond those ages. It is my opinion that the refusal of the mother to continue breastfeeding { or for that matter , the bottle } is one of lifes' first important lessons that teaches an awareness of self want and how others respond to that wanting. We all know how early impressions on a developing brain can have life long implications and mothers who support extended breastfeeding could very well be doing more harm than good by delaying teaching "lessons" to their children. I would point out that in nature and in most mammals in particular , that it is the parents that make decisions regarding milestones in developement of their offspring. In short I worry about reinforcing the "culture of me" being hardwired into these childrens brains .

    May 14, 2012 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Serious Person

    I breast fed both my kids for a year each and the Time cover creeps me out. Something about a kid walking up to you and asking...just seems too old. But hey, there's lots of things that I think are weird that others don't. I guess it's the nice thing about free choice.

    May 15, 2012 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. John D'oh

    The cover is disturbing, inappropriate and gross. That being said, she's smokin' hot.

    May 15, 2012 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Thor

    Most nations in this world stop around 5 or 6 years of age.... We Puritans just can't deal with that ..... it's the WASP thing to do!

    May 15, 2012 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Another Beth

    I think the article and cover did their job – they got people talking about breastfeeding. Polarized a bit yeah, but similar to what EarthFirst! did for Greenpeace – made Greenpeace look middle of the road. It got the idea out there that yes, women do breastfeed their children past two-years old in the US. Maybe that will encourage more women to breastfeed to at least one year, because that doesn't seem so extreme now. And women need all the encouragement they can get because breastfeeding is hard work, especially in the beginning.

    May 29, 2012 at 03:25 | Report abuse | Reply

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