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?
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She also might as well have just pasted a target on her back. Every perverse freak and pedophile in the country will be coming out of the wood work now ~~~ wait and see. Sad her son has been put at risk. She's an idiot.
Daddy's obviously not getting his share.
I've lived in Europe before and women breast feed in the public all the time, restrooms are unisex, TV show nudity on regular channels, folks sunbathe nude. Yet many of those countries don't have the number of pedophiles or rapist. It exist but not in the volumes it does here. We Americans are so prudish about the human body and it's functionality.
Billy Davis makes an excellent point about Europe which, though far from paradise, does not have the puritanical inhibitions Americans have – some of the most promiscuous adults are actually queasy about nursing because they have treated the mammaries as mere pleasure devices (see how hard it is to get around censorship even here?)
Billy, you must have missed the sex scandals that took down Berlusconi in Italy and Strauss-Kahn in France. Rape and underage girls...who said Europe doesn't have it's rapists and pedos.
Another example of manufactured controversy on CNN
Really? I thought the story ran on Time first.
Time is a part of CNN if you did not know. Just FYI.
Both CNN and Time are owned by the same company though. CNN is owned by Turner Broadcasting System Inc., a company owned by Time Warner and Time is owned by Time Warner Inc.
Studies in Europe show that there are positive health affects for breastfeeding until 2 – 4 years of age. It is also much more common over there and doesn't carry the social stigmata it does in the United States. Of course we will get all up in arms over this, gay marriage, and abortion rights. But will go invade a foreign country and bomb them to the stone age killing hundred of thousands of people without a thought. We got ourselves some wrong priorities.
Cause you know in this religiously crippled country the naked human body is shameful and se.x is disgusting.
ah Harry, Now you state these health studies are from Europe....hmmmm , the it must be beneficial. Harry, man up . Have the courage not to accept every perverse, freak show that grabs 15 minutes of fame.
And we all know boobs are only for sex, right? I mean geez. Heaven forbid someone use them for their real purpose on the cover of a magazine.
Gah. The US has sexualized breasts too much over the years. This photo is way less racy than the standard billboards that we let children see every day.
Incest is very common in European royalty...it doesn't make it right....
Does breast milk really provide the appropriate nutrients for a 3 year old (or SIX year old..)? I can't imagine how. Her excuse (he's not ready and neither am I) warns of 'he's not ready to move out of the house and neither am I' and other horrors. Come on lady, let him sleep in his own bed and eat carrots and stuff. His future wife will appreciate it.
You might want to take a course in biology and human health.
The real purpose of breast milk is that it provides a baby with an immune system. A baby's immune system is not developed enough when a baby is born. That is why babies rraised on formula are sicker and have a higher mortality rate.
I am just guessing that he's not exclusively breast fed, but that it's part of the mix. Not saying I support it, but I doubt he still has an all-liquid diet. Most kids start eating small foods while they're still breast feeding.
You need to travel to developing countries to see just how well behaved toddlers are. From the beginning of time new mothers have been taught how to raise their kids by their own mother, the grand mother has always been an essential part of child raising. But in the last few generations that link has been broken, we all now lead separate and isolated lives, until Thanks-given. Now women use books written by men, from Michael Pearl who has been blamed for the beating death of children in his pro-corporal book to Dr. William Sears and his attachment parenting.
cause in this religiously crippled country the na-ked human body is shameful and se.x is disgusting.
It's simple beast feed your child until whatever age you want, just don't do it in public view. Also, fantastic thinking by the mother on the cover, her son is going to have to live with that image for the rest of his life all because she had to make some self validating gesture for the world to see. 1st world culture.
Don't do it in public? Why? Are breasts inherently bad or something? I think a Mom breastfeeding her child is one of the most beautiful and natural things one can witness!
He sure as hell does not look 3, maybe 5!! but I find it crazy anything past 2 is too much
"Just don't do it in public"? Why not? Babies who nurse need to be fed on demand, and not doing that leads to infections in mom from backed up ducts. Treating the baby and mother bond as sacred (the way the Renaissance artists did, clearly from Italian life) would be better. I learned how to take care of my babies from a German friend who never minded nursing hers at least among friends (male and female). My promiscuous and mixed up sister was appalled and once frog-marched me out of a restaurant in a rural down: "We don't nurse babies in public in cow country." Of course she was nuts, and the irony sailed right over her head.
How would you like to be that kid in say 10, 20, 30 years? It was wrong and irresponsible for her to do the photo. You want to breastfeed that long, whatever. You want to talk about it, fine. But this photo is an invasion of the child's privacy at an age when he cannot even legally consent to it. I'm disgusted all around.
That is a fair question. Not the photo you want a future girlfriend to google.
Personally? I would love it!
The whole thing will be forgotten in a week – If he doesn't bring it up when he's older no one will know. This is the age of information without end. The next controversy will attract our attention on Monday.
I concur. I can't imagine too many adult men who would be pleased to be in such a picture with their mother. Yikes...
No, you aren't worried about the child's future. You just don't like too much nursing. Perhaps you own stock in Nestle's formula.
his parent's consent is his consent. a child has no sovereign privacy rights beyond their parents until they're not considered children, either by age or court decree.
In about 10 years, one of this kid's schoolmates is going to find this "old" issue of Time in his basement or attic, and shortly after that, this kid's life is going directly to HELL! Anybody wanna start a pool to bet how old he is before he takes a baseball bat and beats in her brains (and I'm using the word 'brains" in the BROADEST possible sense here) while she's sleeping – I'm guessing 15!
YOU might do something like that cause obviously you were raised by puritanical parents.
Agreed. I is amazing what gets out. Parents her in neighborhood will not forget and will tell their kids and so on. As a teacher, I can tell you that her kid will endure lots of anguish over her stupid move.
Maybe the kid will be lucky enough not to go to one of the crummy schools where bullying prevails. Maybe he'll even be home-schooled.
Time, got what they wanted out of this, we're all responding right?
Women who breast feed often have orgasms or othe sexual feelings in the process. This could be one reason some women continue nursing when a child is ready to take its driver's test.
Obviously you have never breastfed and are a troll. You don't receive ay sexual pleasure whatsoever.
I wouldn't want to be that kid in high school when one of his friends finds that picture somewhere...... damn.
Naive statement. One thing about long-term nursing (which I know from experience) is that it switches off certain hormones involved in court-ship. It is NOT that kind of experience (and even if it were, women are not men and not only can they fake it, they can suppress it – lucky huh).
Breastfeeding in public should be illegal because the baby blocks the view!
Does she breast feed people other than her son
How could you b so insensitive to the whole Jr High breastfeeding thing?! lol!
As a single woman , I just wanna know why would would you want a walking talking individual that is capable of feeding and hydrating themself by there own hands demanding your boob? If it is the nutritional value, why not pump?
You ever pump before? My wife did for our daughter and it hurts apparently if you do it long enough.
This is where all the stories are missing the point. It is not about breast milk, it is about bonding with the child. Personally i think the same thing can be achieved through lots of hugs and good parenting.
Pumping is painful, causes clogged ducts, and is time consuming.
It is natural for humans to nurse. Children under the age of 5 have a higher risk of death due to illness and a mother's milk provides added protection. Our daughter was born 2 days after a good friend of ours had theirs. My daughter was nursed (until 2 1/2 y/o) the friends mother didn't want the hassle of nursing. And I recall that her baby was constantly sick, while ours virtually never got sick. Our pediatrician said it was the nursing and pureed vegetables we added to her diet at 6 months. Knowing there are great benefits to nursing and the bond between mom and baby are probably the reason why some moms do it for that long. Besides, even at 3 kids don't 'talk' that much ... just words, but not conversations.
This is just stupid. Almost as stupid as what the GOP has brought as a strategy since G.W. finished up his last term. Its all media hype. CNN will get a good week out of this. It will probably be sustained in among the top four positions for that length of time........and a lot of you folks will keep looking at it and discussing it.Heck, they may even cycle it for a second week. Its a young boy (not a baby, not a toddler) sucking on a fit woman's boob. Its National Enquirer caliber.
Kids these days don't have a chance. They are either poverty stricken and abused emotionally and physically or they are still among the dwindling middle class and being abused intellectually by this kind of stupid crap.
It is not even a debate. It is hype and it is simply being sold. You represent a page hit and that represents a sponsor paying big bucks for advertising. So what if it's fabricated.....right?
lNext.....somebody in the GOP will try to make Obama declare how old he was up until the time he last breast fed from his mother.
Mr President, how does it feel to be a black man sucking the breasts of a white woman?
That is up to the family! for goodnes' sake. Some children are ready to be weaned at 6 months, some aren't ready until they are older. It is very individual, doesn't harm the child in any way, and offers many benefits. I started to wean my son at 24 months (bedtime nursing only after a year old), but he got the flu and really needed the added hydration, nutrients, and antibodies I provided. So the process slowed and he was weaned completely at 27 months. I observed his behavior and could tell when he didn't need it anymore. It kept him extremely healthy for the first 2 years, he rarely was ill and even then it was mild. I was very glad to be able to offer him the extended benefits of nursing.It was a lifesaver to be able to hydrate and comfort him when he was feverish.
People really misconstrue how much an older child nurses. They slowly wean themselves in most cases.
What were we discussing? Oh, yes, breastfeeding. Who's mad at their mom now for stopping?
i really dont understand the controversy. i'd be feeding on those funbags to if i had the chance.
It's up to the parent to decide. However, I have the feeling that picture will come back to haunt that kid for the rest of his life.
Yes, look at little Jesus. He never lived it down did he?
Yeh, I could latch onto that!
Ugh. Don't care- why do I have to be subjected to every freak and controversial issue? This is opinion-not news. It's almost as stupid as newscasters referencing tweets as news.
I was breast fed up to age 5. It is child's birth and God given right. End of discussion.
I breast fed my daughter for 11 months, she breast fed her daughter until 12 months of age....and will breast feed her son after he is born....I just don't want to look at some little boy suckling his momma on the front page of any magazine....bad taste.
If I was that kid, I would breastfeed till I was 18. What a MILF
You would suck on your mom's boobs until you were 18 if she would've let you?
What is wrong with you Americans.
It's not about the breast or breast-feeding! The issue here is breast-feeding a FOUR-YEAR OLD, as well as this "attachment parenting" crap! It's all absolutely ridiculous and irresponsible. That 4-year old kid was on Good Morning America and he was a BABY! He acted like a baby! That's what treating them in such a way does! What an incredibly stupid and selfish parent...
some anger; detachment issues. It's ok, let it out. But buy the mag!
This is the very reason why 25 is the new 21. Mothers letting their children suckle from the proverbial teat for far too long. It diminishes the self reliance and confidence of kids trying to develop into their own.
25 is the new 21?? Was there ever a difference? You must be 26..
Her son is 3 years old and she still breast feeding him. She has this picture on the magazine like she is proud or something. Many many perverts are going to be looking at this picture. That is disgusting for her to do that to her son at the age of 3.
Amen. Breast-feeding is natural and beautiful, but her kid is almost four.
Brent, breast feeding may be natural, but it isn't beautiful. Sitting on a toliet and taking a dump is natural too. Is it beautiful? If you say so.
So a pervert may look at this picture. Is there a problem with this? Why is looking at a beautiful womans body such a bad thing? Answer that one very simple question for me please. Look a womans half breast!!! OMG! Someone might see this, someone that takes great pleasure in seeing this might see this... and what??? What exactly will be the outcome if someone takes a good long hard look at this and decides to get aroused by it. BFD! Who the hell cares? What harm does it cause?
Till six years old? Please, Mom said I had beginning of teeth at 9 months and she weened me off the breasts. I can remember drinking from a regular cup in pictures at two. We grew up faster back in those days.
How old is the breastfeeding child? 6? That's disgusting.
Reading the article helps. He's 3.
I think 'Time' should've run the more-controversial alternative cover: http://www.omdoubleg.com/entertainment/j-lo-and-casper-smarts-time-magazine-cover-deemed-too-controversial/
you go girl! be a mom on your own terms.
Breastfeeding a 7 year old is not natural and can not be heatlhy. I don't care what any one of you says. It is just NOT. You mothers that do that, need to find other ways to heal your complexes. I hope you have money or very good health insurance because those kids being breast-fed beyond 2 years are going to need some serious therapy....
If I had been breast feed til that age I would have remembered it also. It was only a couple of years later that I had my cousin"s (fours of age) panties off to find out the difference(me five). I don:t remember much before three. But I am retired now. What a crazy world we have now.
Why stop at 3 or 16, 20..........
I am an expectant mother and I personaly wouldn't choose to breastfeed beyond 6-12 months because I feel there are other ways to deliver the right nutrition to my child and emotionally bond with him. I think the argument that mothers who breastfeed for an extended period of time by letting the child decide when they are ready to stop is a bit strange – since when do we let 3 year olds or 5 year olds decide what's best for them nutritionally or from a mental development standpoint? We decide as parents that there comes a point in time when they should be potty trained. Going to the bathroom is normal/natural, but as parents and members of society we decide at a certain age it's more appropriate and a necessary part of emotional development to stop using diapers and start using a toilet. Do we just let the child decide when to do that too? I shudder to think about parents applying this same logic and keeping kids in diapers until age 8.
Nutritionally best? Why do y'all think cows milk is so great for a 2 year old? Brainwashed again, I see.
I think once your child is born you will have a different perspective.
It isn't about the child 'deciding' as if it is an adult. It's more about being ready. If your child isn't ready to potty train when you are ... boy are you in for a horrible battle. And you'll have a defiant child with control issues. And by the way he won't use the toilet until he's ready emotionally, physically, and intellectually. If you yell and force and brow-beat him until he complies then he'll probably just end up with low self esteem later on.
The thing is (as you will find out) children and born pretty much complete. That doesn't mean that they understand the consequences of their actions or that you should just let them do what they want, but it does mean that at a very early age they have desires, needs, emotions, and a will. They feel the same way you do when they can't have what they want. It is better if you approach it from the perspective that you are teaching them how to deal with the world and their emotions/desires and setting helpful loving boundaries for them – rather than that you need to control them and dismiss their concerns and limitations just because you are the mom. Teach them to love and respect themselves and they will not end up seeking self destructive behaviors. You are obviously the one with all the power and authority in the relationship – if you abuse it they will simply grow to dislike you when they are older.
There is already too much over-coddling by parents going on and it hasn't produced good results. What it produces is selfish narcissism. Just look at the now grown offspring of the helicopter parents and "everybody gets a trophy without putting out any effort" generation who are now parents themselves. The following is so typical and it's sad:
Just last night I was leaving a restaurant at 10 PM in a very busy galleria complex. There was a 5 year old girl and 7 year old (obese) boy chasing each other around the parking lot without any parental supervision at all and totally out of line of sight of the parents. The parents were inside getting swacked on still another Margarita instead of watching their children. They couldn't be bothered with that or getting them to bed at a reasonable hour!
Someone could have very easily backed over these running children or abducted them. At 10 PM on a school night these children should have been home in bed for a couple hours already, not running around a Galleria parking lot! God forbid these narcissitic, selfish pigs for parents should cramp their style by putting the kids needs first! If
I had had a cell phone with me I would have called the police for child endangerment. Instead I stopped the children on the way out to my car and told them to go inside and sit with their parents! No, over coddling doesn't work! – This is the kind of adults it produces! Sickening!
Sounds more like they're neglecting, not coddling, their kids.
What's really weird is how people are fed milk from a cow well into adulthood.
Once this child is old enough to really be aware of the world outside of his family, he is going to be humilated by this picture. No kid would want to have a picture of himself nursing at 3 years old on the cover of Time magazine. His head is going to explode.
Little thought seems to have been given as to how this photograph might affect him.
I still try to breast feed today and I'm 40. In fact they kicked me out of the strip club for it yesterday.
Shrug. This isn't that unusual in other parts of the world. Only Americans who get upset with breastfeeding but like breasts on the runway, movie posters and in the clubs have a problem with it. God forbid you should use a body part as nature intended.
I like to pee, but I don't do it whenever and wherever I want. . .
It is also not unusuall in other parts of the worlds for people to live with their parents and the parents to tend to their kid's every need well into adulthood. But that doesn't mean that it is healthy.....I am not American and still find this weird...
Yet again we find another woman trying to get any form of attention she can.....such a pity her parents neglected her as a kid; we wouldnt be suffering from her insecurity.
I'm a proponent of breastfeeding for its most important function, providing nutrition and sustenance for your child. When it gets to the point of a toddler using your breast as a pacifier or just comes over and pulls your breast out so they can suck on it for awhile then it's time to wean them...
I can't help but to consider the irony that we view drinking milk that came from our mother's breasts past a young age as questionable, yet we drink milk from cows' breasts (granted not directly) throughout the rest of our lives. Believe it or not, nature intended cow's breast milk to be for cows. I'm not a scientist, but common sense leads me to conclude that mother's milk is probably better for our systems than cows milk. I agree that nobody wants to see public breastfeading – cover up, but I think from a health standpoint it makes perfect sense as long as the kid hasn't hit puberty yet and still thinks of it as food. On the flip side of the coin though, in the rest of the natural world, it seems that mother animals typically stop feeding their young when they have the
... capacity otherwise to find and digest their own food
Nothing more than a selfish mother using her own child to gain fame.
What a sick-o. This woman is nuts.
I'm all for it. I still practice it, and I'm standing in line for the Time mag babe. three kids and firm.
"Attachment parenting," the idea that you are attending to the individual needs of the baby, is actually a feeble excuse for overly attached moms to attend to their own needs, not the baby's. If breast feeding and sleeping with your child makes you feel like a better mom, go for it. But the real fact is, it's more for your benefit than kiddo's.
At some point, there are age appropriate changes parents need to make – moving from pureed baby food to solid foods. Potty training. Graduating from a crib to a bed. Sending a child off to school. You are doing a child a disservice by delaying these milestones "until the child feels ready." Why not let the child continue to soil a diaper until they are ready to go on their own? It's natural, right? No, most parents wean the child away from diapers to the training potty to the real deal, because that is an age-appropriate milestone a child achieves by a certain time. This "close attachment" stuff is merely moms not wanting to give up the tasks of moms. Just admit it and move on. Otherwise, you're just using your child as your excuse for this behavior.
HEY! FREE food for longer, better immune systems, and heck, it's what breasts are for, duh... So why is this an issue? Or did we forget we are mammals? My son breastfed til 4 and he has an iron clad immune system. My daughter weened herself at a year, and she is always getting colds.
Amen to that. I was breastfed until 24 and haven't been sick a day in my life... Happy mother's day, mom.
... capacity otherwise to find and digest their own food.
I find it creepy when a mother refuses to stop breast feeding their kid after a certain age. It's time to let go!
Bet that kids class mates will like him. Three kids and still firm.