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 (3,790 Responses)
  1. TexDoc

    When the child helps pick out the bra, it's time to stop breast feeding.

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

      With breasts that small, I'm surprised the kid has a pot belly

      May 11, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
    • Dennis Green

      My son is 5 and still breastfeeds. Personally I love it because she gives me milk with my coffee in the mornings.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
    • arose4yu

      no way...after teeth...no teet.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
    • MattD

      Personally, I find those breasts delightful. Just about perfect.

      May 11, 2012 at 17:04 | Report abuse |
  2. Baby bear

    I was told by our pediatrician that a child's immune system doesn't mature until 3 years old. That's why I nursed both kids till they were 3. They're teens now, and very independant, intelligent and talented kids. The hardly get sick.
    And yes, I was a working mom; sometimes 60 hours a week. So I nursed them when I can, and pump when I can't.

    When I nursed my kids, there was never a sexual thought. Whoever had orgasms during breastfeeding is sick.

    May 11, 2012 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lilgtogirl

      The only sick thing is women who do this. No one needs to breast feed that long. Its ridiculous. I cannot believe there is a man weak enough to knock you up because you need help. There is nothing sweet, maternal, or even pleasant about the idea of a woman who is so attached to her kids that she cannot even teach them to eat. You are disgusting. And I hope your husband's tiny little willy drops off so you don't have any more pathetic kids.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
    • arose4yu

      wow to the response below. You could just say you don't agree. Why all the hate? Are you a mom? If you're not then you just need to shut your pie hole. I would have never breastfed that long, but that was my choice. As long as the kids aren't abused and they grow up healthy and loved then so be it.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
    • tgar112

      I do not know who the classless child that responded so rudely to you is, but you are precisely correct and every pediatrician agrees with you as do most other cultures. I think we can all agree the commenter is not, and has not the intellect to ever become a doctor. Leave the trash at the curb and stick with science.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
    • arose4yu

      correction: response above mine not below.

      May 11, 2012 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
    • tgar112


      May 11, 2012 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
    • babybear

      My kids started eating solid food since they were 5 months old. I nurse them because it is known to boost their immune system. In their first 3 years, they've only had one ear infection and one flu. Healthy otherwise. So, I do believe that it helped their immune system.
      I don't look down on women who chose not to nurse their children. Because I believe that mothers know what's best for their children. And I know what's best for mine. Hope you know what's best for your children. If you have any....

      May 11, 2012 at 18:23 | Report abuse |
  3. momof2

    I think everyone can agree that breast feeding is best and I think it is up to the individual mother, hopefully with guidance from her trusted pediatrician, as to when enough is enough.

    From my own personal experience, hospitals do not do enough to positively support a breast feeding mother. When I finally tried to breastfeed my 1st child after she spent 52 days in NICU (I pumped like a mad woman to make sure she had the best of what I could give her), she could not get the breathing and sucking coordination and she would stop breathing & turn blue. All the nurse would say was "She'll get it, just keep her there, she will start breathing again when she is ready". Really? I chose to keep pumping because I could not watch my daughter stop breathing – it scared me to death! I only made it 7 months before I dried up. It was heartbreaking. With my 2nd, the nurses were no help even when I asked. I guess they figured with my 2nd one I should know what to do. My milk also never in, even with medication. I was again faced with formula and a mega-crap ton of guilt that I still feel. I wonder how things would have been different if the nurses would have taken time with me and not jumped to conclusion or been in such a hurry to go somewhere else.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • anna1953

      Hi, momof2,

      Boy! Does your experience reflect mine. Our daughter was born without an esophagus and was in the NICU for 6 weeks. I was so determined she get breast milk, that I refused all pain meds within 12 hours of my emergency C-section, so I could pump milk for her.

      She was finally fed (via a G-tube) at five weeks; and they let me feed her orally at six weeks. She was RAVENOUS. I was SURE I had way more than enough milk frozen - but by 8 weeks, it was all gone. She required 24/7 care; I was pumping 8X's per day - and I remember when the milk ran out. I was so exhausted and stressed that I called the "Milk Bank" to BEG for breast milk for her, but was told it is only for the babies in NICU. I had multiple lactation consultants come to the house to try to help - none succeeded.

      Then - I remembered: a tape I'd bought while I was pregnant, by Dr. Sears, called "Breastfeeding your Baby". One side was Dr. Sears explaining the benefits of breastfeeding. The other side was a hypotherapist speaking to the mother. I put on the hyponosis side: I was absolutely stunned - because I had pumped more than TWICE the amount I had up to that point.

      From then on, I played that hyponosis tape 8X's/day (I would usually have my infant sitting in a little chair close to me, so I could look at her) - and milk was no longer a problem. Eventually, I was able to pump just 4 -5X's/day to get enough milk. (BTW, I was working close to full-time by the time she was 4 months old.) She received SOLELY breast milk till age 17 months. The thing that is so amazing to me is that - though I had to have listened to that tape 3,000 times - I don't remember ANYTHING the hypotherapist said.

      I've made copies of that tape, and given it to a dozen women with problems like I had - all with success.

      P.S. My husband comes from a culture where breast-feeding is the ONLY way to feed your child. My sister-in-law told me that her mother still breast-fed her at age 10, when she was going to sleep. My husband and his family are THE warmest, kindest people I have ever known in my life.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:22 | Report abuse |
    • lulu616

      I'm sorry no one had a thought to call lactation for you, or that the nurses on the unit hadn't been taught how to work with new mothers and breastfeeding. We have a lactation consultant on our mother/baby unit and it's been amazing watching her work the new moms and babies. I wish everyone had the opportunity to talk to a lactation consultant. They are vitally important. Congrats to you for working so hard for your babies.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:41 | Report abuse |
  4. doogie53

    I had breastfed my kids but as one person commented even a cow knows when to wean their offspring. This is a need the mother has, not the kid. This is ridiculous. Even 50 yrs ago or 100 yrs ago women didn't breastfeed that long. It isn't normal. And, I want to put my 2 cents in about public breastfeeding. I don't think that it right either. Breastfeeding is supposed to be done in a quiet, relaxed atmosphere so mom and baby can have those special moments together. So it should be done in a private setting. Even if you sit in your car or somewhere quiet. Keep things special between mom and baby, don't invite the world too.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • svann

      First you say a mother naturally knows when its time, then you criticize them for not following your timetable. Which is it?

      May 11, 2012 at 12:22 | Report abuse |
    • anna1953

      Dear christophermncne,

      What's natural for one culture, is unnatural for another.

      READ MY P.S., ABOVE!

      May 11, 2012 at 12:24 | Report abuse |
    • Grondahl

      "A quiet setting"? Like, what, the public bathroom? You don't have to look, y'know. Most women I know use wraps, but the ones that don't (like my wife) do it in such a way that nothing is exposed for the squeamish/perverted roaming eyes.

      They're boobs. It's what they're for.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
    • tgar112

      When my husband's family lived in Cuba is natural to nurse children until 6 years of age. Okay, maybe a bit too far... but three is both typical and a previous contributor hit it right on the head, that is when a child's immune system fully matures. You want to keep your child's immune system fotified in the face of viruses like H1N1 which killed many young healthy children whose immunity was under developed. And I'd like to be polite about the pubic breastfeeding comment, but ideology and taboo that makes a woman a sexual object instead of nature's machine to nurish children, get penthouse images out of your head and out of our society and well, just get over it. We used to think formula was better now look at all the food allergies an autoimmune problems. Our breasts do not belong to men or Playboy, they are there for a solid scientific reason and we would all be better served by a little science and critical thought in this society. Sett the tatas free, and move on:-)

      May 11, 2012 at 12:41 | Report abuse |
    • HR

      I'm sorry Grondahl but if your wife is breastfeeding in public without so much as a baby blanket to cover herself then you can't call people perverts for noticing. They're boobs, you're supposed to keep them covered. I don't understand how people can breastfeed in public without covering themselves. If you can lug around a baby and a diaper bag, you can pack a stupid blanket. I don't have a problem with mother's needing to breastfeed. If they have to do it in public because there's not other option then fine but please, have a little consideration for those who don't necessarily want to see that.

      May 11, 2012 at 14:23 | Report abuse |
    • Grondahl

      That's why I differentiated between Squeamish and Perverted. You can avert your eyes if you don't like it. She's not putting herself on display, and the only way you could see anything, if you really, really tried, was if you were flat on the ground, looking up at her. And if you find yourself in such a position, I think you're the one with a bigger problem.

      I repeat: It's what boobs are for.

      Also, packing a cover into a bag already full to bursting with diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, previously soiled clothes, miscellaneous snacky foods and whatnot turns a carry-on into a suitcase. Besides, once baby learns to play with its environment, nursing wraps become elaborate Peek-A-Boo contraptions.

      May 11, 2012 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
  5. Tuckersdad

    With the disclaimer that what I don't understand about women would sink a battleship:
    Some women are more nurturing than others and that seems to be normal.
    Some kids need a bit more attention and that seems to be normal.
    Breast feeding in public is still a bit uncommon in my experience, and that doesn't seem normal.
    We are all part of the village raising these kids. But each needs their own room to be individuals.
    Even at my advanced age, I must admit that some men are obsessed by breasts. Always have. Sorry, AMYSTERY.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kristen

      So – using your insanely bright logic – a woman who doesn't nurse their child until they're old enough to talk and FEED themselves is less nurturing? That's not ignorant or condescending at all. Your disclaimer is spot on...

      May 11, 2012 at 13:47 | Report abuse |
  6. TJ

    I pity the kid in this picture.

    A) because his name is Grumet
    B) because there's a magazine cover showing him suckling
    C) the dollar cost of lifelong therapy he's going to need from "attachment parenting"
    D) all of the above

    Answer: D.

    Speaking of this "attachment parenting" craziness, is it really a fad or did someone actually stumble onto something? My guess is that it's going to go along the parenting fads of the past – "Tiger Mom" for example??

    May God bless the United States of America and save it from the people who are running it into the ground.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • anna1953

      "Attachment parenting" is NOT "new".

      What's "new" is the way we, in the West, have been raising our children for the past 100 years!!!

      May 11, 2012 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
    • tourinariwen

      Anna attachment parenting has been around for the last 40 or so years. Look around at todays society, it is totally broken. Attachment parenting can work, but usually results in an anxious, unconfident, person or very selfish, "all about me"

      May 11, 2012 at 14:57 | Report abuse |
  7. Susan

    Two of my four children wanted to breastfeed up to age 3. In my opinion, at 3, it was time to let it go. I think it is wonderful for mothers to breastfeed up to that point.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Leslie

    I am sorry but this is so very wrong! I had three children and for me personally breast feeding was not an option for me. I just have a problem seeing a 3 year old boy breastfeeding on his mother. So very very wrong! I did not breast feed; however, I have no issues with women breast feeding for 6 weeks then pump the milk and feed them a bottle. However, to have a 3 year old standing on a chair breast feeding makes me sick to my stomach.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Grondahl

      6 weeks, and then resort to pumping? I know many women who have pumped, and you, ma'am, have never pumped.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
    • anna1953

      Lordy! You don't know ANYTHING about pumping, lady!!!

      SIX WEEKS????? How the h*** do you think the human species has survived over hundreds of thousands of years??? Little namby-pamby 6 weeks of breast feeding, and then "OK, Kid. Enough. Make it on your own." That sounds more like the reptilian way of parenting!!! (It's clearly NOT mammalian!)

      May 11, 2012 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
    • tgar112

      Ummm, a child's health and welfare -- not about your comfort level. Sorry. You couldn't, or didn't, pump, but your advice flies in the face of the Pediatric Association's advice. Perhaps you should withhold speaking until you know what you're saying.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
    • lulu616

      So because you made a choice not to breastfeed, it's okay for you to tell others when to stop with their babies? That's ridiculous. SIX WEEKS? I don't judge anyone for their choices on breastfeeding, but what works for you likely won't work for the majority, and babies rely on breast milk to get much of their immune system from their mother. I sincerely hope you're not walking around telling this information to new mothers. What a shame.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
    • Howie

      Don't talk about things you know nothing about. 6 weeks? Why even bother? Just start with rice pudding from day 1, we don't need no stinking immune system!

      May 11, 2012 at 12:52 | Report abuse |
    • tgar112

      Howie, I think you're on to something man! Maybe the US obesity problem begins here:-) Put that breast down and eat a Big Mac... much less gross. People, people, unless you are a natural born child of these mother's (or their husbands) get off their breasts and out of their parenting. Do something real and become a foster parent or something if you are concerned about child welfare. Too much love and concern could only be a problem in the US.

      May 11, 2012 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
  9. pprty

    No animal treats their offspring like the woman on Time magazine's cover. Humans are changing the rules because of a few mentally deficient mothers. Stop the madness!!!

    May 11, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • anna1953


      May 11, 2012 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
    • tgar112

      Well then, clearly we would have to stop you to do so.

      May 11, 2012 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
    • tmp1356

      I agree. Let's look at other mammals, when do they stop nursing their offspring. Even figuring in the developmental ages, isn't 3, 4, 5 or even 6 a bit long...?

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

    It's nobody's business how long a mother breastfeeds her children. It doesn't matter what anyone else things.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. TJ

    I just remembered a lyric from one of the songs by M. Mathers: (apologies if it's not correct – I'm not a fan but I appreciate his abilities)

    "How (are) you going to feed me Mom? You ain't got no t*ts!"

    May 11, 2012 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. detroitmommy

    This is all about the mother not being able to let go & nothing to do with the child. My oldest son was potty trained completely at 2.5 & talking in sentences. When his baby brother came along he asked if he could have milk too & I told him "No you're a big boy now". He got it. That was that. I can't imagine sitting there and having a child that can talk in sentences say "Hey Mommy, can I have some boob too?". It's ludicrous. Once they have a full set of teeth and can even feed themselves it's time to let them start growing up a bit.

    Btw, both my kids co-slept, breastfed, weaned when they wanted etc. This kind of cover was just done to be controversial. Jumping on the whole Mom war bandwagon. I bet the formula companies love this!

    May 11, 2012 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tgar112

      I would hope you would not want your child to say that at any age 3 years old, 13, or 30. A child normally walks at around one year of age, sometimes younger, is that a problem for you, too, or just the actual sound of their voice?

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

      Wow tgar – what a condescending, nasty post. You're a doll!

      May 11, 2012 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
  13. jassyp101

    I breast fed my daughter for 2 1/2 years. Breast milk is for humans...cow's milk is for calves! It's a personal decision but no one would argue that cow's milk or formula is better for human babies/children than breast milk. I hope that all babies can be breast fed for at least one year!

    May 11, 2012 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tgar112

      To add on here, nearly one fourth of children do not thrive on formula and cow's milk can cause intestinal bleeding in babies under the age of one and a half.

      May 11, 2012 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • jassyp101

      Yes, that is true and a great point to bring up here!

      May 20, 2012 at 12:10 | Report abuse |
  14. svann

    I find it odd that there can be puritanical ethics about something that has no basis in the bible. It's just wrong? Why is it wrong?

    May 11, 2012 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Evelyn

    I breastfed my son for 37 months and I am not ashamed to say so, today he is a healthy, smart, athletic 11 yr old and never gets sick! Whoever associates sexuallity with breastfeeding has a sick mind!

    May 11, 2012 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Diane

    I think we need to realize it works for some and it doesn't for others. I, personally breastfed 4 children (2 were twins). I found it to be wonderful and natural! Back in 1984 Iwas in the closet for how long I breastfeed!

    May 11, 2012 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jim Stanek

      scary. at some point that will turn into a Tort.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
    • tgar112

      Hey, I think I was in the closet next door. Thank God things are changing. Cheers for having the guts to follow your instincts. Your kids will be well served.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
  17. christophermcne

    "The truth is that what Time magazine may have unwittingly captured and been party to was a grotesque form of psychological abuse—the parading into public of an intimate moment (intimate for mother and child) at the sole direction of that child’s mother, who didn’t stop to think that her child may not be able at the age of three to know what he thinks about the whole thing, much less to stop it, if he wanted to."

    I'd hate to be this kid in 5th grade when someone brings a copy of the magazine to school.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. LostinSLC

    Until the teeth grow in, go for it

    May 11, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • arose4yu

      exactly. Teeth, bite. no.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
  19. Jim Stanek

    I think Mayim Bialik would be happy to have anything or anyone come in physical contact with her b oo b for longer than it takes to look at her face. No surprises there!!

    May 11, 2012 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lulu616

      I'm sure you're incredibly good looking.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:52 | Report abuse |
  20. BF mom

    I do think this is a sexualized exploitation of this issue. Ms. Grummet is a shapely attractive woman. Do you really think they would have put an older, tired-looking, overweight, unattractive woman on the cover. It is not necessary an inappropriate topic to explore, however, it certainly did not need to make the cover...

    May 11, 2012 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. camelspyder

    When my son starts walking on his own, he will no longer be breast fed. That kid on the TIME cover looks old enough to start enjoying that from any woman. Breast feeding a kid that old is just wrong. 3 is too old in my opinion. Mothers like to do it for 3 years simply because they are not ready to break that bond. Parents who "coddle" or "nurture" childen beyond the limits wonder why they end up being adult wierdos still living at home.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • arose4yu

      yeah there is a point. to stop....but each parent is different......but at the same time I'd rather have the adult "weirdo" at home as you say that will help me out when I'm old than the callous child that just sticks me in a nursing home somewhere and doesn't visit or watch out for me.

      May 11, 2012 at 13:06 | Report abuse |
  22. Cartman

    Totally t*ts!

    May 11, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. greg

    Can you imagine this child when he grows up....Poor child–how embarassing this will be for him as he grows up as well. We all know how cruel teasing/young kids at school can be. This little guy will be in therapy by 7 years old for sure

    May 11, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • iamme

      Not only is he on the cover of Time, but this photo is also all over the internet. Poor kid. Others will be cruel I'm afraid.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:36 | Report abuse |
  24. iBod

    Believe it or not, I have very faint memories of when I was three. Memories for me begin to get clear when I think about being four. Uh, my point? You know your son is too old enough to be breastfed when he's at that age that he can begin remembering events in his life. I understand the whole "biological" reasons; but don't forget the psychological effects; because no matter, if you stop at the average age where breastfeeding stops, you kid will turn out just FINE.

    I don't think it was wise for this mother to put her child on the cover of Time, at the age of three, sucking on her breast, and facing the camera. As soon as his classmates are old enough to do their own research, they'll eventually find out about it: "Hey, that's the kid that was still sucking on Mommy's boobies when he was three." Also, thinking back to the whole "Memory" side of it, there could be a downturn for that kid when he has his own wife someday and when he's doing some sensual stuff with her, he gets a sense of deja vu: "Hm, why does this taste familiar?" And then BOOM! Immediately he's thinking of his mom while he's having sex with his wife.

    Yeah, not cool.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tgar112

      Wow. Where'd you get your PhD? Interesting you said "son" and not child. The sexualization issue, hate to tell you, is in your own psyche not the child's.

      May 11, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
    • iBod

      Wow, who says I am not on my way to receiving my PhD as we speak? Perhaps you should show a little respect.

      As for the "son" remark: At that point I was referring to [this] boy on the cover of Time. I very clearly state informally afterwards "kid" in reference to all.

      As for the psychological effects, they do exist. Again, it's the whole "It's on the Internet" thing that will lead to this kid being picked on - there's always one tool at school who will find it "grotesque" and tease him for it. I don't think of breastfeeding as "sexual"...The second paragraph of my initial post is mere humor/satire; nothing to take seriously.

      I think we should also make clear that I don't find it "grotesque." We are in a developed world. There's absolutely no reason to continue breastfeeding your child when they are three years old.

      And, to be honest, I think for you to say those of us who believe it as unnecessary - and it is unnecessary since we are in a developed world - say it is unnecessary for "sexual" reasons is the worst defense.

      Grow up and come up with better rebuttals to my argument other than "Where'd you get your PhD?" I absolutely hate people like you who just criticize without giving well-formulated insight into the matter. I know I am using my education to formulate mine; not my ego.

      May 11, 2012 at 13:49 | Report abuse |
    • Kristen

      Ignore tgar. She's a nasty, mommy-troll who's all over this board lambasting people who don't think breastfeeding until 20 is necessary.

      May 11, 2012 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
    • iBod

      Yeah, I figured, Kristen. She has certainly made her mark very clear and populous on this board lol.

      May 11, 2012 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
  25. Ethics Board

    Personally, I don't care if someone breastfeeds their kid till they're 30, that's there choice. The problem that I have is the people try to make the argument that breastfeeding is some miracle in child development and that it ends up being, "my kid is better than yours" or "breast is best". The problem is, that's just not true.

    Does breastfeeding provide immunoglobulins (really only IgA) to infants? Yep, but if they go to daycare or around other kids, this benefit is substantially reduced. One or two less ear infections, maybe it's worth, maybe not. And this probably has not longterm benefits to health, but there hasn't been enough longterm studies comparing breast and bottle to know.

    Does breastfeeding improve maternal weight loss post-partum? This all seems anecdotal.

    Does breastfeeding improve intelligent? The evidence is there for this one. You can find literature that argues for and against this for 20 years and it's still controversial.

    Does it help bonding? Initially yes, but at some point you could find arguments for yeah and nay. Freud would certainly say nay, but that's all matter of opinion.

    Is breastfeeding cheaper? This is certainly a yes and probably the biggest reason to breast feed.

    Really, all the arguments for and against breastfeeding are a matter of opinion (with the exception of cost). If you look at scientific literature, the "breast is best" argument doesn't hold a lot of water, it's more like "breast is the same as bottle".

    May 11, 2012 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ethics Board

      Whoops, that should read, "the evidence is not there for this one" in relating breastfeeding to intelligence.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse |
    • JM

      I am curious as to what "literature" you read that indicates that breastfeeding is not extremely beneficial beyond a financial sense. Read medical journals. The proof is there. In fact, in my husband's most recent pediatric medical publication, they refer to breast milk as "Liquid gold".

      May 11, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
    • WhatNow

      You are right, but most people don't like to hear that there is no real evidence to support their beliefs. Many mothers in other countries continue breast feeding for longer periods because they are poor. Breast feeding, for many, is the only source of food for their child and there is simply no money for formula.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
    • tgar112

      The literature is very clear, read it. There is an average 10 point advantage to IQ for breastfed babies, unless we choose to ignore the American Pediatric Association and several major studies from John Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, and Brown University.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
    • Howie

      Do some research before you spout off. You are simply incorrect on all points.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
    • WhatNow

      tgar...The literature is not clear. Simple correlations are never enough to prove cause. Perhaps you need to read Scientific American and other scientific journals. IQ is more likely related to the mothers IQ and genetics. Nothing is ever that simple.

      May 11, 2012 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
    • Ethics Board


      "Liquid Gold"? That phrase has no place in scientific literature. That is just editorialization.

      Again, people can do want they want, but to claim that breastmilk is "Liquid Gold" is just meant to stigmatize people. So the mother who has HIV, or the mother taking Lithium to control her bipolar disorder, both of who can't breastfeed, telling them that their children aren't going to be healthy or intelligent because they can't feed "Liquid Gold" is propaganda.

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

      More of more of that terrible "literature" out there:


      No change in intelligence, mortality, slight association with decreased disease in breastfeeding (though association is not cause and efecrt and it didn't change mortality anyway), no change in maternal weight loss.. Anyway, people can do whatever.

      May 11, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
  26. ctay

    All the children I know who breastfed for more than 2 years, are clingy and socially inept. Maybe they will even out later, but the moms are creating so much more work for themselves and their children by extending separation anxiety. There are plenty of other ways to bond with your children than keeping them on the breast.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. JaneDoe

    I think this has a little more to do with the mother of the 3 year old wanting to extend the weight loss benefits of breastfeeding. Also, I believe that the attachment being sought is more of a comfort for the mother than the child. Breastfeeding is great, but it hits a point where it goes way past creepy.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. iceload9

    There's a British comedy where the son wants to feed and starts repeating the pet name to his mother to breast feed. He's in his late 20's sitting with his fiancee.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mary

      LOL but a great way to get him to come home for lunch

      May 11, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
  29. palintwit

    I predict that someday soon the Sarah Palin family trailer will become as big a vacation destination as Graceland. It will be called Sarahland. Teabaggers, birthers and evangelicals from the four corners of the bible belt will make the pilgrimage, gladly paying $25, $35, or more for the chance to tour Sarah Palin's trailer and to go out back and see the actual outhouse where she took her morning dump.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. MrSleeve

    I have a question . . . why is this so news worthy that it deserves to be on the cover of a national news magazine?

    May 11, 2012 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Where is the sanity?

    The cover may be controversial, but another article elsewhere reports that the mom has her own blog where "many" photos of her breastfeeding her almost 4-year-old son appear (yes I've heard reports that he's not three, but almost four).

    While I'm a strong advocate for breastfeeding, this situation seems way over-the-top and for the mom's ego, and sadly not for the child's health or well-being. The pose alone is ridiculous and unnatural.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kayads77

      " (yes I've heard reports that he's not three, but almost four)."

      Ummm...if he is "almost four", then yes, he's still three. Epic logic fail.

      May 11, 2012 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
  32. JustaGuy

    I'll just belly up to the beotch and have another one, thank you !

    May 11, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. JM

    I breastfed 3 children: 1 year with my 1st child, (had to stop due to pregnancy and the fact that I went into pre-term labor with my her), my son until he was 2-and-a-half., and my newest 7 months (had to quit due to ovarian tumor and surgery). Don't regret it for one second. They're all 3 extremely healthy and very intelligent. I did not nurse in public, but only because I was not comfortable with it, not that I cared what anyone thought.

    Breasts are so over-sexualized in today's society that it seems most people forget that they're used to nourish babies and toddlers. When I was in Haiti on medical mission trips, it was not uncommon to see a woman nursing a 5 or 6 year old. To me, in America, that's WAY too old. However, in a place like that, it's either breast milk, contaminated water, or nothing at all. Nobody batted an eye in Haiti when we saw that.

    I think the TIME cover is meant to shock – and it does to people who are uneducated about extended nursing and the benefits that are still there. It portrays breastfeeding in a negative light. I wonder if they mention that the medical societies recommend a minimum of 1 year and up to 3 is beneficial to the child? I wouldn't nurse a child past the 2-and-a-half mark personally, but I am not going to judge anyone who thinks it's best for their children.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. jules

    I think it is no one's business how long a mother and child decide to breastfeed. The child weens then they are ready....it is rather sad to force quitting on a child that is not ready. This child is most likely just getting to nurse once maybe twice a day....he maily eats normal food! BTW- what is sexual about your mother's breasts? NOTHING! Why would he be tramatized by what he has always known to be comforting and normal? He wouldn't!

    May 11, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. JohnHruban

    Put sexual gratification from breast feeding. in your search column and see how much you might learn. It's surprising how many breast feeders do have orgasms. I'm not knocking the fact, just referring to what is true. If you have a problem with that, it's yours, not mine.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RST1960

    Q:What do you call it when a woman is breastfeeding twins at baseball game?
    A: Two out and two on.
    Rim shot!

    May 11, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Jason

    That breastfeeding is healthier than formula is well accepted by the medical establishment now, and it's basic common sense. As to how long is "right", that's not Time Magazine's nor anybody else's business. Time and CNN just need something to get their repressed readership stirred up about, to sell their pathetic advertizements. To the commenters here who would like to run other people's private lives, people like you are why the government would like to run my private life. Thanks a lot.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. pbraswell

    My wife tried in earnest to breast feed our twins. Believing it was the right thing to do and would be best for both mother and children was her primary motivation. As it turned out, it was painful, difficult and stressful. We both underestimated the shear level of effort breastfeeding took, especially with twins. If you don't mind being connected to a machine (breast pump) or child nearly 24 hours per day, sore and stressed there's no denying it's a positive thing. We came to the same conclusion: sometimes breastfeeding works, sometimes it doesn't. There shouldn't be a stigma associated with NOT breastfeeding and NO child ever suffered irrevocable harm from formula.

    What gets me is society's reaction. The "Just don't give up" from the army of lactation consultants and the cross looks from friends "Oh, you're using formula?" is never ending. Yes, absolutely! And just as soon as they're old enough we will let them chew on lead paint and play with daddy's nail gun. The lack of perspective is astounding!

    And to address the question, enough is enough already! Breastfeeding until 3? Why not 5 or 6? These are the parents who certainly will complain that their kids don't make any goal despite the fact that they suck at soccer, will argue with their kids college professors over grades and help their kid negotiate salary for their first job.

    Our number one priority as parent is getting our kids to grow up into self-assured, self-relent, humble and decent human beings. Maybe we should consider "UN-attachment" parenting?

    May 11, 2012 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Howie

      In fact, 10's of THOUSANDS of infants have been KILLED by formula. Recently. Do a little research, try googling "tainted formula". Not breastfeeding is akin to child abuse. Not at least attempting it (and kudos to you for doing so!) is criminal. Would you put your infant in a sealed bag until hypoxic and nearly dead? Why not? Failing to breastfeed has the same effect on a developing brain as oxygen deprivation, approximately a 10 point IQ loss. Add major immune deficiencies, and it is just crazy that everyone doesn't make every effort to breast feed as long as possible. Also, mothers who breastfeed for at least one year of their lives have an 80% reduced chance of getting breast cancer. Other than a little discomfort, there is not one valid reason for failing to feed your infant this way.

      May 11, 2012 at 13:09 | Report abuse |
    • Kristen

      Howie – you are a grade-A idiot. I hope you're not really this ignorant and nasty and are just trolling.
      Oh – and amen pbraswell – on point 100%. Don't let fools like howie get you down...

      May 11, 2012 at 13:58 | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Pbraswell, to clarify my post just before your comment, I would also consider a parent's right to decide whether to breastfeed or not falls under the same heading of it's their own business. Our kids were breastfed and we believe it's best all other things being equal—but I hate to hear about the hectoring endured by those who decide otherwise for ANY reason. It is of course a moral obligation for each parent to be as well educated as possible. Peace to you and may your kids grow up healthy by whatever means according to your own best judgment and efforts.

      May 11, 2012 at 14:02 | Report abuse |
  39. momnmo


    "Better a government "suggested" garden than a large tray of Sarah Palin's s'mores."

    HA! I'd eat Sarah Palin's s'mores any day over Obamas 'altered' foods. Have a clue..about the same time we damned saturated fat (found in breast milk...brain development, folks) switched to margarine instead of butter and then went 'fat free crazy', Alzheimer's, Autism, allergy's SKYROCKETED! Putting kids on skim or even 2% milk is child abuse. Forcing a child to eat an egg white omelet instead of feeding the nutrient rich yolk is as well. This mentality is what leads 9 year olds to wonder if they're fat...but no one to talk to cause mommy is at the tanning salon or gym. Then comes home with her 'Obama approved sack of fat free crap and veggies'. Veggies are GREAT! but you need fat to properly assimilate the nutrients. OK.. my BFF Sarah Palin and I are lunching...gotta run..and guess what!?..I got the energy to do it, cause my momma breast fed me and I don't eat fat free crap. I also exercise without your soon to be government enforced guidelines.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Nana of 3

    Breastfeeding is a beautiful wonderful God given blessing for mother and child no matter how long or short a time time a mother chooses however that is not what is disturbing about this situation for me it's the sexy model pose and pitiful expression on the childs face – what have we become?

    May 11, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. GIUK

    Breast feeding is fine. But only the mother should do it.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. terry

    This kid didn't have a choice about being on the cover of Time for national viewing, but the Mom sure had a choice about exposing this kid to this national attention and something is VERY wrong with this mother for that. But it's soooo NATURAL, right? Well so is using the bathroom. Is she going to put this kid on the cover of Time next week showing him using the bathroom? No normal person would expose their kid to this national attention.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. AJ

    This cover has nothing to do with "attachment parenting" and everything to do with the needy, narcissistic mother who is screaming "LOOK AT ME!" I'm old enough to have been brought up when breast feeding was the norm and my mother was unable so I got alternatives. Now, in my late 60's I'm happy healthy and well adjusted. As someone pointed out attachment parenting is another fad, new or old it makes no difference. Posting it on the cover of an international magazine it not going to make it anything more. When the child is old enough to stand in line at the grocery store saying "Booby mommy, booby" it's time.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • terry

      You surely said a correct mouthful !!

      May 11, 2012 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
  44. Carolyn Manees

    Anybody heard of a breast pump? If mother's milk is the answer for a child this age...Use a pump!!

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

    United States as usual, is making more of a thing about breast feeding than any other Country in the world.
    But I do think it is a natural thing and should be accepted just as joggers,cyclists and walkers. It's not a big deal at all.

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

    Why is breastfeeding so controversial in this country? It makes no sense. Have common sense folks - breast is best for our children. Yes – it doesn't work for every mom and we have formula for those that choose not to breastfeed. And the World Health Organization recommended breastfeeding for a minimum of one year. It provides nutrients and antibodies that formula cannot. We are talking about the health of our children - and there is NO research that suggests that extended breastfeeding is harmful...it is only helpful. Yes, it may not be the norm. But that's ok! Gues what – it is the norm in many other countries. As for public breastfeeding – many moms do it without you even being aware. And if you choose to understand what that mom is doing with a blanket over her shoulder and a baby/tot in her arms – know that's providing the best that she can for that little one and if she's hungry in Walmart – so be it. What truly amazes me is how uneducated our population is – and i'm so glad that extended breastfeeding and attachment parenting is on the rise. Hopefully when my little girl has babies, and she chooses to breastfeed her children for longer than 6 months – no one will say a word. It won't be celebrated or criticized...it would just be the norm.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tgar112

      Absolutely. Well said.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
    • terry

      It boils down to having some CLASS and not intentionally drawing attention to yourself. The woman on this cover has done a gross injustice to this kid and she will hear his anger when he grows up and sees this national news covwerage, all for the attention this nut mother wanted. No normal person would have their kid in this photo for national review, whether you agree about timing of breastfeeding or not. VERY disturbed womanhere in this photo for doing this national; exposure to her kid.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:58 | Report abuse |
  47. Les Vance

    All of the women portrayed seem to be relatively privileged. I know too many women who are lucky to get six weeks off work to care for their infant. And they certainly don't have the option of pumping during breaks.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. devo

    Only recently, when you consider how long humans have been on the planet, is breastfeeding done for so short a time. So don't be so shocked you uptight idiots. I breast fed for 8 months when my doctor said only 3 (a while back). Now they say 6, who's to say?

    May 11, 2012 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. J.E.

    I breastfed both my children until they were 2 years old. I think that's plenty. They were eating good food by then & were not hard to wean. I applaud anyone who breastfeeds 6 months to 2 years, but think much beyond that is too much. I did have a friend, who breastfed her baby & was still letting her 3 year old breastfeed. I did not approve, but it was her business.
    My mother remembered from the Depression era when migrants stopped and worked for her Dad on the farm for a bit. The mother was nursing her 10 year old daughter. I always thought that that might have been the only way the starving child of the Depression was able to get food, but, of course, don't know the whole story.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. pprty

    Time Magazine carefully chose a picture of an attractive woman, not an unattractive, overweight mother. That makes me wonder if this mother had a need to be noticed, and not at all about nurturing her child.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
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