The current issue of Time magazine features model Jamie Grumet nursing her 3-year-old son. The photo has obviously caused a stir. The range of reactions were boiled down in this Associated Press article:
On Twitter, the cover inspired X-rated jokes along with concerns that the child might be teased when he’s older. But on many message boards, there was debate about whether it’s OK to breastfeed beyond babyhood.
Bobbi Miller, a mother of six who lives in Arkansas, expressed disapproval in a tweet and said in a phone interview, “Even a cow knows when to wean their child.” Of the cover, she said: “Why would this even be out there? It’s ludicrous. It’s almost on the verge of voyeurism.”
But Bettina Forbes, co-founder of an organization called Best for Babes that promotes breastfeeding and supports women who want to nurse their children beyond babyhood, said she hopes the cover “will make mainstream America less squeamish” about women breastfeeding children of any age. “It’s high time we talk about these things,” she said.
Reaction to the cover underscored a cultural rift between traditional childrearing and what some have deemed “extreme parenting.” The attachment philosophy encourages mothers to respond to their babies’ every cry and form close bonds with near-constant physical contact through “co-sleeping” (letting them sleep in the bed with parents rather than in cribs) and “baby-wearing” (carrying them on slings instead of pushing them in strollers).
Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist who is featured on Fox News, thought the photo portrayed a “bizarre, contemptible caricature” of Grumet because, he wrote, her son is actually helping feed her ego. He worried the boy “may never be better-known for anything than for being a breastfeeding 3-year-old on the cover of a national magazine. Ever.”
What are your thoughts?