Extreme Motherhood

Weigh in on your opinion of the Time Magazine breast-feeding mom.

By the time Mother's Day rolls around every human being on the planet will have weighed in with an opinion about Time Magazine's cover picture -- a young mom breast-feeding her nearly four year old child.  Some observers will praise the idea of allowing the child to dictate when breat-feeding time is over.  Others will be shocked and find the idea disturbing and offensive.  The idea that breast-feeding contributes to the good health of the child is undeniable.  The benefits include physical bonding, nutrients in mother's milk provide strong immunity to disease including asthma and obesity.

One of my favorite sites on the Internet shows the Decorah, Iowa eagles nest webcam as the male and female eagles prepare their nest for their young.  The bottom layer contains bits of glass and sticks.  They feather the nest to make it warm and cozy for their babies.  As the young eagles learn to fly the feathers begin to fly away as well.  When the babies feel the pieces of glass they know it's time to fly away and become independent.  For me this is how nature really works. 

No matter what your opinion of attached mothering, you may want to consider the fact that the decision-making onus is placed on the child, not the mother.  As for my own thinking about the Time Magazine cover picture and article, it is provocative and encourages many a healthy conversation.  Unfortunately, I also think it creates mom warfare.  It pits mothers against each other in a sad, unnecessary and unobtrusive way.  Yes, I know, it boosts Time Magazine's sales but some things in life should not be attached to profit.  As a mother and grandmother my greatest pet peeve is seeing a child with a pacifier.  I beg all mothers to throw the thing away and just spend quality time with your child. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Bob Blanchard May 13, 2012 at 01:45 AM
As a grouchy old man, I get really tired of the over abundance of political correctness when people assume it is their job to tell others what to do and how to run their personal lives. As undeniably wholesome as breast feeding is, whose business is it to tell this beautiful mother whether she should or shouldn't breast feed her child and for how many years? When our country is suffering so badly from the lack of proper parenting, what in the heck are we doing criticizing this woman for her choice of child care? Unlike most Europeans, Americans get all in a dither about nudity, sexuality and lifestyles of others. We would do well to follow their examples and tend more to propriety in our own lives.
Irene DeBlasio May 13, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Dear Bob B., Thanks for having the testicular fortitude to comment about the Time Magazine cover as well as attachment parenting. I stood near the magazine display corner at my supermarket to garner some impromptu reactions. Some young men pickked up a copy, examined it closely and pronounced, "This is really hot! Anybody you know who just had a kid?" Two older women stopped in their tracks, seemed shocked, looked at each other disapprovingly and placed another magazine on top of Time in order to hide it. The older one whispered to the other, "Weird. What's this world coming to?". Two middle-aged career women stopped to look for the magazine (I showed them where the stack was hiding and explained). They glared at the cover for a few beats then one said to the other, "I swear...it's all about boobs!" The other agreed, "Yeah, it's either this kind or the other ones in Washington. There's no escape."
Linda Rubin May 13, 2012 at 03:56 PM
It seems, sadly, like it's often women who are most squeamish about nursing moms and are the first to complain about breast feeding in public or when they wean. What we call "attachment parenting" is just plain parenting in the rest of the world. I'm thinking of indigenous cultures where the whole village may live under one thatched roof, mother and child sleep in the same hammock, and mom carries the baby on her body all day until he or she is old enough to garden alongside her. Mother feeds the child either from her own breast or by pre-chewing solid food. All the things that make Americans say, "Ewwww." But there are no food processors in the Amazon jungle and in such cultures breasts are not sexually fetishized as they are here. It's no wonder American women get confused.
Don Helverson May 14, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Had it been a cartoon about hunger, a photo of war, a chart about bank indiscretions or global warming, a map of court cases on bullying, a snapshot of a drone attack it would have been forgotten. It's an effective cover, because what else in America matters the next day? Nothing truly important seems to matter, but this cover is still getting cultural reactions. I'm afraid Time awakened a sleeping midget.
Rosemary May 14, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Nora Ephron described the situation a few years ago in one of her books... The problem began when "parenting" became a participle. For some reason we began to believe that we could "mold" or "transform" our children into whatever it is that we want them to be. This is simply not true. Your baby arrives with its very own personality. Sure, you can tweak it a bit, but your child is who they are. You can not transform them into something they're not simply because your co-sleep with them or breastfeed them until their sophomore year of high school. Parenting is not some sacred act that stay at home mothers (or fathers) perform. Under today's standards, parents are expected to have the ability to transform water into organic grape juice for all the kids at preschool to drink. Quite simply, parenting should not be idolized as anything more than it is - an activity that requires a massive amount of time by the parent.
Irene DeBlasio May 14, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Bravo Don! Sometimes there's not enough insignificance in the world. Time has just helped to fill a bit of that space (though not entirely). You and I probably worry too much about what's important anyway. Maybe Time will take up the issue of 'How much sunscreen do people living in Malibu need to use?' next.
Irene DeBlasio May 14, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Rosemary, Do you have a baby? (Scary thought -- Rosemary's Baby) I think many people are concerned more with societal changes than attachment parenting. Will we witness the high school sophomore being nursed in public? Will all marriage licenses read: Partner One and Partner Two? Will 'In God We Trust' be removed from our currency? It's hard to adjust, adapt and change to new ideas and new ways of doing things. You're so right, babies are born with their own DNA, their own personalities. Not all are going to Mensa material. I doubt that I can become accustomed to watching a new young mother put a piece of food in her mouth, chew it, then transfer it to her child's mouth. As a firm traditionalist that's where I draw the line.
Irene DeBlasio May 14, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Linda, You are so smart. I'm glad to be in your tribe.


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