Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Time magazine's breastfeeding cover raises eyebrows

Posted May 11, 2012

Time magazine's cover this week is creating all kinds of buzz. It shows a mom nursing her three-year-old son, who is standing on a chair.

The story is about attachment parenting, a practice that supports extended breastfeeding, babywearing and co-sleeping. And the cover, in particular, has definitely gotten a lot of people's attention. In online comments and elsewhere, I've seen people call the practice of nursing a three-year-old everything from disgusting to immoral.

I've breastfed both my daughters - and, considering that most people quit well before a baby's first birthday - for longer than most. I'm a huge supporter. That's why I put together a breastfeeding resources page for Go Ask Mom. I know nursing isn't easy for everybody and new moms need all the support they can get.

There are so many health benefits for mother and child. In fact, last year, when Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin issued a "call to action to support breastfeeding," she noted a  study published in the journal Pediatrics that found the nation would save $13 billion per year in health care and other costs if 90 percent of U.S. babies were exclusively breastfed for six months.

With all that said, I also fully support an individual mother's decision to decide whether breastfeeding is right or even possible for her family. The way I see it: Moms have plenty on their plate and need support, regardless of their decisions on the matter.

But as the debate rages over the cover and whether nursing a three-year-old is disgusting or immoral, I figured I'd share what the experts say on the matter. Nursing to at least the first year, while certainly not the norm, is actually supported by both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization.

Here's what recommend:

American Academy of Pediatrics: Breastfeeding should be the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months. When you add solid foods to your baby’s diet, continue breastfeeding until at least 12 months.

World Health Organization: Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.

What's your take?


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  • Six String May 14, 2012

    "The cover was no more pertinent to nursing than Playboy is to Reubens. It's an excuse to display an attractive woman half-naked."

    Big deal, so what? I've always explained to my children that a naked body is nothing to be ashamed of and have never made a big deal over it. I think they grew up healthy and without going ga-ga over Playboy or other such magazines because they never thought it was a big deal. We tend to pass along our hang ups to our children as evidenced by a few of the comments here.

  • pmck May 14, 2012

    I would caution anyone against taking advice from the WHO. (See the UN's Agenda for the 21st Century for many reasons why.) It amazes me that our society would have an opinion on this when I still see "parents" putting soda and full-strength juices (laced with pesticides) and handing them to their babies. Breastfeeding a 3 year old is SO not an issue.

  • seenbetterdaze May 14, 2012

    Time Mag. trying to increase circulation... is now followed by Newsweak Mag. (which was just boughtout for $1) with their cover photo of Pres. Obama and headlined The first GAY President. And being a Conservative, I don't like that cover either. The Liberal/Prog Media have decided to push all the low class insulting topics they can think of...hoping maybe that will get their guy Re-elected. America has always been a mostly Conservative Nation, 41% of voters are Conservative...While only 20% are Lib/Prog/Socialists...the middle Independent/Moderates are leaning back to the Right, 36%.
    Yet the media keeps pushing LEFT toward the Fringe. Way to Go to sell Mags?...NOT!

  • seenbetterdaze May 14, 2012

    What is disgusting is that Time Mag. (that leftwing rag) put this little kid on the cover, and that Mom allowed the photo to be taken, knowing that someday her son would be kidded and teased about it at school! She just wanted HER 15 min. of fame but the poor little boy will never live it down!

  • ncgayatheist May 14, 2012

    I find it disturbing that people think a photo of a mother breastfeeding is " disgusting". Where do you think the milk comes from? It's the most natural thing in the world. Do you also find the human body disgusting? Were you not made in ( according to your myths) "god's image". How could that every be disgusting?

  • storchheim May 14, 2012

    Oh looky, a brand-new ghetto expression! "Hate up on"!

    Is that anything like "all up in dere"?

  • mautry May 14, 2012


  • Piety May 12, 2012

    I nursed two of my babies and we all enjoyed it. I didn't even think about how long I was going to do it. My children weaned themselves. I know my children are healthy today because I nursed them. The picture on the Time cover was like shoving nursing down people's throats who don't breastfeed. The cover was too revealing.

  • OIBKat May 12, 2012

    I am a breastfeeding mom to an almost 4 month old and I can promise you that I will stop by the time she's 1! It's natural...but it's not natural to breastfeed an almost 4 year old (despite what this article says, the child is 47 months, so only a month shy of being 4)! This "attachment" is mores for the parent...she clearly has attachment issues and doesn't want her child to grow up. This child will need some serious therapy. What's worse is that when they appeared on the Today show the child couldn't stand not being the center of attention and was poorly behaved. I'd take a well-mannered formula fed baby over that any day!

  • Nicole Rose May 12, 2012