Time Magazine made a bold breastfeeding statement this week. Check out the article if you haven’t read it yet; it discusses the viewpoints of attached parenting. We shared the photo on our Facebook page yesterday and wanted to share a few comments that came in from our moms:
“Who cares how old he is? If it works for them then who is anyone to judge? I wish women, especially mothers, would support each other.”
“I think the article and photos do exactly what it set out to do…bring extended breastfeeding out in the open and start discussion/debate. Personally, I do not like the title; however, I am a firm believer that most parents have their child’s best interests in mind and do the best they can with their life circumstances and the information they have (whether it’s evidence-based or outdated).
Currently, the WHO and AAP recommend exclusive, on-demand breastfeeding until the age of 6 months (breast milk directly or pumped from mother, breast milk from a healthy wet-nurse or milk bank if not available from mother, and formula as a prescription medication if breast milk is not available from any source), breastfeeding with solids until the age of 1-2 years, and continued breastfeeding as long as mother and baby chose to do so.
Research shows the natural age of weaning to be 2.5-7 years of age (meaning some wean before and after those ages). However, according to Healthy People 2010, most mothers in the United States do not even breastfeed the recommended 6 months. Many researchers theorize this is one of the reasons why the United States has more health issues than other countries who breastfeed for longer periods.
It is a reflection of how society views breastfeeding in our country. I am glad to see extended breastfeeding in the media, because it is another aspect of parenting that some parents do and some don’t – either way, it is NORMAL. Although I haven’t breastfed in public for a while, Aurora (age 5) still nurses about once every other month with her brother, Landon (age 3), who still nurses about once every other day. Serenity breastfed for 2.5 years before she self-weaned. I prefer child-led weaning (I don’t offer, I don’t refuse, but I will delay…by then, they usually forgot until bedtime). Sometimes I wish they were weaned; other times I cherish our special time together (but I know they get more out of it than I do: comfort, nutrition, medicine)…once they’re done…they’re done…and they’re only little once. Extended breastfeeding may not be for everyone, but it’s what works for us. Who are any of us to judge?”
“I support breastfeeding, people are always criticizing moms for breastfeeding in public and this photograph is definitely in your face. We need to start talking about the importance of breastfeeding and stop judging moms for when, where, and how long they breastfeed. It puts pressure on some moms and it makes them feel guilty. It is the best food for your child, pure, organic and safe. You are not more or less of a mom for breastfeeding longer or shorter than the recommended 6 months.”
“Bottles and breastfeeding should not be compared. There is so much more to breastfeeding than just the milk.”
“I’m not 100% attachment parenting, but I nursed all 4 of my kids (13 months with the first, 20, 24, and 30 months for the others). So I guess that qualifies as “extended breastfeeding”. The cover is intended to be shocking, and does the issue of extended breast feeding a disservice by portraying it in a very unnatural way, bringing up emotional reactions that make it difficult for people to be reasonable. But reactions sell magazines, I guess.
I would like to respond to the people who say that “once they can walk or ask for it, they shouldn’t be nursing”. So, once they can say “baba” for bottle, do you wean them to a cup? My kids all walked between 9-11 months old. So I should automatically wean them but it is ok for the mom whose baby doesn’t walk till 18 months to keep nursing? Ridiculous. Motor and speech skills are in no way indicative that nursing is no longer beneficial or normal. All it means is it makes YOU more uncomfortable to watch because you are hung up on breasts being sexual and not wanting to look all “third world”. They are still babies. It’s your hang-ups that make it seem “wrong” to nurse a baby that can walk.”
What are your thoughts about the article? Share in a comment below.