Attention! Attention! The mommy-blogosphere is going crazy right now! Time magazine has just released a new issue with a cover image that is, according to many, “desperate,” “exploitative,” and “appalling”: a young, blond mom in skinny jeans, standing tall, breastfeeding her 3-year-old son as he stands before her on a chair. The accompanying coverline, “Are You Mom Enough?” leads into this little teaser: “Why attachment parenting drives some moms to extremes—and how Dr. Bill Sears became their guru.”
Is it sensationalistic? Certainly. Is it shocking? In this culture, definitely. But, while having your kid stand on a chair to get to your breast might be a bit of an extreme, I beg to differ that the mere act of breastfeeding a 3-year-old is. I made the decision, when Lula turned 2 years old, to let her self-wean. Part of this was Dr. Sears-influenced, but most of it was instinct. It was obvious to me: Lula likes nursing. It calms her. I enjoy that bonding time with her. Why should we rush to end it just because 98% of the people around me think we should? I still, in spite of myself, feel self-conscious about it—more and more so as Lula inches her way toward 4—and I’ve got it limited to occasional evenings and mornings, in private, when she yearns to feel closest and safest. I don’t have a problem with that. Why should anyone else?
That Time magazine—along with countless other publications—delights in using tales of “extended” breastfeeding to fuel the never-ending mommy wars is not surprising. But that other women continue to equate breastfeeding a toddler (or even an infant) to something inappropriate and sexual never ceases to amaze me.