Has TIME's Breast Feeding Cover Gone Too Far?

The cover of TIME magazine's upcoming issue features a 26-year-old mother breastfeeding her 4-year-old son.

If you're a subscriber to TIME magazine, you're likely in for a surprise when you get your May 21 issue in the mail. 

The magazine cover shows Jamie Lynne Grumet, a slim blonde 26-year-old California mom, breastfeeding her son, who turns 4 years old next month

Breastfeeding has long been a topic of debate. When should mothers stop breastfeeding? Should mothers be allowed to breastfeed in public? Seemingly everybody has an opinion. 

From a Huffington Post report: 

In the provocative new cover story of its May 21 issue, TIME Magazine has tapped into a two-decade-long parenting conversation that has boiled over in recent months. Journalist Kate Pickert reports on the rise of attachment parenting, a set of techniques popularized by Dr. Bill Sears in "The Baby Book," his 767-page treatise published in 1992. Yet, while Pickert delves into who Sears is and why controversy surrounds his theories -- the three biggies advocate baby-wearing, extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping -- the magazine's decision to illustrate this story with photographs of real mothers breastfeeding their toddlers is what has everyone talking.

According to a Washington Post blog, the philosophy behind attachment parenting advocates breastfeeding, eschews spanking children and other kinds of corporal punishment and has inspired the natural childbirth, anti-circumcision and natural and organic foods movements. 

The cover has already sparked controversy throughout the world of social media. And once the magazine hits newstands, even more discussion is likely to take place. 

What do you think? Did the editors of TIME go too far with this cover? How far is too far? What are your thoughts on breastfeeding and attachment parenting? 

Jean Noltkamper May 11, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Imagine what that boy's life is going to be when his peers find out. Sad!!
Ray Antonacci May 11, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Time magazine has a job to do and that is sell magazines! I don't think they went too far. It's just breast feeding it's not taboo. I agree, however, that the kid in the pic will take a lot of abuse if his friends find out this year, next year and for years to come. Mom and the kid should have remained anonymous. I read a little about attachment parenting when my kids were small and I didn't buy into it. The whole co-sleeping thing would put a cramp on the parent's extra-curricular activity. It can also be dangerous for an infant.
Patricia Garrison May 11, 2012 at 01:47 PM
If that image was found on someones computer it would be considered child porn. I feel sorry for the child.
Ina May 11, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Sad to see that 'Time' has turned to exploiting a child.
Al T. May 11, 2012 at 02:37 PM
it's all about selling the magazines. They are in a downward spiral.
Lindsay Toler May 11, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Well, if it's all about selling magazines, I think it worked! I clicked on the stories and kinda want to buy a copy to read the full main article - something I haven't done with TIME in years. I found the cover to be a big surprise, but I admit, I do like the idea of women being open with their breastfeeding.
Mary Singleton May 11, 2012 at 03:13 PM
There is a time and a place for everything. Some activities, that may be perfectly acceptable and normal in the proper setting, do not belong on a magazine cover.
Candace Jarrett May 11, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I would have to agree with you Mary. As a mother who breastfed, I certainly wouldn't pose like that on a cover.
Rhonda Weiche May 11, 2012 at 06:22 PM
As others said in comments above I feel sorry for this innocent kid. Can you imagine what this kid's life will be like when in ten years, "the anniversary" of this issue rolls around and they want to do a follow up story on how attachment parenting affected this kid? He is now 14 years old. This photo reruns and others his mother and some editor/writer decided would add to the story runs and this kid is all over the news. He will be bullied and shamed and treated badly because teenaged kids are cruel at times. I think breastfeeding babies is a beautiful thing if done in private or discreetly when needed in public. But a four year old boy? seriouly? I once saw a woman breastfeed her daughter who was nearly three years old. She went up to her mother and raised her mother's shirt and said "Boobie, Mommy." Wouldn't it be more appropriate for this girl to say, "Can we go to McDonald's, Mommy?" or "Can I have something to eat?" Sometimes I think new ideas are just for the sake of having a new idea and gaining notoriety for it. Sometimes new ideas such as attachment parenting are not necessarily better just different. We as a society buy into so much garbage because some guy with a title who is supposed to be an expert says it is what is best. Give me a break! This kid should be eating peanut butter sandwiches and drinking milk from a cow or a goat not breast milk from his mother.
Bonnie Krueger May 11, 2012 at 06:50 PM
The problem I have with the photo is that it is a clean, main stream magazine that is in full view of everyone. I don't want my 12 year old son seeing a picture of a boy suckling on his mother's breast. I don't have a problem with breastfeeding, even after age 1, but this seemed sensationalistic. Shame on TIME for that!
Misty Monteith May 11, 2012 at 08:14 PM
I dont think there is anything provacative about it, in alot of other countries its the norm, if you dont like breastdeeding, put a blanket over your head. And Rhonda, McDonalds really
Gail Wegel Piper May 11, 2012 at 08:36 PM
I am all for breast feeding, nursing both of my boys well past one. I feel this photo is in poor taste. The poor child in this photo will feel the shame related to this choice his mother made for him.
Cindy Wood May 11, 2012 at 08:40 PM
It's not about not liking breastfeeding....it's about the appropriateness of the photo on the front cover of a magazine.....and we don't live in another country...we live HERE!
Krissy Hammond May 12, 2012 at 01:48 AM
I read up on attachment parenting and no where does it advocate breastfeeding a 4 year old. I am a FIRM believer in breastfeeding an infant as I did for my 3 children. but going past 12 to 18 months and on to four years old is getting creepy. And if it is that important to breastfeed into the toddler years....for Heavens sake...please pump and put it in a cup!!!!
Barbara Dunnermann May 13, 2012 at 08:16 AM
AMEN, Cindy!
Barbara Dunnermann May 13, 2012 at 08:26 AM
Indeed, every normally developed 4-year-old is drinking from a cup, not sucking on a nipple...of ANY kind. This picture is too graphic to be featured on the cover of a popular main-stream magazine. It is not just graphic, but borders on porno-graphic! And I agree with Bonnie. It is pure sensationalism designed to sell the magazine. TIME has stooped to an all-time low.
Barbara Dunnermann May 13, 2012 at 08:39 AM
Misty, let's face it. McDonald's is an integral part of our cultural main stream, and any normal 4-year-old usually wants to go to McDonald's. OK, so maybe the larger portion of their menu is not made up of healthy choices; but there are healthy choices that the parent can make for the child. Not advocating McDonald's, but Rhonda is right.
Elizabeth Perry May 14, 2012 at 01:17 AM
It's just a stupid looking photograph. No one has a breastfeeding stool they make their kid hop up on. Her pose is awkward, she's not looking at the kid. I think she's supposed to look defiant, but she appears indifferent, which is the opposite of what the story is supposed to say. And she's styled in a "sexy" way, which confuses the issue. Dumb cover.
Deb Cottin May 16, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I agree...dumb cover...on several levels. Attachment parenting is one more parenting trends that probably isn't hurting kids, but as far as helping, I'd put it in the same category as JuicePlus...really not worth all the attention, either good or bad. Dr. Sears is making a mint on his theories and the users of the products he is endorsing. He's got people talking. All great for business and general awareness. As far as our actual health and the health of our children, there are undoubtedly much simpler, less stress inducing and more effective ways to be healthy and be a good parent than getting involved with this movement. If you have lots of free time, go have fun with this movement that probably rates somewhere between harmless and slightly helpful. Otherwise, spend more time with your kids playing outside, reading books together, and being a hands-on parent. Above all, let's use our own best judgment...we know our own kids best.
jayle June 24, 2012 at 12:19 PM
good job keep it up who cares what other mom say about that . i breast feed my daughter till she was two years old, but i would have like it to go longer .but keep it up we need more mothers like you to give some of us mothers over here courage to keep on breastfeeding for a long time thank you .by the way not even mcdonald apple are healthy for children whoever mention the mcdonalds part.
jayle June 24, 2012 at 12:21 PM
good job keep it up who cares what other mom say about that . i breast feed my daughter till she was two years old, but i would have like it to go longer .but keep it up we need more mothers like you to give some of us mothers over here courage to keep on breastfeeding for a long time thank you .by the way not even mcdonald apple are healthy for children whoever mention the mcdonalds part.


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