by Denise Cortes posted in Mom Stories
Breastfeeding is normal and worldwide, meaning it’s practiced everywhere in the world. And it’s definitely not staged for a photo and airbrushed to perfection.
I don’t want to beat a dead extended breastfeeding horse or anything, but this whole uproar about the Time magazine cover is getting a little crazy. If you don’t know anyone who practices extended breastfeeding, I can understand how photos like the ones in TIME magazine’s Are you Mom enough? can be a little shocking. But I’ve sat in circles where a mother tandem nursed three of her children (they take turns–obvi ). Another friend used to nurse her toddler under a blanket, and when someone would leave the room, he’d pop his head out from underneath his mom’s shirt and exclaim, “Bye!” and then get back to his business. Then there was the woman whose toddler insisted she completely remove her shirt while she breastfed him so he could feel her skin.
I mean, really, it takes all kinds.
I was all for the Time magazine cover, hoping people would see it for what it should have been: the celebration of breastfeeding your child (whether it’s an infant or a walking/talking toddler). The photo editors at Time used religious images of the Madonna and Child as reference. These are images that we are not accustomed to seeing. But, the title “Are you Mom enough?” killed all of that. Now, it’s been clouded by talk of sexism, stirring up Mommy wars, fetishism, drawing out pedophiles, and extremism. I think that is what happens when you take breastfeeding out of context.
I agree with Gwen Dewar‘s statement in her post, Does the Time Magazine cover make extended breastfeeding look wacko?:
…if you want to change attitudes, I think you’re better off showing pictures of real breast feeding women. No fashion model poses and kids with their sneakers laced up. Instead, show mothers going about their daily work — in villages, on farms, or in the open-air market — with their toddlers in tow. After all, it’s the social context that matters most – what everybody else is doing. Because in those places, in those traditional societies, people rarely give a nursing toddler a second look.
I wholeheartedly agree. In the midst of everyday life, breastfeeding your child (at any age) shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s life and it’s happening all around the world.
Image source: Eric Lafforgue, Flickr
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