Breastfeeding pics: it’s TIME to exploit Attachment Parenting

TIME Magazine Breastfeeding Pics - Pictures - Attachment Parenting Controversial | Intentious

Photos credited to the TIME cover shoot, (TIME lightbox)

There’s nothing like a publicaly displayed photos of a mother breastfeeding her child to stir “keep it to yourself” controversy. Intentious is aware of that, having shared opinions on posting breastfeeding pics on social media, earlier this year.

TIME magazine however, has taken this to a whole new level by giving front-cover exposure to the controversial practice called Attachment Parenting. There’s nothing like a picture of a mother breastfeeding her old-enough-to-feed-himself child to get people all riled up. A daring plan to sell magazines if ever I saw one.

The provocative cover story is about women who believe breastfeeding their children beyond babyhood is normal and healthy. The ideology is valid: according to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences. Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child’s socio-emotional development and well being.

These mothers choose to achieve that through breastfeeding well into the child’s early years.

“People have to realize this is biologically normal. The more people see it, the more it’ll become normal in our culture. That’s what I’m hoping. I want people to see it.” Jamie Lynne Grumet, the woman in the cover photo, says.

TIME Magazine Breastfeeding Pics - Pictures - Attachment Parenting Controversial | Intentious

Personally, when I see that picture, a few conflicting thoughts come into my head: it’s a well taken photo of a well-presented subject. She’s attractive, standing confidently, boldly, representing an attitude and steadfastness for her beliefs and care for her child that all mothers can aspire to.

But… a quick pan down and the cover and the unease settles in:  that kid, her three-year-old son named Aram, is virtually hanging off her teat like a miniature Peter Griffin.

He is almost old enough to start to represent the man-child dependency the media just loves stereotyping these days. Yet who is more attached here to the breastfeeding phase, the child, or the parent?

Like breastfeeding pics in general, perhaps what you decide to do as a parent is best kept to yourself. Perhaps attachment parenting is completely harmless, if not beneficial.

But once you make it the world’s business, you’re asking for trouble. TIME Magazine selfishly knows that.

That kid is going to grow up being unaccepted and teased at school, forever known as ‘that breastfeeding kid on the cover of TIME‘. It may be different for girls, I don’t know. But until he grows up, there will be some hard times ahead for Aram. It is likely to continue in highschool, where perhaps his co-students may make uneasy taunting references to his mother’s “MILF” factor and that they’d totally understand if he were still breastfeeding now.

Thus, what is the greater psychological staying power, here? The strong bond achieved through Attachment Parenting, or the strong desire for this boy to grow to resent and detatch from his mother in his teens, what is already a natural adolescent desire boosted significantly by being socially outcast on an international scale?

America has plenty to say on the issue. Do you?

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Categories: Beliefs, Morals, Health, Medicine

Author:Andrew Beato

CEO, Chief Editor and founder of Intentious. Passionate comment enthusiast, amateur philosopher, Quora contributor, audiobook and general knowledge addict.

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35 Comments on “Breastfeeding pics: it’s TIME to exploit Attachment Parenting”

  1. James Hill
    May 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    I’m no parenting expert, and I can’t say when it’s inappropriate to continue breastfeeding. But if your kid is big enough to dunk a basketball, he’s probably had enough breastmilk.

  2. Anonymous
    May 11, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    Research states that the ideal amount of time to breastfeed is approx 9mnths. This gives the baby time for that all important bonding and nutritional needs to be met. Anything past that I suppose is a personal choice, but I see it as a way for the mother to meet her needs rather than the baby.

    Socially and mentally the poor kids of these Attachment Parenting Gurus will suffer down the line and all I can see is that the YUMMY MUMMIES of this world are only thinking about their own exposure and not always the good of the child.

    Put them away. One other reason the breastfeeding maybe lasting so long is its thought to be great birth control and a way to keep the post baby weight under control.

    With those thoughts they could breastfeed until the poor child begins high school.

    • noiname please
      May 13, 2012 at 5:54 am #

      Oh my! not high school, but maybe up until grade 1 or 2

    • Sara
      June 5, 2012 at 12:48 am #

      You maybe didn’t find the right research: the European Commission of Pediatrics says that children should be breastfeeded at least for 2 years!

  3. Anonymous
    May 12, 2012 at 5:57 am #

    I think this photo should not be one the cover of your magazine. An article inside would be 100% better. This is not informing anyone of anything they should know to make their lives better. Extreme is correct.
    I am going to cancel my subscription to Time. You have opportunity to report on uplifting stories. You chose not to. I chose not to read Time.
    You need new a new editor.

    • Sara
      May 14, 2012 at 5:21 am #

      I agree with you. I have just cancelled my subscription.

  4. nm711
    May 12, 2012 at 6:24 am #

    “Abandoning” the mother is THE key to an independent exploration of the world for an infant (0-3), to personal autonomy and to a strong sense of self. If the child is not allowed to be autononomous in it’s early development studies have shown that the child can develop personality dissorders such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

  5. May 12, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    In Western culture, centuries ago, we had a system of rites of passage from childhood to adulthood. For the boys this meant having them taken away, sometimes forcefully, from their mothers, to be raised with the men so they would learn how to be a man. While mother’s are very attached to their children, too much nurturance makes a person weak and narcissistic. I firmly believe that in the early years of life the mother is the central role in an infant’s development. But as the child grows older the role of the father becomes more important. The role of the father is to challenge, educate, discipline and strengthen the child so that they can survive in the world outside the home.

    With 30-40% of children raised by single mothers these days, our future looks dismal.

    • noiname please
      May 13, 2012 at 1:12 am #

      Can’t a father have influence with a child who is breast fed? Mine did

  6. nm711
    May 12, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    I couldn’t agree with you more Jason!

  7. Roxanne
    May 12, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    Personally, I love the fact that popular media is forever able to ‘re-hash’ scientific discoveries to the detriment of society. Attachment theory (in the sense of the classic psychology study) isn’t even technically related to breastfeeding, it was a study on the differences in anxiety and yes, bonding, in monkeys if they had a life-like ‘mother’ to feed them or a ‘mother’ that is not life-like neither of which was an actual monkey, but one of which had warm fur like features around the bottle, while the other was more like a robot with a teat. The findings were that the monkeys became more attached to a more lifelike model and would return to the model (not for food) but just for comfort if they were afraid or unsure, while the monkeys with the robot model did not attach to it and displayed more anxiety. Just like listening to Mozart will make your baby smarter this is yet another misrepresentation of psychological theory that the broad majority of society would rather eat up than take a second to view with any critical thinking.

    • May 13, 2012 at 7:17 am #

      Yes, you’ve got an excellent point Roxanne. They got it wrong, they’re thinking this will lead to the child developing a secure attachment style! Seriously, they learn a few concepts and then they thing they know something with certainty!

  8. noiname please
    May 13, 2012 at 1:08 am #

    I think that breast feeding up until a child is ready for school should be OK. However once the child starts school the breast feeding should not be abruptly stopped, but continued less often for a year or two. After age seven I think it is time for just an occasional breast feeding but by age nine or ten it should be discontinued. I was breast fed for about 6 years.

    • May 13, 2012 at 7:19 am #

      How do you justify these claims? What is the benefit?

      • noiname please
        May 13, 2012 at 8:03 am #

        Personal experience. Maybe not everybody’s lifestyle but I was raised that way, Also I was naked most all the time. If given a preference of dressing or not I chose not most of the time, Now as an adult I still like living naked. Maybe I’m weired but I’m happy.

  9. Charm-Elizabeth
    May 13, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    A photo of a mother breastfeeding her child is fine, but not when the child is three. That is just ridiculous. It is not normal to be breastfeeding a child beyond the baby stage. I have to agree with Andrew on this one, that this is a daring marketing plan to sell the magazine.

  10. Sara
    May 13, 2012 at 7:07 am #

    This is disgusting! Have we abandon all pretense to propriety or have we reverted to our animal ancestry?

    • May 13, 2012 at 7:24 am #

      Since we’re abandoning fatherhood too, I’m inclined to agree. We need to stop talking about this trend of cultural degeneration and do something about it before we’re completely overwhelmed.

  11. Ruth Gaffield
    May 13, 2012 at 7:53 am #

    Disgusting, I am cancelling my subscription and asking for refund.

  12. Anonymous
    May 13, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    I am an old hippie and I have seen plenty of women breast feed, but this picture is disgusting. If my husband didn’t already take this magazine I would cancel. We are beginning to raise a bunch of kids who thinks the world is always about them. The worst part is that kid looks hold enough to be out working. Another thing if this was a girl doing something with her father it would be call incest. I am disgusted with our culture and Time magazine.

  13. Anonymous
    May 13, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    My first reaction when I took my Time from the mail box – is Time going porno?
    Question – if the mother was unattractive and the child was facing the other direction, would Time put it on their cover? I think not.

  14. gwallan
    May 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    I’m generally not fazed by breastfeeding in public. I’ve even had quite a few clients feed while I did their tax returns.

    However the Time cover photo is seriously creeping me out. I was sexually abused by an aunt when I was only a couple of years older than the kid in that photo. The whole thing is very confronting.

  15. Laura
    May 14, 2012 at 8:07 am #

    I work in an indigenous community and something like that is normal here. Maybe I have become desensitised, but that photo doesn’t really bother me. My TA breast feeds her 3 year old in my classroom. I can see why it could be viewed as sexual, but I don’t see it that way at all. It is a mother using her breasts for what they are actually designed for.

    • May 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

      That cultural difference is certainly a very good point Laura!

  16. Anonymous
    May 15, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    I totally agree.\

  17. Anonymous
    May 15, 2012 at 3:48 am #

    who cares

  18. Anonymous
    May 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    it is a fact of life mothers love our children. whats not to love…

  19. Carol
    May 17, 2012 at 2:07 am #

    Three year old Grumet is going to love seeing this picture in his high school locker room. How rediculous can we get.

  20. Anonymous
    May 22, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    Why can’t an article be listed in the index with the same words used on the cover?
    The only way I was sure I had the right article, was by the authors name in the index.a

  21. NINgirl
    May 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    I agree with Laura. In indigenous communities, where I live, this is normal and healthy. It’s people’s reactions to it that are unhealthy. If people see mother’s feeding their pre-school child with their breasts as sexual, they have become part of a very sick, unhealthy and plastic world that is unaccepting and thinks every individual must be alike. It’s a part of life people, and not only in indigenous communities, but probably in the last century before we started feeding children milk that was meant to grow a COW, not a human!!

  22. August 9, 2012 at 2:58 am #

    I believe they are old enough to be weaned when the can eat and drink regular food and can hold a cup. My son fought being weaned. I was finally able to wean him at two. I believe he would have nursed much longer if I had not insisted he stop. He is 21 and still presses in to much.


  1. Quora - May 14, 2012

    Is this Time magazine cover over the line in terms of good taste?…

    “What is the greater psychological staying power, here? The strong bond achieved through Attachment Parenting, or the strong desire for this boy to grow to resent and detatch from his mother in his teens, (an already natural adolescent desire) boosted…

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