Nothing 'Extreme' About Breastfeeding a Toddler, Local Mom Says
The much-talked-about Time Magazine cover might have shock value, but breastfeeding shouldn't, says a local parent and business owner.
Time Magazine recently highlighted attachment parenting in an article titled "Are You Mom Enough?" featuring the now infamous cover photo of a 26-year-old mother breastfeeding her 3-year-old son.
Debate sprung out across the Internet with comments chastising the mother for nursing a toddler, the magazine for featuring the photo and the media for making it such a big deal.
The article puts a spotlight on attachment parenting - a form of parenting that often includes baby-wearing, child-led weaning and co-sleeping - which is supported and popularized by Dr. William Sears in The Baby Book.
But attachment parenting is nothing new in Ferndale - or anywhere, says Emily Murray, owner of Modern Natural Baby in Ferndale.
Her store specializes in cloth diapers, natural baby gear, breastfeeding supplies, baby carriers and other "babywearing" needs - all popular among "attachment parenting" moms and dads.
"Attachment parenting is not extreme," Murray emphasized. "It's the way people have parented since the beginning of time and the way much of the rest of the world parents. Only Americans see this as 'extreme.' "
As for the photo, Murray says she believes it may have been intended to shock - but that there should be nothing shocking about breastfeeding an older baby or toddler.
"I'm happy that breastfeeding a 3-year-old was shown in the photo, however, I was not crazy about how the photographer posed the picture, as she likely holds her baby and sits while they nurse at home," Murray said of the photo, which features the boy nursing while standing on a chair. "I think Time was looking to shock people and that isn't the way attachment parenting or breastfeeding should be displayed."
And while the photo has sparked a debate about what many call "extended breastfeeding," Murray says she doesn't believe that term is appropriate.
"I don't like the term 'extended' nursing, because it's completely natural to nurse a 3-year-old, as children naturally wean themselves somewhere between ages 2 and 5," she said.
Murray said the response to the photo has been "awful."
"I nursed my own son until he was 2 1/2 and the comments have basically called me incestous, pornographic, abusive, etc.," she said. "And nursing my todder was the exact opposite.
"It was a loving, beautiful relationship that will benefit my son for the rest of his life."