Time Magazine’s Nursing Mother Cover

What is this woman thinking? Doesn’t she realize that this is not what we do with breasts in America? Breasts are for selling cars, mascara, perfume and other items necessary to sustain life in our country. Breasts are for pouting teenager girls to jiggle as they strut along Victoria’s Secret runways . Breasts are for displaying on red carpets. Breasts are for upping the audience at Super Bowl half-time shows. Breasts are even used to sell romance novels such as I write. Breasts are for nurturing life in America as we know it, not for nurturing children. No wonder the moral outrage.
Where is this moral outrage when Time publishes photos of children injured, bleeding and dying, their lives and bodies ripped apart in war-torn countries? Where is the outrage when the breasts of young girls, sold in human trafficking, are mauled and pawed  by people with enough money to buy them?  Where is the moral outrage when mothers, who are starving and have no milk in their breasts for their babies, must walk for miles to escape to refugee camps in neighboring countries?
I listened to Jamie Grumet, the controversial nursing mother, in an interview yesterday.  She seemed like a normal, gentle woman who wants the best for her child.  She practices “attachment parenting” which includes breast feeding until the child self-weans and a family bed that the child shares with the parents. She did not demand or even suggest a mandate for attachment parenting, in fact, she said parents must decide for themselves what is best for their family. She was not militant about this philosophy, but seemed to simply offer it, or any part of it, as an option.
I nursed all three of my children, and I know the deep bond, the health benefits, and the physical satisfaction of the experience. While I stopped nursing by the time my babies were a year old, I had friends and acquaintances who nursed their children until they were three or four years of age. None of them are axe murders today, in fact they are successful adults.
If I take offense at any of this, it is in some of the choices Time Magazine editors made. Why did Time use such a cold, detached image? Ms. Grumet said that of course she doesn’t nurse him while he stands on a stool; she cuddles him in her lap as any nursing mother would.   Also, the headline, “Are You Mom Enough?” Really, Time? Is this a contest pitting nursing moms against bottle-feeding moms? Moms who nursed for less time against moms who nursed longer? There is not enough guilt for moms already?
Attachment parenting includes some wonderful concepts: pay attention to your children, spend time with them, hold them close, oh, that all parents would employ some of these strategies. Too many kids today are attached to video game controllers and cell phones instead of parents or other family members. What would happen if all parents employed just a fraction of some of these concepts, no breasts need be included in this interaction.
How wonderful if America could experience a paradigm shift in how we view breasts. Wouldn’t that be a Happy Mothers’ Day gift?

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