Infuriating TIME Breastfeeding Photo Is NOT the Reality

Rant 85

TIME Magazine breastfeeding coverBy now you've seen it. A sexy mom on the cover of TIME Magazine with her 3-year-old perched on a chair, sucking on her boob. It's a photo that's supposed to make our stomachs get all roiled in knots over the moms who choose to "extended breastfeed." Only it's a load of crap.

I have not met one mom in America who perches her 3-year-old precariously on a chair and says, come on buddy, it's time for a snack. Even those granola-eating, caftan-wearing crunchy mommies that TIME wants us to believe are the only ones who breastfeed their babies would look at a 3-year-old standing on a chair and say, "Excuse me, young man, but we do not STAND on chairs in this house." This is not breastfeeding, folks. At least not in an average household.

I mean, I don't know exactly for sure.

Let me lay it right out for you. I sucked at breastfeeding. No pun intended. I tried, and I failed. But I was raised by a breastfeeding mom, and I intended to breastfeed, so my support continues for my sisters who survived the early days. My cousin, who delivered exactly 11 days after me (ironically, we were due 11 days apart, and our daughters were both "late" but still 11 days apart) was the champion breastfeeder that I wasn't. And I think she's awesome. I think all women who figure out how to make it work are incredible.

I know enough about them that I don't form weird pre-conceived notions based off faux magazine covers. And so on their behalf, I'm angry at TIME Magazine right now. It's hard enough to deal with the idiots who whine that breastfeeding is somehow "inappropriate" in public or "sick" because some people can't get past the notion of the word "breast."

But TIME set up a ridiculous photo shoot and are trying to pass it off as the "norm" for breastfeeding moms. It's not! It's not normal. It's not how breastfeeding "happens." Women don't set their kids up on chairs and say "come on bud, let's get this going." Most breastfeeding moms are more about comfort -- for herself and her kid -- than they are about making sure everyone can see what they're doing. You're more likely to see some lady feeding her kid while she tries to get dinner made than some picture-perfect lady with a kid propped (dangerously) on a chair.  But I guess a picture of a mom slumped on her couch, watching TV while the kid gets his meal wouldn't sell magazines, would it?

I should make clear that I'm not angry at the mom on the cover. She's been called out by many, but I'm not trying to start a mom-to-mom war. I know that photograhers make a lot of choices that their subjects don't get to play a role in. Just this past week my daughter and I were featured in a New York Times photograph where the talented guy behind the camera decided to make it look like my dining room is neat and clean. Some photographers are kind. Some photographers have an agenda.

And I'll tell you what the agenda was at TIME. They were trying to sell magazines by making breastfeeding moms look "weird." Can you imagine the weirdo who would make her 3-year-old stand on a chair when he should be sitting? She must be an idiot?

But that's just it. That photo doesn't represent the average breastfeeding mom who really wants her kid to be safe AND get some dinner.

It's not what happens for the average mom and her kid of any age. It's a set up. A sham. A magazine cover that is pushing an agenda.

Here's what breastfeeding is. Feeding kids. And it's done by moms who care about their kids and don't put them in 'weird" -- or relatively dangerous -- situations. If only TIME was looking to share the reality of what it means to breastfeed. They might have a cover that showed a woman that the rest of us -- yes, even formual feeders -- could relate to. At least we'd know it was real.

How have you reacted to the TIME cover?


Image via TIME



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nonmember avatar Jamie

But Time is not trying to portray this cover as the average picture of breastfeeding. It clearly states that what she is doing is extreme, out of the norm. If people are assuming this is what most breastfeeding moms are doing, that's their own ignorant problem. I breastfed my son til he was ten months. I think breastfeeding til 3 is extreme, but every mother is entitled to breastfeed as long as she wants.

mlber... mlberry4172

Amen! I was not a good breastfeeder either, but I firmly believe in a BABIES RIGHT TO EAT!! Cuz that's exactly what it is. I don't know too many lactating mamas running around wanting to show everyone their boobs!!

PonyC... PonyChaser

Honestly, I rolled my eyes. Because regardless of how I feel about toddler-breastfeeding, the cover is obviously inflamatory. Not just the picture, which, I agree, is beyond ridiculous, but the headline as well. "Are you mom enough?" Really? Way to stir up an already stupid controversy. IF I subscribed to Time, something like this would make me cancel my subscription.

nonmember avatar Liz

I am angry at the mom. Not for breastfeeding, but for exposing her child in such a way. She's using her child to make a statement when he's not old enough to fully comprehend just how many people will see this cover. It's no better than parents who put signs in the hands of children who can't even read, and then have them protest one issue or another. Regardless of whether I support the issue or not, I think using children to promote ideas or lifestyles is inappropriate. At the very least they should have shot the picture at an angle that covered the child's face. People should be educated about breastfeeding so that it becomes more widely accepted. This picture is not going to accomplish that.

lmm0873 lmm0873

I think everyone knows that NO ONE would breastfeed their child while he was standing on a chair! I mean, COME ONE PEOPLE! This photo was meant to get a point across, and I think the point was to show that women are still breastfeeding older children. In other countries, children are breastfed until they are older and it is not a big deal. It's only in this country that women who breastfeed their children are made to feel like freaks! We are stared at when we do it in public like we are doing something wrong. We get comments from idiots(family or otherwise)about when we will stop! And if GOD FORBID we decide to continue breastfeeding after the age of two we are labeled as sick, gross, monsters who are damaging our children mentally! What is wrong with people? I just have to say that I am a breastfeeding mom who is still nursing my 26 month old daughter, who also sleeps in bed with me, as she has been since she was born, and I am proud of it! I have no intention of weaning her, she will continue to breastfeed until she is ready to stop. I am not an "earthy crunchy" mom, I am a medical professional and my husband is a doctor.  Everyone makes their own decisoins regarding how long they will continue to nurse. It is extremely challenging all by itself, and we do not need people who have no idea what they are talking about making judgements. I am doing what I feel is the best for my daughter, and thats all that matters to me.

Snark... Snarkymom

PonyChaser captured my thoughts exactly

nonmember avatar Gretta

This, my friends, is the real war on women. Inflamatory pictures and articles to criticize and ridicule how loving mothers are providing for their own children. LEAVE THEM ALONE! The choice of how parents raise their children is their own and should be sacred. No one... not reporters... not busybodies... not experts... not the government should involve themselves unless clear neglect or abuse is present.

nonmember avatar B

I think the headline is what is most offensive. "Are you mom enough?" Really? No, I'm not going to breastfeed my daughter until she is 4 and I am not going to make a spectacle of her or myself while I breastfeed her now either, like this woman is on the cover. And no, I am not some thin attractive, model-looking woman like she is. Am I mom enough? What does that even mean? I mean, she's got her son standing up on a chair latched on her boob and he is looking directly at the camera. I'm sorry but that creeps me out. Not that I find anything wrong really with her still breastfeeding him, but the whole setup is just weird and doesn't need to be on the cover of a magazine. You should not have your child pose for the camera while breastfeeding. Like this author said, capture a picture of a "real" mom like myself, laying sprawled on the couch, my oversized shirt pulled up over my boobs, nursing bra hanging open, and my daughter laying there with me, only concerned about filling her stomach. I may have parenting attachment, but this is extreme.

hot_coco hot_coco

Joke or no joke... It's sick... N dat goes to show you wat type of world we have... Y wud dey put dat out der if it was a joke... But dez are the people who are popping babies out left N rite... Any moms who think dats ok, should seek councling N parenting classes...N im not even a mother... But I will be... ;) Consider having anothr baby, N leave the children alone...

hot_coco hot_coco

Joke or no joke... It's sick... N dat goes to show you wat type of world we have... Y wud dey put dat out der if it was a joke... But dez are the people who are popping babies out left N rite... Any moms who think dats ok, should seek councling N parenting classes...N im not even a mother... But I will be... ;) Consider having anothr baby, N leave the children alone...

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