By 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