Time Magazine, Dr. Sears, and breastfeeding

by julie on May 11, 2012

This week’s cover photo on Time Magazine shows a child perched on a stool, nursing. It’s intentionally sensational and not representative of the article’s content. It doesn’t do anybody any good, least of all mothers — whether they breastfeed and/or follow Dr. Sears’ guidance or not.

Pretty sad considering Sunday is Mother’s Day.

In spite of all the medical documentation and promotional campaigns in support of breastfeeding (and the quibbling that goes on among privileged mothers regarding each others’ choices and circumstances), it’s still primarily upper income, college-educated mothers who breastfeed — at all, let alone more than a year. A magazine cover implying that extended breastfeeding is the norm even among adherents of attachment parenting is disingenuous.

Moreover, given the propensity of the masses to jump to conclusions (helped along by sensational imagery and headlines — “Are you mom enough [to breastfeed until your kid can deftly unhook your bra]?”), thoughtful consideration of the pros and cons of both breastfeeding and attachment parenting goes out the window.

Why are we simultaneously so desperate for guidance ourselves and yet so convinced that others need our input?

Why can’t we have sufficient confidence in our ability to assess our individual circumstances, decide what works best for us, and leave others to do the same?

Maybe if we could get over our own insecurities and see media coverage like this as the distraction it is, we could focus on advocating for those who don’t have mothers. Both those kids and our own kids would be better off for it.

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