News Column

Time Magazine's Breastfeeding Cover Sparks Controversy

May 10, 2012

time magazine cover, breastfeeding, jamie lynn grumet

Just in time for Mother's Day, Time magazine has a cover story about Dr. William Sears, or, as the article's title calls him, "The Man Who Remade Motherhood." The cover image, which depicts 26-year-old Jamie Lynne Grumet breast-feeding her almost four-year-old-son, seems to be proving more controversial than the "attachment parenting" style described in the piece.

Attachment parenting is described by the group Attachment Parenting International (API) as "about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children." In theory, attachment parenting attempts to follow eight principals: Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting; Feed with Love and Respect; Respond with Sensitivity; Use Nurturing Touch; Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally; Provide Consistent Loving Care; Practice Positive Discipline; and Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life.

The practice of these principals is not set in stone, though books by Dr. Sears and others offer guidelines or advice. One trait often ascribed to attachment parenting is extended breastfeeding, which the cover (see below) invokes.

The cover is proving to be polarizing, with Politico reporting high-profile negative reactions from Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezisnki. Some Twitter comments follow suit, albeit driven by humor in most cases, such as:

@PaulyPeligroso: Time Magazine, if you're going to put that on the cover, you'd better bring enough candy for the rest of the class.
@sbellelauren time magazine is going to milk this for all its worth
@LoMoMarlins: Oh my @Time magazine! I'm in the mood for cookies and MILF now...
@SupermanTweets: Have you seen this week's Time Magazine cover? Now I'll have to protect that kid from bullying all his life.. Pffff.
@karenehowell: People are talking about Time Magazine for the first time in recent mammary.


Of course, Twitter tends to bring out the comedians and wise-crackers, but a large portion of the comments on Time's own site are very supportive of attachment parenting practices, including extended breastfeeding, if not necessarily overly impressed by the cover itself. What do you think of the topic underlying the controversial cover? Or the cover itself? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: (c) 2012. All rights reserved.

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