There's not really much for me to say here. So, ummmm, go!
We have friends that did extended breastfeeding along with a "family bed" - their 4-year-old-son has never slept in his own bed. Ever. All three of them pile into Mom and Dad's bed every night. And they wonder why they couldn't get pregnant with another kid!
This kind of parenting seems so weird to me...a whole new kind of "helicopter parent." Maybe their son will turn out fine, but I have my doubts.
What did young Oedipus say to his friend? Answer: I'm afraid I'm turning into my dad. ( Insert rim shot )
Whose parents would let their kid appear on the cover of a national magazine like that?? Or appear like that anywhere?
Just read on HuffPost that is the kid's actual mother on the cover with him - and that he's three years old.
As a comedian recently said about extended breast-feeding...if the kid is old enough to walk up, pull the shirt up, unhook the bra, and feed himself...it is time to stop.
Oh, crap, now this stupid cover shows up here. Sigh.
As a mother who did extended breastfeeding with both of her children (27 months and 38 months) and did so in the closet, that this is being brought to light in a negative public way makes me cry. The article itself isn't bad, but the picture is upsetting. It was NEVER like that for us.
Look, I'm a mother first, but I'm a lactation counselor and childbirth educator, too. From a public health standpoint, extended breastfeeding is what's in the best interest of the mom and the baby, and a recent statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics underlined this fact. Many common parenting practices in the US are not in the best health standpoint for babies. Hyping and sensationalizing what's proven to make a long, lasting difference in the health of children (which is why I'm loving the "1000 days" research) is silly and does nothing more than to shame mothers who have worked against a hundred negative factors, yet are able to succeed at what is medically shown over and over again to be the best for their children.
Oh, ugh. That's horrible. Can't we all, as a nation, realize that "fashion camo" is just never flattering or necessary?
As for the rest of the cover, I admit my initial reaction was "Oh GREAT. Shock tactics in another round of the Mommy Wars." But I gave in and did read the (free) articles, and I'm shocked to find that they're sadly short on the scare-mongering and surprisingly high on nuance.
Vjacobsen-- Thank you. As a mother currently nursing a 17 month old, I also find I'm surprisingly "in the closet" about it. I'm familiar with the AAP recs ("at least" a year) and the WHO (at least two), and I'm quite comfortable with our decision, personally. And given that we only nurse at home (since why would we nurse in public when she eats solids?), it's easy to just not mention it ever.
You put your finger on my gut reaction to this cover and conversation, right now. To have a pretty personal parenting choice that's working well for my family reduced to a shock! cover IS upsetting. Enough so that the only initial comment I could make was brittle. Thanks for being braver than I was.
WAY TO GO, KAT! If you ever need to NIP and I'm around, you'll get a high five from me.
Vjacobsen-- Aw, thanks! I don't think I could get my kid to pay attention to me long enough to nurse in public anymore, though, even if I wanted to-- she's the easily-distracted type that way.
Kat S - "Oh, ugh. That's horrible. Can't we all, as a nation, realize that "fashion camo" is just never flattering or necessary?" Brilliant :-)
But as for the 2 year recommendation by the WHO, that is geared towards 3rd world mothers and children, for obvious nutritional and immunological reasons.
How much time is your average soccer mom and her pre-schooler spending in the Kalahari?
That said, kudos to all mothers ( and dads ) who do the bestest to try to make their childrens' nutritional health the best that it can be.
Better to err on the side of too much breast feeding than too little.
Wecan count our blessings; the pink "fashion camo" is worse.
On the WHO:
Well, no, I'm not living in the Kalahari. Then again, breastmilk doesn't only have continued benefits past 1 year of age in developing countries; the immunological and nutritional benefit is still present here, it's just not quite as urgent (and, while not facing famine, not all babies live in suburbs and/or have great access to fresh food, either).
Then, too, I'm not still breastfeeding just because of nutritional value, though my pediatrician is happy with that part. It's also the path of least resistance. She's dropping feedings bit by bit when she loses interest, and nursing is not yet proving more of a pain than a benefit for us. So as long as things are going in the right direction easily, why would I upset that? If, down the line, that changes and I need to stop nursing more than she needs to keep nursing, we'll reevaluate.
But yes, kudos to all the parents who try to make their children's nutritional health the best it can be (including those who need to use formula). All I ask is for more understanding and less sensationalism.
No, Kat S. is right, it still has importance in the US past the age of 2. That kind of thinking, that it's a parenting choice, is flat out wrong and why the AAP updated its statement. Weaning before 2 is increasingly tied to disease and future health issues, including some new research that points to a link with Autism. (Like, REAL research, not the fake MMR research.) Human normal growth and development evolved and developed with 3 being the norm for weaning, and much of our future health depends on it.
I loathe the desire to pit women against each other with the caption "Are you Mom enough?" We have enough drive-by parenting and judgmental crap to deal with as mothers; this magazine cover is little more than a giant trolling for flame-wars.
As for nursing, there is more to it than nutrition and health benefits; it's part of the bond between mother and child. This image, with the woman looking at the camera, does not shock me because of the age of the child; it creeps me out because it's like a fashion pose with the child as accessory; it says nothing to me about not the connection between the two.
What I find odd is that our children are not weaned off milk,but instead they are weaned into the milk of another species -per doctor advice! How about a more socially acceptable cover of a grown person nursing from a cow? I don't want to sound too crazy here, but the world seems upside down sometimes.
I'm 100% with you.
I can see breast feeding up to the age of two but after that we should let nature take its course. Let the lactase gene turn off and say goodbye to milk. Mammals, including humans, don't need to keep drinking milk later than that.
From your friendly public health professional: Extended breastfeeding is quite healthy, regardless of where you live. Good on you, moms (and supportive dads/partners).
From your friendly soon-to-be-new-mom: I'm unsure I have the social fortitude (or can get past the squickiness factor) to do it myself past 12 months. But that's my problem, not yours.
From your friendly neighborhood Minnesotan: If you don't like seeing toddlers breastfeed, look away. And save your ire for kids that are abused, neglected, and unloved--these kids will be just fine in the grand scheme of things.