TIME MAGAZINE’S FRONT cover has sparked a global debate about breastfeeding.
This month’s cover features a 26-year-old mother breastfeeding her three-year-old son. The mother, Jamie Lynne Grumet, holds her son Aram to her breast while he stands on a chair. The article explores the issue of attachment parenting which encourages mothers to breastfeed older toddlers so as to establish bonds between mothers and children.
The news magazine featured the photo and article to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Dr Bill Sears book who advocated attachment parenting. Grumet is to appear on The Today Show in the US today to discuss the cover.
However, news outlets around the world have been contemplating whether the front cover is a step too far.
The San Francisco Chronicle asks that very question saying that the boy featured in the photo “looks old enough to pour himself a glass of milk” and claims that the the cover was clearly picked to attract media attention. The Sydney Morning Herald says the cover is “confronting”. They write that the Australian Breastfeeding Association said that women should be encouraged to make their own decision about breastfeeding.
The Mirror questions whether the front cover is “perfectly natural or child exploitation” while The New Zealand Herald said the article has “underscored a cultural rift between traditional childrearing and what some have deemed extreme parenting”.
The Los Angleles Times describes the cover as “the head-snapping checkout-stand stopper of the season”. According The Guardian, Gillian Tett of The Financial Times told Time Magazine’s executive editor Rick Stengel that it was a “cheap shot” adding that the article was about Bill Sears and not an “attractive blonde woman breastfeeding”.
Mothers have been venting their anger through social media at both the picture and the headline question. Actress Alyssa Milano, herself a new mother, echoed many of the mother’s complaints. She tweeted to her 2 million followers:
The actress was not the only one who was critical of the front cover. Comments trending under #momenough accused the magazine of pitting mothers against each other in ‘mommy wars’:
Others tweeted that they saw no issue with attached parenting:
So what do you think? Is the cover too much? Vote below: