(ABC NEWS) Should a mom continue nursing her child even after he’s too big to be held in her arms? For mothers who practice what’s known as “attachment parenting,” the answer is an emphatic “yes” — and some are more than happy to demonstrate.
This week’s cover of Time Magazine shows Los Angeles mother Jamie Lynne Grumet nursing her 3-year-old son, who reaches her breast with the help of a chair.
“When you think of breast-feeding, you think of mothers holding their children, which was impossible with some of these older kids,” photographer Martin Schoeller said in a Time Magazine online story explaining the cover photo. “I liked the idea of having the kids standing up to underline the point that this was an uncommon situation.”
The cover story illustrated by the photo takes a look at the philosophy of attachment parenting today — which, in addition to extended breastfeeding, also promotes co-sleeping and using slings to “wear” infants — and its roots in the 1992 parenting guide, “The Baby Book” by Dr. Bill and Martha Sears.
“Nightline” correspondent Juju Chang recently interviewed sitcom star Mayim Bialik about her practice of attachment parenting. Watch and read about the interview here.
13WHAM spoke to several parents about the Time Magazine cover, many who say they don't see it as normal."I'm thinking there's more of an issue than wanting them just to have breast milk," mother of three Marla Vogler said. "They need more than that. They need food, that doesn't seem normal."
"I think it's really unacceptable, it's past the age, he's looking at the camera, he's a child now, he's practically becoming a little man. He's going to be entering pre-school soon, all the benefits of breastfed at that point, you've definitely given him a good start, it's time to drink it from a regular glass," mother Stephanie Platania said.
Unity Hospital's Lactation Coordinator Nancy Stephany says it is quite possible to nurse a child long-term.
It requires mothers to stay healthy, taking in an extra 400 calories a day.
"If mom's still being demanded to produce milk, they're going to produce milk," Stephany said.
Stephany says how long a mother chooses to breast feed is simply her preference.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends six months of exclusive breastfeeding, after that it's really the parent's decision of what works best.
But Stephany adds, if children are breastfed long-term, it's more than nutrition they're getting.
"They're breastfeeding for snuggle time, comfort time not nutrition that they're getting at that point," Stephany said.