The little boy is standing on a chair that sets him at the perfect level to have his lips clamped around Mommy's nipple in a suggestive manner. The suggestion?
The giant, flame-inciting caption reads: ARE YOU MOM ENOUGH? ("Mom Enough" being bolded in red, of course, just to hit home the flame-factor). The subtext goes on with: Why attachment parenting drives some mothers to extremes - and how Dr. Bill Sears became their guru.
Apparently Time's been hurting for readership, because this is a blatant attempt to solicit a very venomous response from people from every angle of the issue.
This image and caption immediately polarize Moms. Those who breastfeed, those who don't. Those who breastfeed for 6 months, those who breastfeed for 5 years. Those who recoil in horror at the thought of a child breastfeeding in public, those who think breastfeeding is the most natural, beautiful thing in the world. Those who think breasts are nothing but sexual objects to be kept private, to those still looking to burn the bras of yesteryear and go topless around the world. Heck, you can even throw in those who CAN'T breastfeed into the mix, or those who choose to use breast milk, just not from the breast, in daily food (cereal and such).
Seriously - there is NO other reason to choose to create an image like this. This is SPECIFICALLY for shock value and it serves its purpose well. Everyone and their mother is now talking about it.
Unfortunately, they're also delving into the awful area of judging others for their parenting choices (and that never ends well).
My Opinion / Experience
I believe that breastfeeding is a wonderful, beautiful thing that gave both Vincent and myself a chance to bond in a way that nothing else could. Even though I had a rough start, it proved to be the most rewarding part of motherhood for me. In fact, courtesy of my dedication to breastfeeding, my risk for certain cancers has dropped, my risk for cardiovascular disease has dropped, and I my baby dropped weight faster than my non-breastfeeding friends. Seriously. I was fitting into my jeans within a month.
But all the health benefits for Vince were great, too! Chance for higher IQ, stronger immune system, greater sense of security... all that fun stuff. Plus, all the money I saved on formula could be spent on things like a college fund, toys, diapers, or trips to the zoo. Win win for everyone, right?
Now I realize that not all women are as blessed as I've been with breastfeeding. I had the time and ability to do it. I stayed at home with Vince for the entire first year. I produced milk - and a lot of it - without trouble. Sure Vince had trouble latching for the first few weeks, but thanks to a kind nurse, I was given a shield which helped him figure it out. I sometimes wonder if I'd've been able to nurse at all if it weren't for her giving me that little stepping stone of help.
I was also lucky enough to have a willing breastfeeder for 2 years (a little over two years, actually). Vincent loved "the bobies" as he used to call them (BOB + EES was his pronunciation - ha). He was never more content than when he was in my arms nursing. However, when it came time to wean, he pretty much did it himself. He simply stopped asking when I stopped offering. He was much more interested in grapes or pork chops or pasta. Mommy's "bobies" didn't offer that, and his little body knew it was time to give up the comfort of nursing. For Vincent, that was the right time for him.
I was shy for a while when people would ask me about how long Vince breastfed for. Even while I was still nursing, I'd get sideways looks from folks (especially because Vincent always looked about a year ahead of his actual age). I got some mean comments about being selfish... being a poor mother... being foolish because I'd screw up his idea of breasts because he'd remember nursing as he got older. I responded by keeping quiet. I would just do my best to hide the fact that I still breast-fed Vincent because I didn't want to deal with the negative judgements I'd get.
However, I soon got over it. The people who scoffed at my nursing habits usually didn't have kids themselves. So what right did they have to belittle MY choices? I started responding to their negativity with Vincent himself.
"Do you see how happy Vincent is? Do you see how well-adjusted, secure and trusting he is? He is a direct result of my parenting choices. Obviously I know a little better than you do about raising my son."
That has shut them up every single time. BTW, that works for the Negative Nancys who complain about the schedule I try to keep him on, too. When it comes to things like this, you'd think everyone knew how to parent your kid better than you do... *shakes head*
Anyway, back to the article (and the frenzy it has caused). I'm not a fan of them choosing this picture to startle folks into reading about Dr. Sears. The woman and her child have little to NOTHING to do with him. Also, the 3 year old (while a product of long-term breastfeeding) isn't even the typical child Dr. Sears mentors on. So again, this was a very specific, underhanded PR move to sell print. That irritates the heck out of me, especially since it's now got people going for the jugular.
Crazy! There are enough myths floating around about breastfeeding. Let's not add to the foolishness, k?
So let's remember our heads in this one, ladies. Try not to be judgemental or overly-critical. We all try to do what's best for our own children. Let's be supportive and instead of turning our anger on each other, let's turn it on Time for stooping so low as to attempt this charade of a cover in order to sell magazines. Humpf!