Social Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

What grosses people more, the fact of breastfeeding going past the age of diapers or the fact the kid that can stand has his mouth at a woman’s nipple?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (20307 points ) May 10th, 2012

There is a lot of reaction to this Time cover, most of what I heard was not good. I wonder is it the fact people have this expectation that a breastfeeding child be in diapers or the expectation that any kid wearing toddler clothes and able to walk, talk and stand should not have their mouth at a woman’s nipple, even worse if it is a boy over a girl?

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226 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Past the age of diapers for me. If the kid can verbalize the request, seems oddly sexual to me.

SomeoneElse's avatar

I think the bit I don’t like is the fact that the image is on the cover of Time.
OK so that mother feels fine about it all, but bringing her young child into the public domain is not good.
The image made me feel sad, sad that the issue of breast feeding is portrayed in this way, especially when I think it is a private thing and not to be ‘trivialised’.

augustlan's avatar

I’ve known a woman who breastfed her son to that age (or beyond?). I can’t adequately explain why it bothered me, but it did. It might have just been that particular kid, who was very demanding about it, and/or that particular mom, who was very passive. The boy would talk about it and claw at her shirt in public, trying to get to the goods, and she would just kind of move his hand away (50 million times), without ever telling him “No. Later.”

I should add, it didn’t gross me out. It was just uncomfortable to be around.

Reggz's avatar

I find that cover to be a little disturbing. I’m pro-breastfeeding, but I think there is no reason to nurse an older child unless you live in an impoverished country and have limited access to food. If they can eat solid food and get nutrition from there, what is the point of breast milk? I do understand that breastfeeding also promotes bonding and nurturing, but by that age there are other ways to do so. I just feel that it is not good for them emotionally or mentally (hello separation issues!). But that is just my opinion; to each their own.

Aethelflaed's avatar

It’s mostly how both the mom and the kid are looking at me the whole time that I find creepy. It’s really the title that pisses me, though.

cazzie's avatar

What bothers me about that cover is that everyone else in the world is getting THIS cover:

http://www.time.com/time/covers/europe/0,16641,20120521,00.html

rebbel's avatar

In the UK it is quite normal to have bitty when no longer in diapers.

jca's avatar

To me, once the child starts eating food (which most babies start by around 12 months of age) then it seems weird to be breastfeeding.

I was in a bookstore once (Border’s back in the day of Border’s) and there was a woman on the chairs with her son who was around 4. She said to him “Do you want to go now or do you want more Mama?” He said “More mama” and she started to breastfeed him there in the middle of the bookstore. If it were a baby, it would not have seemed weird, However, with a 4 year old, in the middle of the bookstore, it seemed weird to me.

tom_g's avatar

I find this “gross”.

jca's avatar

@tom_g: You find baby formula gross?

jca's avatar

@tom_g: Some women have trouble with milk production or get infections in their breasts, which end breastfeeding. Some babies live with people who did not give birth to them, like foster mothers or adopted mothers. What is the alternative, if not baby formula?

tom_g's avatar

I’m not talking about “some” women and the exceptions. Of course there should be artificial milk for these people.

What disgusts me is the fact that the jury has been in for so long on the benefits of breastfeeding (for the child and the mother), yet issues around breastfeeding have to do with “decency” and age limits and covering the boobs in public, etc. Or some people just think it’s gross.

The alternative should be just that – an alternative. I know the U.S. doesn’t like science, so that’s part of the problem. They just don’t understand it. But there’s also a huge industry that is there to “help” when a woman has problems, rather than a society that is prepared to help women through these problems.

ucme's avatar

That’s a movie poster for Tom Cruise & Cameron Diaz’s latest release….isn’t it?

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @SomeoneElse that it is on the cover really bothers me. The child as he grows up will have been the child, not baby, sucking on his moms nipple on the cover of Time. Is the mom planning on home schooling the kid? I am all for women being able to breast feed in public, but a child that old is not getting 100% nutrition from breast feeding, and can wait for private time with mommy.

In addition, in western society, I think breast feeding so late is not a good idea. We do conform to society’s expectations within reason for everyone’s comfort, including in this case the boys.

@tom_g I think you are way off. A lot of women choose breast feeding for convenience, becuase the work full time. I am not saying there aren’t alternatives. Then of course some can’t breats feed, you acknowledged that. I don’t think it is because the US is against science. It might somewhat have to do with a lack of education, but there is information out there, it is common knowledge in my opinion, that mother’s milk is best for baby. I would best almost all US hospitals have lactation specialists, at least all the women I know were helped in the hospital with breast feeding.

ragingloli's avatar

In general, that the woman in question is outside my attractiveness spectrum (translation: fugly). In this specific case, not at all.

rooeytoo's avatar

I have heard women get positively rabid on the subject of breast feeding but never a male. Whether a woman breast feeds or not is her decision, regardless of the reason, and absolutely no one else. This is another case of a man telling a woman what she should or should not do with her body. And they are breasts not boobs.

I don’t care whether this woman breast feeds her kid until he is a teen ager but I don’t want to see it. But let’s face it, there are a lot of nuts in this world and I would put this woman in that classification, not so much because she is still breast feeding a kid that big, but that she wants her photo on the cover of a magazine while doing it???

tom_g's avatar

Actually, the more relevant question is: does Time magazine still exist? People read it?

JLeslie's avatar

Correcting my typo, I meant a lot of women choose not to breast feed because they work.

I wanted to add the last statistic I saw was something like 75% of women attempt breast feeding.

tom_g's avatar

@JLeslie: “I would best almost all US hospitals have lactation specialists”

My wife is one of them.

@JLeslie: “at least all the women I know were helped in the hospital with breast feeding.”

Unfortunately, a few minutes in the hospital is not what is needed for most women to be successful. That’s just not the way it works. There is no real support system for women who come home and are faced with a myriad of challenges with their breastfeeding. Additionally, hospitals send formula home with moms, so the lack of support + huge formula industry = expected result.

jca's avatar

@tom_g: Breastfeeding is great when it’s successful. However, to make a blanket statement like “baby formula is disgusting” is going to rile people up, you have to understand. Baby formula is definitely necessary, and not disgusting for families that need it and rely on it. People who have relied on it may be offended by your statement.

tom_g's avatar

@jca: Yep, in a way I suppose my intention was to rile people up a little. Like I said, I know there are people who will need formula. The existence of formula is not a bad thing. The formula industry is. The influence it has had, and the misinformation around the whole topic of breastfeeding has people just giving breastfeeding a try, then when there is nobody and no system to help, just fall back on the formula and hope for the best. I am not blaming women here. It’s the system that sucks.

JLeslie's avatar

@tom_g How often does your wife come across women who don’t know breastfeeding is considered better for baby, and that society has an expectation women should breast feed. Here on fluther one of our jellies had a baby several months ago and was not breast feeding, and every time it came up people were on top of her. She had to constantly say, she would start with it, she is not willing to discuss why she isn’t please no comments regarding it. She knows, she is not ignorant to science. Both sides need to stop making women feel badly and/or pushing their agenda.

As far as formula at the hospital, I agree there is some big money big business in that sampling of formula, but I for one am in favor of a goody bag going home with a mom. I can’t tell you how much it disgusts me that at hospital discharge patients are sent home with zero medication and have to go to the pharmacy when we still feel like crap most likely. I discharged psychiatric patients who barely had it together, and they had to worry about getting their drugs for schizophrenia or bipolar or anxiety that day, so they would have their medication needed in the next 12 hours. Patients who can barely walk, still in pain from an illness have to go straight to the pharmacy instead of being able to get a nights rest and go in the morning. I want to write letters that we should discharge patients with a 24 hour supply at minimum.

If a new mommy is using formula, sending her home with some seems like a nice convenience for a new overwhelmed parent. Maybe she already prepared with diapers, desitin, and baby soap, but had thought she would breast feed, and couldn’t, so now she does not have to stop at the store on the way home with her 2 day old baby.

Edit: People like your wife should, and I assume they do, give their cards out for continued breast feeding support at home. If breast feeding winds up being less expensive for moms, I assume it does, they should discuss that with the patients if they want to fight back against big business.

DaphneT's avatar

@tom_g, here’s another portion of the debate to consider, from a personal case: my BIL made my sister’s life miserable when they had their first child because he thought breast-feeding was gross and so did his family. Our mom was a La Leche League leader, so we were raised with BF is good and no issues. Since she was three states away she had no support system to help her through. To this day she feels bad about that time in her life. So when the mom goes home, the dad should be on board too.

tom_g's avatar

@JLeslie – Many of them do want to try breastfeeding, although here in Massachusetts, the expectation is far from breastfeeding. Also, let me grab some stats on breastfeeding success rates here in the U.S. I’ll try to get those shortly. I think they’re pretty low.

Re: “both sides” and “pushing an agenda”. If there was anything resembling a “both sides” balance, I’d say you might be onto something. That’s just not the case. Successful breastfeeding happens despite the way things are in the U.S. From absurd C-section rates (which further screw up efforts to breastfeed) to formula campaigns, to “I’m grossed out by public breastfeeding” people, to the complete dearth of information and assistance on what to do when a problem occurs, it’s surprising that anyone does it.

Hospitals are also responsible to sabotaging efforts to breastfeed. They often give babies pacifiers, which is step one in developing nipple confusion. Doctors and nurses are not required to – and generally do not know anything about breastfeeding. The token lactation consultant or two that a hospital has is completely insufficient to provide adequate assistance in the hospital – never mind as soon as the woman leaves.

And as for “making women feel badly”. Please. Advocating for a system that works towards the best health of women and their babies is not making women feel badly. It’s about fighting for a system that provides women with resources so that they can succeed. Sure, it’s best for their children (like not smoking around them)....but it also benefits the moms. If we’re sabotaging this so we can dish off $$ to Enfamil, then yes, I think there is something out of balance here.

JLeslie's avatar

@DaphneT You’re working against me here :).

tom_g's avatar

@DaphneT – That’s what I’m talking about. There is no support.

@DaphneT: “my BIL made my sister’s life miserable when they had their first child because he thought breast-feeding was gross and so did his family.”

wow. Not uncommon, but wow. So, he’s ok with the health risks to his wife for not breastfeeding?

@DaphneT: “So when the mom goes home, the dad should be on board too.”

Great point. There are many men who are not supportive. Some feel that their wive’s breasts are for him to play with during sexy time, and they have just not been exposed to breastfeeding. Support is critical.

JLeslie's avatar

@tom_g I guess where I live, and even when I was growing up, I am 44 years old, everyone around me spoke favorably about breast feeding, so I am maybe unaware of people like the ones @DaphneT mentioned who actually think it gross. That sounds so foreign to me.

I am all for advocating for a system that informs and supports women about breast feeding, just don’t take away the support for the non-breastfeeders at the same time is my point. Let’s not be defensive, mean, or dismissive in our words, but helpful instead.

Meanwhile, what is your answer to the OP’s question?

tom_g's avatar

@JLeslie: “I am all for advocating for a system that informs and supports women about breasy feeding, just don’t take away the support for the non-breastfeeders at the same time is my point.”

We’re in agreement here.

JLeslie's avatar

@tom_g I just edited my answer you might not have noticed the last line, what is your answer to the OP’s question? Taking us down a tangent of disgust for formula doesn’t really answer what you think about a boy, not baby, with his mouth to his mom’s nipple on Time magazine.

tom_g's avatar

@JLeslie – re: OP’s question….
I support the WHO recommendation

“Review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.”

I have been surrounded by breastfeeding for 9.5 years, and I have seen kids of many ages breastfeeding. It doesn’t disgust me. That said, how old is that kid? Making a spectacle of him on the cover of a crappy magazine is probably going to cause some problems for this kid.

JLeslie's avatar

@tom_g So we basically agree. That child looks older than toddlerdom in my opinion. Putting him on the cover is terrible to me, not much different than some questions I have about reality TV involving children. I am not completely against reality TV or anything, but this cover page really seems like a bad choice by the parent who is posing.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Neither.

What freaks me out is how anyone things it is anyone’s business OTHER than the mother and the son/daughter.

We have a bunch of busybodies around here.

JLeslie's avatar

@elbanditoroso So then do you agree putting a picture of it on Time magazine is a bad choice by the mother? If she puts it out there for public display she opens the discussion, doesn’t she?

filmfann's avatar

I have known women who breast fed their children up to 4 years old.
My policy is once the child can ask for the boob, it’s time to ween him.

I am more concerned for the 3 year old on the cover of Time, and all the teasing he will get when he gets older.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I think the mother is somewhat of an exhibitionist. But that wasn’t the question.

If she had kept doing this in private, I would again say that it is none of anyone’s business.

JLeslie's avatar

@elbanditoroso I guess it wasn’t in the OP’s question, valid point, but a lot of us took issue with it being on the cover of Time more than anything, not whether or not breastfeeding til age 3,4,5 is ok.

tom_g's avatar

Wait – that kid is only 3 years old. I thought he was older (kindergarten age).

JLeslie's avatar

@tom_g 3 or 5 my answer is the same, does yours change? It still is too old to be on the cover of Time or breastfed in public in my opinion. He didn’t look kingergarten age to me, I assumed he was 3 or 4.

tom_g's avatar

@JLeslie – I don’t know. I really dislike sh*t magazines like this overall, so I am trying to resist the urge to rail against Time. I’m also aware that they are trying to rile people up enough to get some publicity and advertising. Seriously, I had no idea Time still existed. But back to the question: What if the kid was 2 years old? Would you feel more comfortable then? What is it in particular that would make 3 years old wrong? When I took a quick look before, I thought the kid might be 5 and in kindergarten. The kid would likely get some sh*t from his peers, which would suck. But 3 years old? What social problems do you think he might get from this? And would it be any different if he was on the cover for some other reason (say, an article about misbehaving kids or bedwetting or something)?

JLeslie's avatar

@tom_g Misbehaving kids, bed wetting, yes all of that would very much bother me if he was the cover boy for it. 3 year olds still play with friends, some are in school, I was in nursery school at 3, and no matter what eventually he will go to school (in my answer above I even wondered out loud if the mom was going to homeschool the child) and if somehow this is remembered when he is in school he will hate it.

I have to say even a 2 year old breastfeeding is pushing it to be photographed and put in or on a magazine in my opinion. 2, and I am not talking about 24 months only let’s remember, we are talking anywhere from 24 months to 35 months, don’t need to breast feed in public.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

That cover did gross me out. I breast-fed my kids until they were successfully switched over to baby food and cow’s milk – 6 months. I don’t know about other women, but I didn’t produce enough milk to sustain them after they got that old and their appetite increased. Even if I did, breast feeding is for infants. I don’t care what breast-feeding fanatics say, everyone I know agrees that it looks disgusting for a kid who can stand up, with a full set of teeth, who should even be broke of a sippy cup by this time, and breast-feeding. Yuck! To me, it’s like keeping a kid in diapers until they are 10!

cazzie's avatar

Opinions about raising kids are like assholes, everyone has one. I say, let people raise their kids and mind your business. I am not a ‘fanatic’. (I co slept and breastfed until almost 2 and a half and had NO idea there was a thing called attachment parenting. I was simply being a mother and doing what I could to keep my baby happy and content and me relatively sane, doing what felt right.)

http://lightbox.time.com/2012/05/10/parenting/#2

nikipedia's avatar

The cover doesn’t bother me.

@tom_g, I know this is not your intention, but I can’t imagine a woman who was unable to breast feed for some reason not feeling ashamed and hurt by yor comments. I agree the evidence is there to support breast feeding but people who go the formula route for whatever reason aren’t bad people.

tom_g's avatar

@nikipedia – You’re right – that’s not my intention. I had hoped I had made that clear.

Cruiser's avatar

What I would like to know is how that kid got to be that big? I don’t think she holds even a ¼ cup of milk in those boobies.

jca's avatar

@tom_g: You did say your intention was to rile people up, and some of what you said was dismissive and unhelpful.

As far as putting children on the cover of a magazine due to bedwetting or misbehaving, the difference with that is that bedwetting or misbehaving are not things the kids can control nor can the parents (sometimes). Breastfeeding a child who is 4 or 5 is something the parent can control.

The Today Show had the mom and kid on today and if I heard correctly, he is 4. It’s their business what they do, but when they put themselves on the cover of a magazine, they make it everyone’s business.

Leanne1986's avatar

I am quite amazed by the negativity that has come from this cover. Whilst I probably wouldn’t choose to still be breastfeeding my (hypothetical) child at 3 or 4 years old (those guys have teeth!), I am not repulsed by those who do and I am surprised by the amount of people that seem to find this “disgusting”. Isn’t it natural? We are mammals afterall. I try not to have strong opinions about parenting techniques seeing as I have no intention of being a parent myself but I think it is fair to say that, as long as the child is not abused in anyway, there are no “right” way to raise a child.

I wasn’t even that surprised by the cover itself. What I was surprised about was that the woman is young, attractive and modern in appearance. Usually when I see articles like this the woman breastfeeding an older child is slightly unkempt and hippy like! What does the fact that I was surprised to see a tidy looking, attractive woman at the forefront of this story say about me, I wonder?!

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@Cruiser Ha-ha! I was thinking the same thing. Obviously that kid, at age 3 or 4, is eating a full diet of solid food, milk, juice, etc., which is my point – no reason to be breast feeding.

cazzie's avatar

@jca Time put them on the cover, they didn’t put themselves. There was a photoshoot and several mother’s were photographed with children. What photo makes the cover is up to the editor. When their photo is taken, they don’t even know if it will be used and they certainly aren’t generally informed ‘Oh, yes, this is going to be out cover story and our cover photo.’ That would be quite rare. If you want to get all 1800’s on someone’s ass, complain to the editors of the magazine.

I thought you were going to say something smart when you were talking about bedwetting and bad behaviour being. Putting a child on the cover of a magazine and stigmatising them and making them poster children for bedwetting and being naughty would be unacceptable. Having a public photo of a child and saying, they were breastfed until they were 4 should NOT be a stigmitisation of the child or the practice of breastfeeding. So, I think you were perhaps on that track of reasoning?

Seriously. The mother’s are advocates for Attachement Parenting. That is all.

Seeing breasts used for the intended purpose on the front of a magazine should not be shocking. It is illogical. We see them all the time and glorify the hell out of the Sports Illustrated cover models.

Blackberry's avatar

I think it’s pretty cool. I like the shock factor (for some reason, I like seeing social norms challenged).

What I don’t like is how Time in America is in its own bubble. There are more important events, and Time has a habit of doing this.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca it says on the bottom right of the cover the boy is 3, he is probably now 4, but not at the time of the photo.

I agree with @cazzie that the stigma of bedwetting is a problem whether people understand it is not the child or mother’s fault. It is not for public display in my opinion.

@cazzie But, I assume they knew it must be a possibility the photos could be used. Even if it had been inside the magazine I don’t think I am ok with it. I liked your comment about the term attachment parenting.

@Blackberry I like that about Time.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hm. I guess I don’t understand why it all has to be made so public.

jca's avatar

@cazzie: Yes, I was saying putting children and parents on the magazine for bedwetting or misbehavior would be unacceptable. I think (just my opinion, they’re like a-holes, everyone’s got one) that breastfeeding a child till 4 or 5 is weird. Yes, we’re mammals. Yes, that’s what breasts are for. I just think if the child is eating solid foods and getting most nutrition from other foods, it’s unnecessary to breastfeed that late in life.

Time put them on the cover but they definitely knew they were going to be (or potentially going to be) put on the cover. Do you not think when people are put on the cover of a magazine they are made to sign releases, granting permission? Do you really think they would take a photo of someone, especially someone with a bared breast, and unbeknownst to them, have it land on the cover of a magazine?

tinyfaery's avatar

I am not bothered by the picture or the topic. I am bothered by the idea that people are so upset with it. Really? Aren’t there a million other things we should be getting riled up about?

elbanditoroso's avatar

Time magazine is milking this controversy for all it’s worth.

Blackberry's avatar

Ba Dum Chh!

Keep_on_running's avatar

Meh. I was breastfed until I was three or four, no kidding.

wundayatta's avatar

Of course, unless you are a subscriber or you buy the magazine, you can’t read the article. It seems a little childish to me that people react to the photo without knowing what the article is about. I barely know anything about attachment parenting, other than I hang out with a crowd that includes people who do it. It always seemed like a viable and sensible option to me. I bet those kids are healthier in any number of ways. The reaction against the picture brings to my mind the concept of the Stockholm Syndrome.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@tom_g Actually, the more relevant question is: does Time magazine still exist? People read it? Mom cancelled her subscription years ago. She said that it lost focus of their original vision and became more like People magazine.

@cazzie What bothers me about that cover is that everyone else in the world is getting THIS cover: Thank you for the link to what is being published by Time elsewhere. It supports Mom’s decision. The magazine in the US went from the vision of being a global educational format to relying on sensationalism to fill their bank accounts.

@Hypocrisy_Central This is not an either/or scenario. I agree with @JLeslie and others that wonder if this may cause unwarranted harassment by peers for the young lad down the road. He is not old enough to grasp what repercussions that posing for this picture might bring on.

The real questions are why do people get so worked up about a woman breast-feeds their child in public? Why would the child’s sex matter? At what age should a child be weaned from breast-feeding?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I didn’t think about the gender, @Pied_Pfeffer! Do you think the reaction would be different if it was a little girl on the cover with her mom?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I nursed my kids far beyond the age that they actually needed it for nutrition…to about 18 months (I remember telling my sister that I decided it’s time to wean the kid, and she jokingly said, “Ah Mom! And I gotta get a job too?!” :) I never felt the need to announce it publicly or to wave banners and throw fits or get my picture on a magazine cover. I don’t understand what is up with that. Why would it be the world’s business?

JLeslie's avatar

@Keep_on_running Would you want your picture doing at 3 years old on the cover of a magazine?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Dutchess_III The gender question was the the last one in the OP’s details. Nah, a person’s gender doesn’t change my opinion, but maybe it does for others since @Hypocrisy_Central asked about it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah, @JLeslie, I think Mom was wrong to take make that kind of decision for her child.

SpatzieLover's avatar

It’s proper nutrition for an infant to toddler. They’re called Milk Teeth for a reason.

I’m surprised that attachment parenting (just known as regular parenting in almost every country besides the USA) was Time’s choice for a cover story.

@tom_g I am with you on formula. Unless it is needed, it is unnecessary. The more I read, the more I realize how much formula is contributing to the drastic rise in childhood allergies, asthma and other ailments.

cazzie's avatar

@jca of course they sign release forms, absolutely, but those release forms do not give the subject the right to say where or where not to display the photo. The women in the photos are promoting attachment parenting. It is what the article is about. The article is NOT about breastfeeding your child until they go to school. They took many photos of many mothers with their children in different poses. She is, most likely, PROUD AS PUNCH to have the cover photo, just like those Sports Illustrated models. She is standing for what she believes in; Attachment Parenting.

Of course the children no longer need the ‘food value’ of the breast milk. Breastfeeding is not only about feeding your baby. It is about our biology, releases of hormone, bonding with the child. That 4 year old boy is not being breastfed at every meal, and most likely not on demand. I didn’t read the whole article as I do not subscribe to this magazine (NOR, btw, is this OUR cover story in Europe.) I have recently read a few articles about attachment parenting and it doesn’t come right out and say.. ‘You must let your child breastfeed as long as they want to.’ It is about choice. It is about having a close, affectionate bond with your child.

@Pied_Pfeffer It is what Time has become. Each region chooses it’s cover. Asia might have been something different again, I don’t know. The photo is not for global education, unless we take it in the context that it was only chosen to upset and sensationalise for those reactive, petty, backward Americans. LOL. (And I don’t mean that about Americans, I mean it shows more about the editorial decisions by the US Time editors, but perhaps I am become a new kind of superhero than my usual Double Standards Girl and I am also a horrible cynic.)

JLeslie's avatar

@SpatzieLover Ivaguely remember back when I was around 12 years old there was some sort of recall on a formula, because it might have been missing some nutrients? Not sure. They thought it might contribute to some mental problems. I only know because a girl I used to babysit was bottle fed on it, and her parents had some concern (my family was close to her family). That was the first time I realized some babies are bottle fed formula from birth, that is what sticks out in my mind about it.

cazzie's avatar

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all mothers breastfeed for a full year—or longer if the mother so chooses, so how can we shame women who are just following the advice of the country’s foremost medical establishment?

Covershot : Celebratory or Exploitive? The magazine exploited what the mother thought she was celebrating. I think she will look back and probably think of it as a ‘Bridget Jones’ moment.

ninjacolin's avatar

I don’t have a problem with the photography and/or display of art on a public piece like Time magazine. If we didn’t capture scenes like these then we wouldn’t have these scenes captured! Photography, art, journalism.. these are all in the same important boat to me.

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought said: “seems oddly sexual to me.” – yes, to me too somehow.. hmm.. Okay.. I’m gonna attempt to capture what bothers me so much about the concept:

Mom seems to be inept. She doesn’t know how to ween her child. It’s not because it’s better or worse, it’s that she’s a pushover and her kid is bullying her into it. She seems like a socially inept and passionately weak individual who has likely gone her whole life never using the word “no” with any kind of authority. The kid seems like a brat who always gets his way even if it makes his mom look like an idiot.

Now, I’m not saying that this is necesarily the case with either the mom or the child, but I am saying that the image draws out those assumptions in me. And that, I think, is what bothers me so much about it. I just can’t imagine a case where this is happening in a mentally/socially/physically healthy way for a child and/or for the mother. It seems to reek of imbalance, ineptitude, and/or ab-use.

nikipedia's avatar

@ninjacolin, that’s a huge leap if I’ve ever heard one.

ninjacolin's avatar

meh, just my personal experience.
uh.. lol, not that my mom was shitty at weening her kids. haha. I mean.. my experience of the image.

tom_g's avatar

@ninjacolin: “Now, I’m not saying that this is necesarily the case with either the mom or the child, but I am saying that the image draws out those assumptions in me.”

Work with those assumptions and see if they hold up. I’m assuming you haven’t had done much research on breastfeeding. Start there. It’s possible that you’ll be able to come back and look at that image and see something different. Just a thought.

ninjacolin's avatar

Yea, I might be ignorant of how difficult it is to ween a child off breastfeeding. And maybe I have something to learn. Maybe there’s more reason for it lasting so long than I’m aware of. Actually, I still remember the taste of breastmilk. I’m sure I completely stopped by around 3.5 or 4 at least since I can’t remember much else in my life before that.

I’m all for breast feeding, I just assume it should be over before the kid can pronounce “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” And if it isn’t done by then.. well, i would kind of think the mom is somewhat failing to teach the kid the meaning of “no”.. unless it’s doctors orders, but again, I’ve never heard of that being the case. I’m reasonably sure most humans don’t have a need for breast milk after the age of 3.

ninjacolin's avatar

Is it “wrong” to breastfeed your kid for fun? Maybe, maybe not. But that’s all it seems like at that point..

tom_g's avatar

@ninjacolin – I thought you were going to read up on this stuff? Anyway, are you saying that a mom who breastfeeds her kid at 3 years old is doing so for her entertainment?

Blackberry's avatar

I thought it was kind of hot, because the mother is hot, and she has a sultry look on her face.

ninjacolin's avatar

For the record, I think it’s a great cover. Very provocative concept/subject.. perfect for it’s purpose of drawing attention to the issue.

lol, @tom_g what do you want me to learn? Give me a short list. I’ll accept whatever you say as fact.

Anyway, no, absolutely not.. I wouldn’t make an assertion based on my assumptions because I’ve already admitted that I’m not well researched on these matters. Instead, I was simply answering the question, as a polling participant, about what bothers me about the image. I gave you a play-by-play of what went through my mind as I experienced the discomfort of the image to the best of my abilities and limited only to what I knew/didnt know about the topics at the time. My opinion might change in the next 2 minutes for all I know but that’s where I was at the time for sure.


but to dive into your question, @tom_g:

If a child doesn’t need breastmilk at 3 years of age.. what other motivation could a parent have for continuing to breastfeed her child? Personal/mutual comfort/entertainment/pleasure? I’m curious that maybe it really is just a matter of the mom avoiding having to change a habit she picked up over the past 3 years.. If the nutritional benefits aren’t the purpose of the action, then what is?

ninjacolin's avatar

Jamie Lynne Grumet, the lady in the picture, had this to say about it:
“It’s not socially normal. The more people see it, the more it’ll become normal in our culture. That’s what I’m hoping. I want people to see it.”

which is really interesting because even participating in this discussion, I feel like there’s room for me to be converted to accepting it more. Funny how pliable the human mind is..

tom_g's avatar

Well, we may not be in great disagreement here. But I just want to make sure. First, you do know that there are major health benefits to the child and mom to breastfeed, correct? If you are merely objecting to kids who breastfeed at 3 years old, then we can discuss this. Do you associate Attachment Parenting with moms who “fail to teach the kid the meaning of ‘no’”? If so, I completely disagree. This opinion would be divorced from the reality. I’m not going on some “hunch” – I’ve been living this for almost 10 years and am surrounded by it. There are tons of myths about parenting that have permeated our culture. This seems to be a tricky one.

Anyway, back to the breastfeeding-at-3 question. My 3-year-old son still nurses at night (mostly for comfort and a connection). He’s a month or two away from being completely done, but really it’s just been a progression. This isn’t a matter of “not knowing when to say ‘no’” or whatever. We care for our kids and provide. Since there is nothing wrong with him connecting in this way, why would we tell him he can’t do it anymore – just to appease a prudish society?

Anyway, I still think it’s reasonable to have the discussion about breastfeeding kids at this age, despite the fact that I have a strong opinion on the matter.
What really gets me, however, is that there is quite the anti-breastfeeding attitude that permeates the U.S.. And it’s institutional.

Here are a few links I quickly dug up on some basics of breastfeeding health in case you have any basic non-age-related breastfeeding questions…

tom_g's avatar

kids
– stronger immune system (link), related to gene expression (link and this)
– anxiety and stress-coping (link)
– possble increase in IQ (link)
– decreased incidence of asthma (link and this)
– lower rates of childhood obesity (link)

mom
– cuts cancer risk (link)
– reduced risks of type 2 diabetes (link)
– quicker weight loss? (link)

other
– the CDC thinks hospitals should be doing more to support breastfeeding (link)
– other costs? (link)
– possible reduction in hard-to-treat breast cancer (link)
– WHO breastfeeding recommendation (link)

warning: I just did a quick search, so I probably missed some things. And I might have pasted in the wrong links here. sorry.

Sunnybunny's avatar

The only thing that bothers me about the cover is that it’s an obvious attention grab. Time Magazine went for shock factor which only bothers people and does nothing to help the attitude that extended breastfeeding is gross, wrong, harmful, sexual, or any other ignorant idea.

If Time wanted a fair, accurate and sensitive picture of extended breastfeeding they wouldn’t have gone for that kind of stupid pose. Who nurses like that ever? It’s disgusting to me because of the intended reaction and it does nothing to help promote breastfeeding as what is best. Time got what it wanted, and who cares if half the attention is negative, right?

The WHO states that infants should be breasted for at least the first year and then for as long as mom and baby are happy with it after that. In the US there are too many women who believe they can’t breastfeed or can’t work and breastfeed or can’t produce enough milk or whatever. In reality, it’s actually very rare for a woman to be truly unable to breastfeed. We just don’t care enough to provide the education and support and a basic culture of breastfeeding in this country. There are places in the world where breastfeeding rates exceed 90%.

Formula is a pretty new invention in human history. It is kind of gross if you’ve ever smelled it. I am so glad its around for women who adopt or have problems or have jobs that make it nearly impossible for them to have a strong breastfeeding relationship, but at the same time I wish our society didn’t make breastfeeding an issue and that women had more support from families, coworkers, and doctors. Each of my kids nursed longer than the last because I got better at it as I went so that my youngest was almost a year and a half before he gave it up totally. I even managed to work full time while nursing and not using formula at all, thanks to the guidance of a family member who’d done it before me. The honest truth is that most women don’t trust their bodies to get it right,we are obsessed with being able to measure what our kids eat, and we’re always advised to do things that sabotage the breastfeeding relationship before it even gets off to a good start (pacifiers, bottles, supplementing with formula, having no choice but to go back to work when baby is only six weeks old, etc.).

Moms in the US are almost set up to fail at breastfeeding before they even get started. It’s too bad really because of the many benefits not to mention the stupidly high price of formula.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

It disturbs me because the child, at that age, can totally understand things that he couldn’t when he was a baby. I think that once a child is eating food, and once the child can actually verbalize, “Hey can I suck on your boob?” that breastfeeding should be cut off. A three year old kid can easily remember things like that, and that’s creepy.

My daughters can both remember things from when they were toddlers, and I would hate for them to have memories of sucking my nipples. It would just be weird. I have sexual issues because of my father anyway, but that would just make it worse for me.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@rebbel In the UK it is quite normal to have bitty when no longer in diapers. In the UK this show is on TV, in prime time when kids can watch? If so, why aren’t the boys in the UK rapist, sex perverts that will drag young girls in the bushes and ravage them? Here in the US that is what society believe the sight of a nipple will do to them (the boys), they go so far as to not even have indents of nipple visible on garments. Mine you, they are shown all over on cable TV, and in many cinema movies, I guess they are OK there. Live, a topless beach…*NEVER*, will have boys jumping cheerleaders in the school hallways. Don’t you Brits no the evils of showing boys nipple!?!? (sorry the sarcasm was very dry, but sarcasm is best serve that way ;-P)

@ninjacolin Mom seems to be inept. She doesn’t know how to ween her child. It’s not because it’s better or worse, it’s that she’s a pushover and her kid is bullying her into it. She seems like a socially inept and passionately weak individual who has likely gone her whole life never using the word “no” with any kind of authority. The kid seems like a brat who always gets his way even if it makes his mom look like an idiot. That is a broad harsh stoke one can put a lot of moms into under other situations; “Mom seems to be inept. She doesn’t know how to wean her child.” “Mom seems to be inept. She doesn’t know how to keep her child from coming up pregnant. Mom seems to be inept. She doesn’t know how to keep her child from drugs or being a teen alcoholic. The girl seems like a brat who always gets her way, she got knocked up and it makes her makes her mom look like an idiot.” Playing devil’s advocate one can take those blanket statements and run wild with them.

One thing Jamie Lynne Grumet proves, all women need a bra, especially after having children.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@wundayatta To be fair, quite a bit of the stir-up isn’t entirely over the cover, it is over AP, and how the Time article unnecessarily creates division about it by shaming mothers right before Mother’s Day. It might not be such a big stir-up had the NYT not run an AP piece (can AP be feminist????!?!) about a week or so ago.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@tom_g Even I, a woman who has no children and wants no children, am aware that Breast Is Best, and I will be a total failure as a mother should I not feed my child breastmilk for at least 2 years. It’d be cool if you didn’t feel the need to continue shaming rhetoric before getting to the more nuanced part of the conversation.

tom_g's avatar

@Aethelflaed: ”@tom_g Even I, a woman who has no children and wants no children, am aware that Breast Is Best, and I will be a total failure as a mother should I not feed my child breastmilk for at least 2 years. It’d be cool if you didn’t feel the need to continue shaming rhetoric before getting to the more nuanced part of the conversation.”

Holy shit. It would be “cool” if you would point out where I’m “shaming” people. I’m a feminist and a socialist. I’m shaming the f*cking system that doesn’t support women and values profit over health. Shaming? Please point out where I’m doing that. Isn’t this whole thread about shaming a woman who is breastfeeding her kid?

Aethelflaed's avatar

@tom_g When several women on a thread tell you that you come across as shaming women, and even you admit that you purposefully phrased your initial comment to stir up shit, maybe there’s a chance in hell you are…
ETA: and really, just because someone calls themselves a feminist doesn’t mean they can’t shame women. Hell, huge amounts of feminism have been dedicated to just that.

tom_g's avatar

quote me, please. Show me where I am shaming women here. People are accusing a woman feeding her baby of child abuse and I’m the one “shaming” here?

tom_g's avatar

@Aethelflaed: “ETA: and really, just because someone calls themselves a feminist doesn’t mean they can’t shame women. Hell, huge amounts of feminism have been dedicated to just that.”

I think we need to take this offline, because you are way out of line and completely ignorant of this issue. Do you have any idea why women’s health (including birth and breastfeeding) is considered a feminist issue these days? PM me if you want to continue making claims about me that are completely unfounded.

wundayatta's avatar

@tom_g I’m just guessing, but it seems like all your evidence is designed to encourage and/or shame women into breast feeding for longer. The way you presented it could be seen as shaming, although I, personally, took it as describing benefits and trying to encourage. You say tomato.

I am shocked at the level of pushback there is to the ideas of attachment parenting, even if we aren’t really talking about them. It’s the same kind of visceral reaction of disgust that a lot of people have towards the idea of homosexuality. It’s purely visceral and not a lot of logic in it.

I think attachment parenting is about the emotions more than nutrition or sleeping arrangements. It’s about, yes, attachment. I don’t know a lot about it, and it wasn’t how I parented, since my wife was not into having our kids in bed with us. I see how it freaks people out because they start thinking about sex when they think of breasts and sleeping together. Ironic, considering my other questions along these lines about how people believe they can separate sex from other aspects of life—I’m not so sure I believe the answers, now.

I think that issues of emotions and “attachment” touch people very deeply in places they are extremely uncomfortable being touched. They can look at a picture like the Time Cover and feel these feelings but not know what they are really about, so they attack the activity depicted in the image as weird. Weird! With no supporting argument or data. They only talk about how they feel about it while scrambling desperately to try to make up some logical reason for the feeling.

There’s a lot more here than meets the eye. I think we have no clue as to what all is going on inside us that makes us feel so strongly—comfortable or uncomfortable. I think it would be worth investigating more deeply before making pronouncements like “weird” and acting as if they are reasoned arguments.

Ron_C's avatar

Some parents want to keep their kid a baby for as long as possible. I have heard of kids breast feeding until they started school. I think this practice twists the parents and the kid. I find the Time cover very uncomfortable and definitely will not buy that issue.

jca's avatar

@tom_g: You keep talking about the benefits of breastfeeding. I don’t think anybody disputes that there are definitely benefits to breastfeeding. Better for baby, good for mom, etc. The dispute here is over a child the age of the child on the cover of Time being breastfed.

cazzie's avatar

I am hearing some really twisted talk about breastfeeding and children here. Some of you have some REAL hang ups about breasts and sex. I am learning much more about you guys with your comments now than in a long time.

Some of you absolutely hate this woman and what she is doing and I find that fascinating. Others are hating on supporters of the woman with words like ‘shame’.

I got a word for ALL of you. CHOICE. This is not abuse. This is actually RECOMMENDED by leading paediatric doctors. It is just like the ‘marrying your cousin’ issue. You are all bringing in your own baggage and ignoring the evidence and science behind it and letting your ignorant ‘ick factors’ get the better of you. I feel like telling you to grow up, but perhaps you just weren’t raised that way.

You who are grossed out by this, I want you all to really think about why you feel the way and do it without personally judging the woman. Look at yourselves and your own ideas and why and how you think you’ve come to those.

@tom_g points out, if a mother sees fit to keep breastfeeding and medical specialist actually agree, why should she stop, just to appease a prudish society?

Never does he say it is shameful to not breastfeed. And what a strange word to use, ‘shame’. Because many women feel shamed when they do breast feed, getting kicked out of cafes, shops. I don’t think shame should be even remotely applicable here. Shame has to be take out of the equation all together. Making an educated choice perhaps, realising that some women will have problems and will be unable to breast feed. I had two good friends who were unable, but they didn’t get hung up about it and there was absolutely no reason to feel ashamed. They, themselves were disappointed, but they got the support they needed and there is choice now on the market with baby formula, as there should be.

So, how about respecting valid parenting choices.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@cazzie Exactly what is recommended by leading pediatric doctors? Breast feeding in general, or for a certain length of time, say 2, 3, 5 years?

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie I hope you are differentiating between those who are angry at the woman for being on the cover of a magazine and those who are disgusted by breastfeeding a 3 year old, because there is definitely those tw sets of people on the Q and they are not the same things. I only question it because you brought up shame, and the only shame I remember being mentioned was some of us worrying about the boy feeling shame among his peers, because kids can be brutal to each other, it is not that he should feel shame, but that the fall out might be he feels shame.

cazzie's avatar

@Dutchess_III The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all mothers breastfeed for a full year—or longer if the mother so chooses, so how can we shame women who are just following the advice of the country’s foremost medical establishment?

From Wiki: The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) emphasize the value of breastfeeding for mothers as well as children. Both recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. The AAP recommends that this be followed by supplemented breastfeeding for at least one year, while WHO recommends that supplemented breastfeeding continue up to two years or more.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree with that @cazzie. I breast feed until the kids were 18 months. I wouldn’t put myself on a magazine in that manner though. I breastfed in public when they were six months and younger, but no one knew. At least, no one ever said a single solitary word, not one dirty look nothing. I think, however, that I was discrete enough so that they really, honestly didn’t know.

Again, I don’t know why some people insist on making such a big damn deal out of ordinary things. I think they just want attention.

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie , @tom_g is being told he is shaming women by @Aethelflaed for example.

I think the bigger deal we grown ups make of this, the worse it will be for the kid, so why don’t we show how grown-up and respectful we can be as an example to the kids.

@Dutchess_III She wants attention, she obviously looks after herself and that she is a yummy mummy, but I’m sure she feels she is promoting AP. I think it is really sad you were so intent and felt pressure to hide the fact you were breastfeeding. When you think about it, wasn’t that hiding it because of feeling shame and embarrassment if people noticed? Why does it have to be so discrete that no one notices?

What if we all felt this way about something that was actually harmful…. like smoking. Say people who smoked had to literally find sneaky ways to hide and not let anyone see what they were doing and they were outright shamed for it. (to an extent, anti smoking legislation is doing that a little… but still…) The reality of it is people walk around, smoking openly in front of stores and as they walk, and at the bus stop, and at bars and pubs, still in most places, and if anyone complains, they are made to feel like they are stepping on smokers rights. But we aren’t talking about smoking, we are talking about feeding our babies and doing something our doctors recommend, not try to get us to stop.

Is this the new ‘Gay kiss on TV’? Is this so taboo no one wants to see it?

jca's avatar

@cazzie: @tom_g admitted he was intentionally trying to rile people up with his words.

tom_g's avatar

Ok, this is getting absurd.

@jca: ”@tom_g admitted he was intentionally trying to rile people up with his words.”

Let’s take a look at my statement when I said this…

@tom_g: “Yep, in a way I suppose my intention was to rile people up a little. Like I said, I know there are people who will need formula. The existence of formula is not a bad thing. The formula industry is. The influence it has had, and the misinformation around the whole topic of breastfeeding has people just giving breastfeeding a try, then when there is nobody and no system to help, just fall back on the formula and hope for the best. I am not blaming women here. It’s the system that sucks.”

Read this statement, then read it again. If you can’t understand what I’m saying then I have no idea how to communicate. Or maybe these concepts are so foreign to you that you can’t even get what I’m saying.

Did you read my statement again? Now apply this to the claims that I am trying to “shame” women. Does your brain hurt yet? It should. It doesn’t make any f*cking sense. None.

Let’s try this. Say I came in here to rail against public schools (note: I wouldn’t, but let’s just try this). Would you feel “shamed” by me if you had sent your kids to public school? Probably not, right? Because there is a difference between objecting to the system and objecting to the people who are victims of that system. Please try to understand what I have just said and then go back and re-read my comments. If you still feel that I am “shaming” women, then I have absolutely no idea what to say.

Also, for the record. I have a 3-year-old boy who occasionally nurses. According to some people here, we are engaging in child abuse. I don’t feel “shamed” because this happens to be an area that I hold a greater-than-average amount of knowledge.

Anyway, peace to all of the people who felt that I have “shamed” them. If you follow this up with some more horseshit though, all bets are off.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@cazzie You’re assuming things. I wasn’t “intent” on hiding it. If I thought I was doing something shameful, I wouldn’t have done it. I simply got so good at it I could sling the baby, drop a blanket over us, unhook my nursing bra, all in under 3 seconds so if anyone was even looking they’d assume the baby went to sleep and I covered him or her with a blanket. If I was in conversation, I didn’t even miss a beat. (I was once babysitting in the 1 year old room at church. I was holding a baby that was close to the age of my baby. Baby started fussing. I was in the middle of a conversation with another mom. Without even thinking about it, I slung the baby, dropped the blanked and unhooked my nursing bra….a few seconds later I’m going “Whaaaa?” because the baby was licking at me and mouthing me like “WHAT is THIS?” I looked down…that’s not my baby! I cracked up! The other mothers looked at me, so I told them what I had done (none of them, including the woman I was talking directly to knew what I had just tried to do!) They laughed too, but they were a little discomfited, I could tell. I thought “Well, maybe I shouldn’t have said anything!” But too late! To me it was really funny. :)”

I was discrete out of respect for others who might be embarrassed. Just exactly what is wrong with that?

jca's avatar

@tom_g: My head definitely hurts. I don’t want to go back and read all the posts. Did someone use the words “abusive” to describe breastfeeding a 3 year old?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ctrl F @jca Nope. The only instance of “abusive” in this thread is in the question you just asked.

Ron_C's avatar

@jca now look up creepy and see how many times that word pops up.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Aethelflaed: “It’s mostly how both the mom and the kid are looking at me the whole time that I find creepy.” I agree. So staged. For shock value only. It’s devaluing and demeaning to the mother (who obviously doesn’t care) and to the kid (who doesn’t know it yet.)

@WillWorkForChocolate: “A three year old kid can easily remember things like that, and that’s creepy.” Perhaps I would change the wording to “Would the kid be creeped out when/if he remembers or is reminded? Will his classmates make sure he’s creeped out?”

tom_g's avatar

@jca…. @ninjacolin: “And that, I think, is what bothers me so much about it. I just can’t imagine a case where this is happening in a mentally/socially/physically healthy way for a child and/or for the mother. It seems to reek of imbalance, ineptitude, and/or ab-use”

Ron_C's avatar

Yeah, looked at it again and it’s still creepy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I, personally, think the mom in question is using it as a diet tool. Do you know how many calories nursing burns up?!

Hey, @cazzie. You still haven’t answered my question. I wasn’t discrete because I would feel ashamed or embarrassed if people knew. I was discrete out of respect for people around me who might be uncomfortable or embarrassed by it. What, exactly, is wrong with that?
(O wait. I know. They are WRONG to feel that way. I have every right to tell people that how they feel is WRONG and they need to CHANGE how they feel to make me happy.)

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Dutchess_III I breastfed in public when they were six months and younger, but no one knew. At least, no one ever said a single solitary word, not one dirty look nothing. I think, however, that I was discrete enough so that they really, honestly didn’t know. There lies part of the problem, don’t you think?

I was discrete out of respect for others who might be embarrassed. Just exactly what is wrong with that? I think it is quite noble and respectable to consider the feelings of others. At some time, you have to wonder if it is something natural as breastfeeding why you can’t do so in the open. Myself, I find that more natural than other things people feel they have the right to do in front of other people. Even if you did not feel shame, I am sure some women are made to feel that way, like those who won’t go without a bra even when they physically do not need one. Breastfeeding when in a café, bus stop, amusement park bench should be as natural as combing one’s head. Damn those nipples, if breastfeeding could just do without them, most of the aversion to having an exposed breast, even when doing what nature intended them to do, would be a non-issue.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, @Hypocrisy_Central. In answer to your first comment, I don’t see how that is a problem. They didn’t know, it was no big deal to me, everyone is happy.

As for your second post, refer to my comment: “O wait. I know. They are WRONG to feel that way. I have every right to tell people that how they feel is WRONG and they need to CHANGE how they feel to make me happy.” Who the hell cares? It’s no big deal to be discrete. It’s no hardship at all.

The fact remains that the breasts of a female human are unique among mammals. All other female mammels only get enlarged breasts when they are actively nursing. Actively nursing is an unmistakeable sign of fertility. Fertility=sexuality. I don’t see a thing wrong with nursing in public, but I do sympathize with people who are uncomfortable with trying to reconcile the innocence of nursing with the sexuality of our female breasts. So can’t we just be cool about it instead of acting like idiots.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh and peeing is as natural a function as breastfeeding. I don’t see any fits being thrown over “Why should we have to hide the fact that we’re peeing?”

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Dutchess_III ….I don’t see how that is a problem. They didn’t know, it was no big deal to me, everyone is happy. Let me elucidate, I did not mean it was a problem they did not know, I was alluding to it was a problem you had to make sure they didn’t know. Even if they knew but didn’t see it, the fact that a mother was nursing her baby in front of them should be as natural as someone blowing their nose or combing their hair, one should not have to go out of the way to make sure another knew they were doing it.

Urinating and defecating are natural, but they are self-sustained acts and they leave behind something to attest to what happened, and often not healthy anyhow. When a mother and baby leave the area there is no smelly reminder :-)

wundayatta's avatar

When I was growing up, there were all these pissoirs in Paris. It seemed like all the French didn’t mind peeing in front of whoever happened to be passing by on the street. I don’t know if they still have that custom, though.

It just seems to me that it is very difficult to tell what emotions are involved in this. Do you hide your breasts out of concern for feelings of others, or out of shame? Is there any difference, really, in the end? The fact is you are covering up so as not to hurt people’s sensibilities. Maybe you don’t want to have to deal with any flack you might get. You don’t want to hear that you are an offensive person. Seems to me that is the same as shame. Just with a spin on it so you can pretend it isn’t shame.

Being concerned about the feelings of others is all well and good. But when you start curtailing or modifying your behavior for others all the time, what does that mean? It’s no big deal you say. It’s easy. And yet, you do have to go out of your way, all the time. Shouldn’t other people have to go out of their way sometimes for you? Or is it always your job? If so, why?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I just never gave it that much thought. It was in no way inconvenient for me.

You say that nursing a baby should be as natural as someone blowing their nose…I would much prefer that someone blow their nose elsewhere. That’s just gross!

As to peeing…if it can be done on bare earth, no harm, no foul, no smell. But our society won’t allow men to just whip it out and do their thing. Doesn’t allow for women to drop and squat in public, although both of those things are perfectly natural, and totally harmless, if there is earth to soak it up. I could argue that it’s totally unfair for me to have to wait and wait and WAIT on a long car ride until we get to the appropriate peeing station, rather than just pulling over and peeing on the ground when I need to.

I was discrete out of concern for the feelings of others @wundayatta. Yes, there is a difference, in the end. It’s called common courtesy. We practice it all the time. We don’t pick our noses in public. We don’t belch in public without an apology. Why should we even have to apologize, or hide any of those natural functions? What makes breast feeding so different?

And yes. If you consult that list above, lots and lots of people go out of their way for me in that regard.

It’s just common courtesy.

I STILL don’t understand how all the fuss came about. I nursed anywhere I wanted to. Since when did it become such a big deal?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Oh my God, what a shitstorm. Let me go juvenile for a moment…

FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

rooeytoo's avatar

I find it interesting that people get this rabid about infant care. Why don’t they get rabid about other health issues? Everyone knows sugar is terrible for you, rots teeth, makes you fat, etc. why don’t we attack women who give their kids sugar? I just read sperm quality is diminished by the unhealthy habits of the donor such as drinking, smoking, obesity. This too has a trickle down effect on the child produced by this sperm. Why aren’t fathers attacked for not doing the best by their children.

Just one more way to control women, don’t want the buggers to get too cocky after all! Why should they be allowed to make their own decisions? Gotta keep them in their place. Soon they will want to have abortions and vote!

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I am not offended by breastfeeding in public. I think that as toddlers get to the “I want to do it my self stage of development”, that is typically the point at which self feeding and drinking from a cup is the most appropriate, unless then is some nutritional problem that makes continued use of breast milk as a supplement necessary. I believe that despite the convenience of nature’s dispenser, the mother’s breast, that milk should be expressed and then served to the child as needed. This has more to do with a health course of individuation than it does about what is right or comfortable for others.

cazzie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I went to bed… I wasn’t ‘not answering’. Now that you explain it as an efficiency measure, it makes much more sense. I imagine some mother’s are a bit more awkward. I only wish that people wouldn’t feel embarrassed about seeing a mother nurse her baby. I think the more people see it they will get be desensitised to it. We get tossed out of cafe’s and stores, for heaves sake. Or they want us to sit in the stinky smelly bathroom. Who wants to eat in the bathroom? That just seems wrong.

…...and comparing breastfeeding to urinating in public is rather offensive.

Personally, I’m quite a small person and my baby was a very big boy. It was hard for me to hide him completely and I don’t think we should have been punished because we weren’t doing anything wrong.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @Dutchess_III. It doesn’t matter that breast feeding is natural and best for baby, being discrete is a nice thing to do. Not because breasts are sexual, but because in our society we simply don’t expose our breasts typically. If I am sitting in a public place, not feeling sexual at all, I would not just pull off my shirt (unless at the beach, and in America that is only a few beaches). If a mom is breast feeding a baby, I think she should be able to with no backlash, but she can still conform within reason to our standards of modesty. I can’t see why there is anything wrong with that. @Dutchess_III actually did nurse in public, I know a lot of women who were not willing to at all, because they felt odd about it themselves.

@cazzie Were you punished somehow?

@rooeytoo The boy on the cover is not a baby.

rooeytoo's avatar

@JLeslie – no shit???

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie I was asked to leave one place and another place they told me to go to the bathroom and another place they stuck me in a closet. Smokers are treated with more respect than nursing mothers.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie That’s awful. Smokers are not treated better in America. Many smokers feel like they are treated like criminals,

cazzie's avatar

Well, this was in Europe (around Amsterdam of all places) and then in the US when I was visiting. It didn’t matter that I had a blanket or anything. They could ‘envision’ that the child was nursing and I couldn’t cover his whole body. This was all during a scorching summer.

I have to say, the South of France felt the friendliest place to breast feed publicly. People took the blanket off to see the baby. The feeling of relief that gave me was amazing.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie And, he was still an infant? I think the breast feeding reaction varies around the country (US) to some extent. I don’t see many women breast feed in public, but when I do I have never seen one asked to leave, or a bad reaction from those around her, but I am sure it happens. I have never seen someone breast feed in public where I live now come to think of it. I’ve been in TN over 6 years. And, I don’t remember seeing it in NC. But, in every other state I have lived I have. I don’t know if it is a coincidence those states are southern. There is definitely a more extreme expectation of modesty in the area I live now. It is the first time I have ever had rules to cover my midriff at a gym, even the pool. Around town it is very rare to see someone in gym clothes period, like bike shorts, or even regular short shorts, and it is often otter here than FL for a couple of months.

When it is a three year old in public breast feeding, which I doubt even this mother does who is on the cover, but I have no idea for sure, it is not because the child is dependent on that sort of nourishment, and it is not about the bonding in my opinion. A baby is held in a position of nursing more or less, even when not nursing, a three year old isn’t. I completely believe a mother and child can still exoerience bonding when nursing no matter what age, don’t get me wrong.

My girlfriend, who nursed well into the age of three for her son, finally weaned him, it was hard, by making a rule he could only nurse in a specific room in their house. She was tired of him just putting his hand down her shirt in public or asking for milk. She never forced him to stop. Another acquaintance of mine who nursed her daughter for a few years…her daughter would literally walk up, the mom would let her nurse for a minute, and then the child would leave and go back to playing with the other kids. The breast feedng was like when a kid walks over to their mom after playing for a while to know the mom is right their, get a hug or a hold and then goes back to play. The breast feeding is unnecessary in that case in my opinion for the reassurance a child looks for.

I do wonder if there is a generalization to be made about who is offended by seeing a woman breastfeed? Cultural? Regional? Religion? I have no real guess if there is some groups who have more of a problem with it than others. As far as Europe, I know nothing about the attitudes there on the topic.

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie Little man was around 18 months old that summer, but he was BIG. He was very long and in good proportion. People probably didn’t realise he was that young, but that should not matter in the slightest.

ninjacolin's avatar

@tom_g i definitely think breastfeeding is a good thing. My only “concern” (if you can call it that) is the age thing. When/how to wean, what age is appropriate, and what to do if the kid never wants to stop.

“My 3-year-old son still nurses at night (mostly for comfort and a connection). He’s a month or two away from being completely done, but really it’s just been a progression. This isn’t a matter of “not knowing when to say ‘no’” or whatever. We care for our kids and provide. Since there is nothing wrong with him connecting in this way, why would we tell him he can’t do it anymore – just to appease a prudish society?”

Well, as we’ve already established it isn’t very common in society so outlier behaviors like this will predictably stir up reactions if they happen in public. If it was normal, then there wouldn’t be anything to talk about.

I dunno. I guess it’s not anyone’s business unless it’s publically visible. Something about it still makes me uncomfortable I have to admit but whatever..

here’s another video about it.

ninjacolin's avatar

@jca yea, I used the word “abuse”.. i don’t mean like trauma inducing abuse.. I just meant like “technically inappropriate”.. or “wrong use”.. or something.. not a moral judgement or at least not a very strong one. Words are hard to get right sometimes that’s why I tried to use as many as I could to give a well rounded description of my sentiments.

jca's avatar

@ninjacolin: I understand. Apparently when they threw it back at you they are implying you meant “trauma inducing abuse.”

ninjacolin's avatar

yea.. like seeing someone biting into an unpeeled banana as you would an unpeeled apple kind of “abuse” lol
Nothing morally wrong with it. Just very different and odd to observe.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wait…let me see if I have this straight. You’re saying that after 1 year old, months after the kid is started on solid food, if the kid wants to nurse in the middle of Wal Mart just for fun (not because he’s hungry,) you just stop and drop? Do you let them have/do whatever they want all the time? If they whine that they want a piece of candy right now you give it to them?

I’m talking about nursing babies whose sole source of nourishment is breast milk. After they’re older, there comes a point when the kid just needs to learn to wait, like he would for anything else.

Our society is sending conflicting messages, and it’s just not fair. 99% of the time the media uses breasts to send a sexual signal. But somehow everyone is supposed to suddenly put on the brakes and see an exposed boob in a different way. After I started nursing I viewed them in a completely different light. (Once my one year old looked at the cover of Cosmo and said, “Numma numma!” The attempt at sexuality was completely lost on him, of course, and when I saw it through his eyes, the way he saw it, I had to laugh! It just looked ridiculous!) Anyway, I saw them differently at that point but I didn’t demand that everyone around me see them differently. That’s just selfish and unreasonable.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, and @cazzie exactly how is comparing nursing to urinating in public offensive? Urination is only offensive because our society has made it so. Would you like everyone to start demanding that you “get over it”? From a biological point of view, the function of the kidneys is as much of a “miracle” as lactation.

tom_g's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central – You’re now required to follow up this question with something less controversial, like “Which type of apple is your favorite :)?”

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@tom_g @Hypocrisy_Central – You’re now required to follow up this question with something less controversial, like “Which type of apple is your favorite :)?” I guess I would kind of owe the collective something boring next time. I just find it fascinating people get so worked up behind it. I can only attest to the fact of exposed female nipple (we all know the nipple is the most evil thing on a woman’s chest). People get riled up when it is an infant, but let it be a child deemed old enough to walk, talk, and function and it is that much worse. Could be the breast “double-standard”; sexual object before motherhood, food for baby after birth, then back to sexual object after the baby is 18 months.

ragingloli's avatar

The pine apple

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central For the life of me, I can not see why anyone would feel the need to breast feed a toddler in public.

@ragingloli No no. Pine sol

ragingloli's avatar

nani desu ka?

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! Something just struck me about that Time cover…if those are the size of her breasts when she’s lactating, she must be flat as a board when she’s not! Maybe that’s why she keeps it up! Cheaper than breast enhancement surgery!

この。耳が聞こえないあなたは?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Dutchess_III @Hypocrisy_Central For the life of me, I can not see why anyone would feel the need to breast feed a toddler in public. I do not see it as a woman feeling she has to go into public to breastfeed her child, I just see it as if that is when or where the baby gets hungry then it is natural to handle it. I am sure many people would rather not have to change a diaper in the car or a public restroom but it just happens and you deal with it. It is not the need to it is just where it happens, not the choice of where it happened.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We aren’t talking about babies, @Hypocrisy_Central. We’re talking about toddlers, 9 to 12 months and a lot older. Kids who are so big that it’s impossible to be discrete about it. Kids who, by that age, get 100% of their calories from solid foods, and the occasional bit of breast milk is nothing but candy and comfort and cozy. Kids who, hopefully, by that age, have learned the meaning of “Not now. You’ll just have to wait.”

The fact that some women demand to be allowed to expose their breasts (which is a no-no in this society, no matter how ridiculous that more is—but do notice…the woman on the magazine does have her other breast covered) so that a big, potty trained kid can suck on it for no real, necessary reason is ridiculous.

Unless, of course, some women are in to teaching their children the value of instant gratification.

JLeslie's avatar

Don’t you think the older child, say toddler, might use wanting to breast feed in public as a manipulation? A way to get mommies attention? I am not talking about infants, I actually don’t think infants should be left to cry (generally) I tend to be on the side of being with baby constantly. I am pretty sure I would have the crib in my room at least 6 months, but I don’t have children so I don’t know for sure. I think children sleeping in their parents bed is fine if parents want to do that. I am fine with breast feeding until the child is 3 or 4, but I, like @Dutchess_III, can’t really understand needing to do it in public. Unless there is a circumstance it has been many hours and the mother is in pain, or fears drying up, but she can exoress her milk anyway I would guess.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah… @JLeslie. There is no reason to breast feed a kid in public with the excuse that they’re “hungry” if they’re old enough to have a cracker instead. An infant…different situation. I fed whenever and where ever, except when I was driving. And thus even the infant starts learning the idea of “waiting.”

DaphneT's avatar

@tom_g and @JLeslie, I truly think it was a case of choosing not to think about the topic. My BIL’s mother is something of a piece of work and raised her son accordingly. Their children are healthy and smart so they got past it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@DaphneT I lost your train of thought. What are you referring to?

cazzie's avatar

Another reason to be glad I live in Scandinavia where exposing your breasts at the beach or for feeding your baby is a big ‘so what.’ or as we like to say, ‘meh.’

and Urinating is ridding the body of a waste product that causes stink when done in non-designated areas. Breastfeeding is giving nourishment to a child which seems to cause a stink ONLY when certain uptight people witness it.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@cazzie Another reason to be glad I live in Scandinavia where exposing your breasts at the beach or for feeding your baby is a big ‘so what.’ or as we like to say, ‘meh.’ I think in many ways other nations are more straight up and real with themselves than us Yankees. Here the message seems always murky or dead wrong at the worse. If there were more topless beaches here the breast would lose much of it mystique or aura, breastfeeding along with it because people will not think of “naked breast, a nipple might be seen”, to “oh, look at the cute baby”, bypassing thoughts of the breast being out there.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have to agree with both of you, but the fact remains it IS taboo in our culture, no matter how stupid it is. Just like running around buck-naked is taboo in our culture.

@Hypocrisy_Central Would you run around naked on a hot day?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Dutchess_III If I were built like Arnold in his heyday, and I knew doing so would not get me arrested as some pervert, I might have thought about it. What would have keep me from doing it would have been my spiritual connection, not that I did not care to be seen naked, if I knew I lkooked good naked I would hope other women thought so too.

jca's avatar

I think the issue with this Time cover is not an exposed breast, but the age of the child.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@jca I think the issue with this Time cover is not an exposed breast, but the age of the child. In this case the age of the child (and possibly that he is male) trumps the exposed breast. Had the child been younger, it would be the breast. You know how many Yankees think; a child big enough to have juice boxes still on the nipple has to be something more than food, it has the stain of something sexual, even though I can hardly think of a 4yr old coming to that conclusion, so it has to be a mental defect in the mother, if I had to explain how many Yankees view it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I still don’t understand why a woman would feel like she needs to nurse a great big kid like that in public. I don’t have a problem with nursing older kids, but I do have a problem with it in public. It’s not necessary, it’s not for nutrition, it’s for numma numma fun time. To do it in public for absolutely no reason is voyeurism, IMO. Someone’s trying to get attention. Either that, or they don’t know how to tell the kid “No, later.”

JLeslie's avatar

I just found this map, the laws in many of the New England states, and if you ask them, they are the real yankees, shows strong laws protecting a mother nursing in public, I guess someone up there is ok with it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ummmmm!! @JLeslie said the “WTF” word!!!” I’m telling!!

@hHypocrisy_Central… not the “stain” of something sexual (why would something sexual be a “stain,” anyway? Is sex evil?) but the fact of something that isn’t necessary. Just like if a kid yells he wants a candy bar in the middle of WalMart, does Mom (or Dad) stop whatever they’re doing and rush to get him a candy bar?

Hey…how would any of ya’ll feel if it turned out the woman on the cover was not the kid’s mother? I can tell you, that is not a lactating woman. Would it be “bad” then? Would there be a “sexual stain” on it? Or would it just be…..“Weird.” If so, why?

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Honestly, as I watch this question play out over a couple of days, I have been thinking about why I may find it oddly sexual by the the mother. I have been considering my own feelings.

Is it because the woman is so sexually attractive that it creeps me out? I wonder if they ran a picture with a woman the majority of people found less attractive, would the reaction be so visceral by so many, myself included?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I thought that same thing @Imadethisupwithnoforethought. If it was an obese woman overflowing on a chair, and a fat kid the same age of the kid that’s sucking on her breast….what would the reaction have been? It’s like Time went out of its way to put sexual overtones on it. Why would that be? Why would they do that?

rooeytoo's avatar

It would look strange to me no matter what the people involved looked like.

wundayatta's avatar

I think most people are in denial, in this country, about their sexual natures. They try to shove it underneath. But when any image shows up that has sexual content together with non-sexual content, it freaks them out. They don’t know how to calibrate themselves.

This is why I asked my question about intergrating sexuality or separating it. Most people said they had no problem compartmentalizing sex in it’s own place, and thus were able to be sex free when sex was inappropriate.

Unfortunately, this picture throws that idea out on its ear. If people were truly integrated, this wouldn’t bother them. Instead they are in denial about sexuality being a part of everyday life. They think they have banished it, but when it comes down to it, they discover they can’t make it work right. It is only if they are actually separate that they can feel comfortable.

Europeans and people in other parts of the world are more ok with integration of sexuality and every other aspect of life. Breasts can be both sexual and for other purposes. They can do it at the same time, and in public, and people don’t feel like they are watching porn in public. They don’t get aroused. Or even worry about it.

But for those of us who are Americans, the national prudery is paramount. Even if we are intellectually ok with integration of sex and life, we aren’t really ok. We want the sex life to be relegated to very specific places: bedrooms and TVs. And so we are grossed out by breast feeding, and even worse, by the idea and practice of attachment parenting, because the kid looks too old, and that reminds us too much of sex, which is just so wrong with a kid this age. Its… it’s… child abuse, is what it is!

Well, that’s not going to change soon. I can tell you that for free. If you want to get away from prudery, you have to leave the country.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think when the kid walks up dragging his step stool, climbs up on it unassisted, grabs mom’s shirt and helps himself to a drink (while he probably has his sandwich in his other hand), it would look strange no matter what country you live in!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@wundayatta But for those of us who are Americans, the national prudery is paramount. Wundy, I pretty much agree with everything you said, but sexual prudery. This nation is about sexualization (for lack of a better term), sex is used to sell or promote, IMO, about 85% of everything we see, hear, and experience. Count how many bedroom scenes are played out during primetime on TV, and we won’t even mention cable. Some shows have multiple hook ups, and there is no attachment to them, it is all about satisfying the loins. This nation is not prudish on sex, just befuddled. It says you are not cool of you are not having sex, and lots of it, but we don’t want to see it up front and personal because that is dirty, but we can use it as the vehicle to move product, as the gag line in sitcoms, or to spice up drama series. If the mother Jamie Grumet was older, plumper, less attractive I believe people would say something because they feel the kid was too old but any sexuality would never come to play because the mom would not appear sexually pleasing to the eye. Because she has nice breast, and she is slender and attractive and would cause many, (and maybe some gay women) to snap their heads around for a better look, it is worse. This is the nation of booty clap videos on Youtube, sexting, and “I don’t want to die a virgin” prudishness is something I do not think we will overflow with here in the US.

@Dutchess_III It’s like Time went out of its way to put sexual overtones on it. I think it more people made it sexual. You here these stories of teacher boinking students and think hot young women after boys, it becomes the lowest denominator.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t find it sexual, I find the position of the two odd. At 3 years old if a mother and child still engage in breastfeeding, for me it should still be done sitting, with the child on her lap, being basically cradled. This photo is a mom with her tit out let him take a drink. There does not feel to me there is a bonding or nurturing connection, except maybe what I mentioned before that the child gets a moment of reassurance their mommy is nearby, which he can get without breast feeding.

Now, the woman is a rather sexy woman, and I agree with @Dutchess_III her breasts do not look like a lactating woman. I don’t think she needs to be ugly for those who view it as borderline sexual to get that idea out of their head, I think she needs to be in a classic breastfeeding position, sitting looking down at her baby, or looking at someone she is talking to, but not staring at a camera practically disinterested in the kid. But, I am a woman, men might look at it differently. Breasts can be non-sexual to me in many circumstances.

@Hypocrisy_Central. I have never seen a news story about a female teacher boinking a three year old. I am sure there are pedophilia cases of young children perpertrated by female teachers, but I bet it is extremely rare. That never occurs to me. I don’t feel like I need my atennas up about women like I do men.

cazzie's avatar

It is a POSED picture. sheesh. They went to the photographers studio for a shoot. He didn’t go to their home to see this done ‘in their natural enviornment’ so I think there a lot of judging and extrapolation going on from a fictitious point. It is posed to be graphic and prove a point, not show realistically how the breastfeeding is done with this mother and son.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie Of course we know that. But, when I look at the photo that is part of what I don’t like about it, how unnatural it looks.

cazzie's avatar

If mothers can come out and talk about how long they breast feed their children and some do it until their kids are 3, perhaps another mother might be inspired to breastfeed longer and not feel pressured by dirty looks to stop sooner than she feels she wants to, even if that it is just another 3 months. I can’t believe we need to do this, but I guess us breastfeeding mothers need to come out of the closet and talk about not just the fact we breastfed, but for how long, because apparently, that is the new ‘gay kiss’.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie Two of my close friends breastfed past their child’s third birthday. My other closest friends all breast fed around a year, one had to cut it short with her second child because she developed an infection. So the word is out there, there are groups who support women who breastfeed. I assume there are articles and ads in parenting magazines.

I understand the cover has shock value and helps open the conversation to the greater population, but I think among us women we know. We talk to each other, and we also decide with our husband’s among ourselves. I think the goal with a lot of the articles is to take any “shame” out of it that might be still associated with it.

wundayatta's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I think that sexual obsession can go hand in hand with prudery. Really, it’s as old as the Puritans. Read Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” or probably some other stories about Puritan America. We ban what we are obsessed with in order to try to keep ourselves on the right path.

Of course, by taking that approach, we guarantee failure. Because we are not supposed to be interested in sex, we are hyper-interested in it. We see sexual innuendo everywhere, and indeed, it may exist everywhere. We love sex and therefore use it to market things and then hate ourselves for succumbing to the lure of sex and try to beat ourselves up for it.

This is, I think, a peculiarly American thing. The pose was deliberately chosen to make the scene look at unnatural and fake as possible, thus giving rise to the ambiguity people feel about the practice. It’s all fake, and unless we read the article about attachment parenting, I don’t know if we can say anything very informed about what Time is really doing.

jca's avatar

@wundayatta: You say it’s a peculiarly American thing, but wasn’t the sexual obsession that went hand in hand with prudery also a Victorian (i.e. English) thing, as well? Aren’t the Victorians known for their obsessions and sexual habits in the bedroom that were the opposite of their proper appearances in public?

wundayatta's avatar

@jca Yes, and yet, it seems the English have gotten over it. At least, when I lived there 30 years ago, they were way more open about sex than what it was like at home. I assume things have only gotten more open since then.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central As someone said above, sex sells. Sex gets attention. They put a sexy mom on the cover, not a woman that most people would not find attractive.

@cazzie I haven’t heard anyone say that a mother should stop breastfeeding at a certain age. I think we’re in agreement that after about 9 months to a year it’s an intimate, private affair that has nothing to do with nourishment, and everything to do with “bonding.” It can wait until they are in the privacy of their own homes. What is wrong with that?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have a question for @cazzie and for @Hypocrisy_Central…if the woman in the picture wasn’t even lactating, would it strike you as very strange then?

cazzie's avatar

There are plenty of people here saying that breastfeeding over a certain age is ‘icky’. @Dutchess_III , so I don’t know what thread you are reading.

It is hard to take a picture depicting a woman breastfeeding by not taking photos of a woman breastfeeding.

fluthernutter's avatar

I breastfed my kid until they were two. I chose to do so because I read up about it and decided the pros outweighed the cons.

I didn’t do it as a way of dieting. I didn’t do it because I was too lazy to wean. I didn’t do it because I didn’t know how to say no to my kid. I didn’t do it as a means of keeping my breasts larger.

Sheesh, people.

Some of these comments verge on comedy.

JLeslie's avatar

@fluthernutter Did you do it in public? And, if so until what age?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@fluthernutter What @JLeslie asked. Perhaps there are those who have said nursing over a certain age is “icky,” but they aren’t the vast majority.

I nursed till the kids were 18 months, but after they no longer needed it for nutrition, I nursed them in private.

My points about not being able to say No to a kid comes about because, apparently, some mothers feel they need to nurse their toddlers on demand, and not expect them to wait for a more appropriate time.

fluthernutter's avatar

@JLeslie I breastfed her whenever I felt that it was needed. Whether it was in public or private was secondary to my child’s needs.

Breastfeeding in public is not synonymous to flashing a crowd of people. There are ways to be discrete, I just don’t hide it.

To be fair, I’m in the Bay Area where people could really care less.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@fluthernutter Again, the topic is nursing toddlers in public..those great big kids who no longer need mom’s milk for nutritional reasons and who just want a bit of numma numma for amoment.

When my babies were infants I nursed in public too. And there are ways to be discrete.

JLeslie's avatar

@fluthernutter Just to be sure, in case you didn’t read my answers in full, I am ok doing it in public, I think being somewhat discrete is favorable. Up until the age of two I wouldn’t think twice about it, much after that I, like @Dutchess_III, lean towards keeping it for private time between mom and baby.

fluthernutter's avatar

@Dutchess_III The appropriate time to breastfeed is when they’re hungry.

There’s no hard cut-off for when breast milk is no longer for nutrition. My daughter was very small. We continued breastfeeding because my pediatrician recommended it.

The big decision here is whether or not to breastfeed. And if I decide to do so, I’m not going to hide it because someone (or someones) has a hang-up about it.

JLeslie's avatar

@fluthernutter So, at two years old her sole sustenance was breast milk? Again, I don’t really have a problem at all with a 2 year old breastfeeding, even in public if done in a typicalish breast feeding hold (just to differentiate between how I feel about the cover of Time). What @Dutchess is saying is valid too in my opinion, it does not have to be done on demand like when a child is a young infant. If your baby was small, she probably appeared as an infant, and her needs might have been an exception to the norm.

SpatzieLover's avatar

it does not have to be done on demand like when a child is a young infant

No, @JLeslie it is a choice. It is a choice to decide which is safer/healthier: Cow or human milk. As I’ve said on here before, my one regret is that if I could turn back the hands of time, I would breast feed much longer. I would also never have introduced cow’s milk.

This coming from a family member of dairy farmers

The more I read, the more I shed my former ignorances. I would not introduce any of the top 10 food allergens to my child prior to age 3, if I had a do over.

jca's avatar

@SpatzieLover: I think when @JLeslie said “It doesn’t have to be done on demand like when a child is a young infant” she meant that with babies, when they’re hungry, and that’s all they ‘re eating, the urgency is immediate. With a 3 year old, who just may have had a hamburger or some soup or some other more substantial food, when he wants some breast milk, you’re probably not going to have a crying, starving, frustrated child on your hands as you would with a hungry baby.

cazzie's avatar

I can’t believe people can’t see what is the real problem here and that is prudishness. A mother will breastfeed for exactly as long as she feels the need to. Get Over It.

jca's avatar

@cazzie: A mother will definitely breastfeed for exactly as long as she feels the need to. No argument there.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie Yup, no argument.

@SpatzieLover I am fairly anti-dairy myself (even though I do consume it. I have been dairy free for months at time in the past) so you don’t have to convince me. I was never given milk with meals, except when I bought school lunches and that was the only choice, and I hated it. Thank goodness there was a choice of chocolate or plain, or I might not have drank anything. I did have it sometimes at home with cookies when I was a child, and also in cereal. My husband’s family also was never given milk to drink in a glass, not even with cookies. Anyway, my mind was not at all in a place of give the toddler cows milk instead of mothers milk. Again, I am fine with breast feeding untill fairly late. Probably my cut off is around 5 when I think it is getting outside of where I feel comfortable, if you made me pick an age, but I don’t have a hard and fast rule about it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@fluthernutter Talking about older children, 1 year and up. You said, “The appropriate time to breastfeed is when they’re hungry.Really? Well, I can guarantee you that in my experience, after the age of a year, the kids didn’t ask for numma numma because they were hungry. When they were hungry they would ask for food. A cracker or something. Which I might, or might not give them, depending on how close to DINNER TIME it was for the WHOLE FAMILY. “Nursing” after that age was for entirely different reasons.

Infants should be fed when they’re hungry and not made to wait. After about 9 months or so, it’s time for the kid to learn that they can’t have whatever they want, anytime they want it. If they haven’t learned it by 2, and are allowed to “nurse” anywhere and anytime, then the parents have screwed up.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@cazzie A mother will breastfeed for exactly as long as she feels the need to.. I agree. And I did.

@SpatzieLover…you said, which is safer/healthier: Cow or human milk. Well, so why don’t you just express them a cup of milk in a sippy cup for them to have with their dinner while the rest of the family has water or cows milk or whatever in THEIR glasses? Why does this one kind of liquid have to be instantly on demand for an older child?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Guys…as a mother who breastfed until well past the time the kids needed it for “nutritional” reasons, I can tell you that in using that “excuse” for doing it (nutritional, whatever) you are yanking your own chain. We did it because it was a special event, between mom and baby / mom and toddler that NO ONE else in the world could experience. It was special, it was sweet and it was private and intimate. That’s the reason you did it. You don’t need any “excuses.” And why would anyone even WANT to share that with the whole world is beyond me.

After a year or so, the kid would just drop in for a second. They didn’t go into full blown nursing sessions like they did as infants because they weren’t hungry. They just wanted some lovins.

Sunnybunny's avatar

Dutchess III, not every mom nurses the same way and for the same reasons you did. When I nursed my toddlers it was because they were hungry. By that time they only nursed in the morning and at night, kind of like if they’d been bottle fed they probably would have had a bottle when waking up and right before bed. Just because it was a private intimate thing for you and your child that had nothing to do with nutrition doesn’t mean it was that way for the rest of us.

Dismissing the benefits of breastfeeding as just numma numma after the first nine months is also wrong. You are still passing antibodies to your child. You are still giving your child the most healthy and digestible food possible with the ideal compounds for eye and brain development. My kid’s brains didn’t stop developing when they were nine months old or one year old. Hell, I really hope they are still developing NOW and they are way past toddler age.

There is more than one way to parent and while some things are common sense just because others are different from what you chose to do doesn’t make them wrong. I know plenty of moms who nursed past that first year and none of them would rip their shirts off and whip their boobs out as soon as the child whimpered, public or private. I think most people don’t go with one extreme or the other but fall somewhere in the middle which what a topic like this tends to ignore.

Sunnybunny's avatar

Also has anyone here seen the movie Babies? I hate to think how some of these same people would react to the approach to breastfeeding in Africa. There’s a scene where the mom is walking with the toddler, and she bends over so the toddler can nurse for a second (of course she is topless) after something upsets him. Then he runs off again and she straightens up and keeps on going. Like it was a hug or a bandaid. No big fucking deal. Can you imagine if a mom did that here?

I bet that naked African kid who played with rocks and dirt was some kind of spoiled, entitled little brat, huh? And that mom, sheesh, what a pushover. (sarcasm)

fluthernutter's avatar

@JLeslie No, by that age she was eating solids as well. We would breastfeed to supplement her meal.

Did you mean to say that it’s more acceptable because she was smaller and could have been mistaken for a younger child? I think that would be a peculiar way of looking at things.

@jca Yes, at that age they have more options. We could have given her solids in public and nursed in private. But why is there a need to hide it?

@Dutchess_III Whatever reasons you had for breastfeeding for as long as you did is fine. Why are you so riled up about other people’s choices?

You disregard your own qualifying remarks.
“in my experience…”

Just because another person’s reasons are not the same as your own, it doesn’t make them “excuses”.

Let’s all take a deep breathe.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Because @fluthernutter We don’t need to make excuses that sound “socially acceptable” to justify the decision we made to nurse long past the time that the milk has any special nutritional value. We nursed at bed time for the same reason we gave them a warm bath at bedtime. It was relaxing, for them and for us.

JLeslie's avatar

@fluthernutter No, I didn’t mean that, I meant she may have had a true nutritional need at 2 years different than the average baby. If you read through, my biggest gripe about the time cover is how unnatural it looks to me. If a mother has a two year old in her lap as she conforts and feeds her 2 year old I’m fine with it. If it is a toddler who just breaks away wants a suck and just leans in, and then is off a minute lader to go back and play with their friends or eat their table food, then I think the child is probably manipulating his mothers attention if he knows she will always stop and breastfeed on demand. Don’t get me wring, generally I think young children should easily get mommy’s attention for a quick reassurance she is in the room and for connection, but there are limits. I am not talking about infants, or children who might be slower to develop in one way or another for one reason or another who might need attention appropriately like an infant.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Right on @JLeslie. After a certain age it IS a hit and run. To me, though, it’s no different than asking for a candy bar right now. “No, child. Not now.”

jca's avatar

I am an advocate of breastfeeding. As I stated earlier in one of my posts, we all know it’s best. It’s better than the best formula out there.

Women can breastfeed until the child is in college, if they so desire, and it’s their choice and only their choice. Women can and should breastfeed in public, if they want to, whipping it out when the kid wants a sip, and then he can go back to playing video games with his buddies, have a driving lesson, whatever. However, people are entitled to their opinions, and if people think it’s weird to breastfeed an older child (older being 3 or older) it’s their right to feel however they feel, and nobody can tell them not to feel that way.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes @jca. Well said.

fluthernutter's avatar

@Dutchess_III No where did I say that breastfeeding to bond with your child was an unacceptable reason. Why must it be one reason or the other?

I brought up the issue of nutrition, not because I felt it was the only valid reason to continue breastfeeding. Rather, I felt a counter was needed to so many people dismissing the need for breast milk after the introduction of solids.

@JLeslie I don’t like the Time cover either. The way the models are posed sets a bias in the readers’ mind that this is unnatural.

@jca Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Unfortunately for the other fellow, I am the one entitled to decide what to do with my breast and my child.

ninjacolin's avatar

well well, I think I came up with a new take on what offends so many observers about this. I think it comes from the fact that breast feeding is commonly thought of as being “for babies.” That’s about it.

Most toddlers and small children (age 2.5 and up) don’t happen to look like babies anymore. Quite instead, they happen to look like tiny adults. They don’t look like babies anymore!

So.. seeing an adult (even a tiny one) sucking on a woman’s boob tends to appear like a consented sexual act instead of a baby breast feeding.

As a syllogism, you can imagine people’s thought processes going something like:

Breast feeding is for babies.
3 year olds (and older) aren’t babies.
Therefore, 3 year olds don’t breast feed.

But then they’re struck by the evidence of, say, the Time magazine image and suddenly their whole paradigm is thrown for a loop. Basically, these mothers are advocating an entirely new message that the overwhelming majority simply haven’t heard/considered before:

Breast feeding is for babies children.

It’s very new. Perhaps avant garde, if you will. As such, it’s understandably shocking to observe, as any big news ever is.

jca's avatar

@fluthernutter: That is exactly what I said. You can breastfeed until the child is in college if you so desire. Nobody cares. However, we can think what we want. We are entitled to our opinion.

jca's avatar

@fluthernutter: didn’t I say just that very thing in my prior post? I’m not sure why you felt a need to repeat it.

fluthernutter's avatar

@jca Sorry for being a bit redundant. I’ve been rather tired lately.

The problem with having an opinion is that it is not encapsulated in a precious little bubble. Other people are also entitled to their opinions of other people’s opinions. Ad nauseum.

It gets really tiresome for all parties involved.

While we both agree on A and B, we place emphasis on different things.

You: At the end of the day, everyone is entitled to their opinions.

Me: At the end of the day, opinions are just stuff in the wind and I’m still going to breastfeed as I see fit.

jca's avatar

@fluthernutter: I don’t think we disagree. You should definitely do as you see fit, as should we all.

jca's avatar

I have decided that if we continue this running around the tree, we are going to turn into butter.

fluthernutter's avatar

@jca My responding to something you said doesn’t necessarily mean I disagree with you. Maybe the list of @ replies seems aggressive in a particular situation?

I already feel like butter. Tired butter.

jca's avatar

@fluthernutter: Not sure what you mean.

I think we all agree that breastfeeding is wonderful, as we’ve all been saying over and over. We are all going to breastfeed as long as we want. Those that think there should be a time limit or that it’s weird to go past a certain age are going to continue to feel the same.

People are entitled to breastfeed forever.

People are entitled to feel the way they feel.

OK. Nuff said.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree that women should breast feed for as long as they want. But it is in poor taste to breast feed a toddler in public. There is absolutely no need for it. Bonding, nutrition, whatever the reason, can always occur later. Doesn’t have to be right that minute, unlike when nursing an infant.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why? For some reason I want to start laughing, and I’m not sure why @Blackberry!

Blackberry's avatar

@Dutchess_III Assuming something is wrong with breastfeeding a toddler in public is just people ascribing “wrong” to it. I don’t care either way, I would playfully smirk if I saw that happen, but I just disagree with it being completely wrong.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I understand what you’re saying. And I, personally, would probably just shake my head at the ridiculousness of it. I wouldn’t be “offended,” but many people would be. But is it really ever OK to just offend sensibilities for no reason? Teenagers like Rush Limbaugh do it all the time, but we expect more from adults in society.

ninjacolin's avatar

@Blackberry just wants to see as many boobs as possible.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^^^ THAT’S why I wanted to start laughing!!

Blackberry's avatar

@ninjacolin I’m a butt man, thank you :)

wallabies's avatar

I recently lived with a 4 year old that had a self-proclaimed (and personally confirmed) boob fetish, so that cover creeps me out.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@wallabies I recently lived with a 4 year old that had a self-proclaimed (and personally confirmed) boob fetish, so that cover creeps me out. How can you be sure the toddler knows what a boob obsession is, and not just following the cues of the older folk he observes?

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Huh? A person knows when a kid is constantly trying to put his hand down woman’s shirts, and focuses on breasts. You’ve never been around a young child that innappropriately tries to grab breasts?

Dutchess_III's avatar

My daughter did that couple of times, like if she was riding in the cart, in the seat. She’d start to slip her hand down my shirt. I’d pull it out and smile at her and say, “Yes, they’re still there, Darlin!” In other words, I was gently teaching her that that was inappropriate behavior in public. I CERTAINLY didn’t feel the need to slam on the brakes and whip it out for her any more than I felt I HAD to buy her a piece of candy at checkout just because she wanted it.

SpatzieLover's avatar

That’s natural curiousity, not a fetish. Grow up people!

JLeslie's avatar

@SpatzieLover I agree fetishis not an appropriate word.

@Hypocrisy_Central Another question: you say the young child is taking cues from adults? What adults? What adult is grabbing a woman’s breast in front of a 3 year old? Children do it either out of curiosity, or because they are accustomed to having access to breasts.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie @Hypocrisy_Central Huh? A person knows when a kid is constantly trying to put his hand down woman’s shirts, and focuses on breasts. You’ve never been around a young child that innappropriately tries to grab breasts? Even if one sees a kid going for the tit at times when it is not appropriate to do so, it can be as you say Children do it either out of curiosity, or because they are accustomed to having access to breasts. that falls way short, to me, of a toddler with a “boob fetish”. They way in which a toddler sees a boob and a teen or other male, is quite different. I just saying, if I seen a 4yr old going for the tit when he and mom are resting on the mall bench, it would not be because he has some strange notion he just want to suck a nipple for excitement purposes, or anything other than comfortable familiarity ir mike, if the mother is still producing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@wallabies We could certainly use some specific examples of why you felt the child was beyond the natural curiosity of a four year old.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I don’t think anyone meant the toddler was sexually excited. I know I didn’t. I only meant they feel entitled to access, and seem a little too obsessed with breasts. As far as I know fetish does not have to mean sexual fetish. Maybe I am wrong about the definition. I did say that I would not have chosen that word myself.

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