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Side Of Breast, Hold The Baby: Responding To The AfterMath Of Time Magazine’s Cover

This post is in response to Dr. Logan Levkoff’s reaction to the Time Magazine Cover with a woman breastfeeding her 3 year old.

I, too, deal with sexuality for a living (I am the creator of the sometimes controversial “Shapewear for the Bedroom” for Moms) and was very interested in what Dr. Levkoff’s response would be to the Time Magazine Cover.

Time Cover Of Attachment Parenting Breastfeeding

Should this woman be defamed for her choice?

Dr. Levkoff asked if this is the way extended breastfeeders and/ or attachment parents want to be portrayed (and notice the AND/OR; I breastfed most of my kids way past age 2 and I don’t identify myself as an AP proponent); defiant, controversial, and in-your-face. Do I? No…But here is my conflict:

I DO understand (what you refer to as) the “f-you” attitude the image portrayed. Why? Because after all of the whispers, eye-rolling, comments (passing by or in my face) or full on verbal assaults (I wish I had a tape of my in-laws) and being called a “child molester” (yep, and that was in TORONTO, my hometown, of all places), I was simply sick of people trying to “put me back in the (nursing) closet”. After trying to be “respectful” of others “feelings” by hiding in the bathroom, perched awkwardly on a dirty toilet trying to calm my offspring, or worse, breastfeeding my miserable sweetie under a blanket in 80 degree weather, I “came out” and said, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”.

Yes, I got defiant. I carried around a card in my wallet citing the law that states a woman is permitted to nurse her child in public. I ditched the nursing covers, as I found all they do is draw attention, “Hey world, I have BREASTS under here and I am worried that YOU will be offended if I feed my child with them”, and nursed my child whenever and wherever, not because I wanted to “make a statement” but because I was meeting HIS/HER needs.

Did I pay for it? Yes (ask my therapist) but I also count it as a triumph; every casual and discreet (yes, DISCREET, people, breastfeeders usually don’t intentionally “whip out” an entire boob for display) nursing session I saw as bringing more “normalcy” and acceptance to it. The more all of us nurse in public like it is no big deal, the more people will learn that it is exactly that: NO BIG DEAL.

(Incidentally, the international AVERAGE age of weaning is 4.2 years, according to the World Health Organization, who also recommends nursing until at LEAST age 2….I can almost hear the laughter from the women in Africa, India, etc…”Really?” I can imagine them saying, “THIS is a controversy?!”)

So as much as my heart swells with pride and relief when I see that cover, I also see it unfortunately as not starting a dialogue, but starting a fight. However, just as movements like those for animal or gay-rights, fighting for recognition and acceptance sometimes means blatantly demonstrating what so many choose to sweep under the rug or ignore.

I will therefore stand by the choice I made with my kids, and give a “You GO girl” to any woman who shows it is “her child, her choice” and “her breasts, her choice” to this society whose mantra for women is fixated on “her body, her choice”.

And although my breasts are retired in the lactation department, I will still lift them up (albeit by means of sturdy underwire) with pride, display my cleavage, and continue to shake my head when I see nods of approval…now that there is not a child attached to them.

Suzy Mac, President, Who’s Your Mommy, llc

What do you think? Am I being fair?

 

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