JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Confronting cover: Time shows mother breastfeeding 3-year-old

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

'Who breastfeeds a child in that position?'

Kids do better later in life when they're breastfed to an older age says spokesperson for the Australian Breastfeeding Association, Nicole Bridges.

PT0M0S 620 349

A startling Time magazine cover image of a mother breastfeeding her three-year-old son has sparked debate about the technique known as attachment parenting.

Under the headline "Are you mom enough?" Jamie Lynne Grumet, 26, appears on the latest US edition's cover with her son Aram, 3, as he stands on a small seat to reach her.

Grumet explains in the story that she uses the same attachment method on her adopted five-year-old son Samuel, who she adopted from Ethiopia in 2010 and continues to breastfeed about once a month. She also says that her mother breastfed her until she was six.

Confronting cover ...  Jamie Lynne Grumet breastfeeding her son.

Confronting cover ... Jamie Lynne Grumet breastfeeding her son. Photo: AP

She told the magazine she remembered being latched onto her mother's breast.

"It's really warm. It's like embracing your mother, like a hug. You feel comforted, nurtured and really, really loved. I had so much self-confidence as a child, and I know it's from that."

Grumet said being able to breastfeed Samuel after his adoption helped comfort him following the trauma he had faced.

"I didn't realise how much it would help my attachment to him.

"When his English improved, because the connection was there, he didn't do it as much."

Grumet has written on her blog, which has since crashed due to increased web traffic, about how much Aram, who will turn four next month, enjoys being breastfed.

One post features a picture of Aram being breastfed at the the Playboy mansion with the caption: "I've breastfed Aram at the Playboy mansion. I actually felt it was the most appropriate place on earth to do it," the Daily Mail reported.

Social media news site Storyful compiled a collection of angry reactions to the story, with many women saying Time was encouraging parenting wars and making mothering choices even harder.

"I am mom enough regardless of my parenting philosophy. And so are you. And that's all I'm going to say about that," Alexis Hinde wrote.

Actress Alyssa Milano wrote: "Time, no! You missed the mark! You're supposed to be making it easier for breastfeeding moms. Your cover is exploitive and extreme."

Australian Breastfeeding Association spokeswoman, Meredith Laverty, said women should be encouraged to make their own informed choices about breastfeeding.

"What I think is at the nub of the issue is supporting mothers and their networks to get the right information at the start of breastfeeding so that mothers are able to go on to breastfeed successfully and stop whenever they choose," Ms Laverty said.

"Why would I or you get to say that we can tell other people what do to in the constructs of the family."

She said the latest Australian figures showed 96 per cent of women will choose to start breastfeeding, but those figures drop by 30 per cent when babies are one month old.

"Our whole system is not supporting 30 per cent of those mothers who started out wanting to breastfeed.

"I think that's where we need to be looking at improving our services across the board so that mothers can feel a little bit more supported."

The Australian Breastfeeding Association endorses the World Health Organisation's stance on breastfeeding - that babies should be exclusively breastfed in the first six months.

The Time cover has also already attracted a growing number of internet memes.

Attachment parenting, a phrase coined by US pediatrician Dr William Sears, was first suggested as a theory in the 1950s and has since developed into a method that has created some controversy - because of the age at which people continuing breastfeeding their children and the use of co-sleeping.

Retail chains including Target, Wal-Mart and Safeway did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether the magazine, which goes on sale Friday, would be displayed in stores.

Time Managing Editor Rick Stengel said he had not heard of any retailers concerned about displaying the cover. But he acknowledged that the image is "provocative. We're posing an interesting question about a subject that couldn't be more important — how we raise our children. People have all kinds of mixed feelings about that."

Agencies with

Read more about the controversial Time cover at Essential Baby.



  • Look, I'm telling you now, if my son looked back at a picture of himself breatfeeding at that age, he'd be very embarrassed.

    That's attachment neurosis.

    Date and time
    May 11, 2012, 8:08AM
    • The kids looks older than 3

      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 10:52AM
    • This is such a weak criticism.

      If children developed a neurosis every time their parents did something that embarrassed them, even person alive would have a neurosis ten times over.

      Fact of life: whether for the right or wrong reasons, you are going to be embarrassed or ridiculed at some point in life.

      It's right for you parents to teach you how to deal with that.

      It's not right for them to teach children that you should not do something purely because it might be embarrassment one day - THAT *is* something that will leads to adult neurosis.

      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 12:04PM
    • My first son weaned at 14 months while my second son at 22 months is still breastfeeds. I am commited to do whatever is right for both of us. As a mother that means I am committed to do what is right for him. If it makes him feel safe and secure to breastfeed once or twice a day at this age, by all means I will not stop him. There is no evidence whatsoever that this harmful - so why should I upset my most precious son. People joke that he is too old, but you have to do what is right and natural for them - the children.

      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 2:00PM
    • It is one thing to do it especially if you have seen positive effects in the past but I probably would not put a picture of my child doing it on the front cover of a magazine - at that age this is a choice his mother has made for him and she should respect that he may not feel the same way about it later on and have his privacy respected.

      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 3:45PM
    • Both our kids were breast fed till they were over 3. We had about a one year overlap when our second was born. It stopped when they lost interest. It's a non-issue at our place.

      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 5:53PM
    • Please stop the judgement. I breastfed my daughter until she was 2 and I now breastfeed my son at 1. She, now almost 4, sometimes comes over and asks for a bit too.
      Who cares?
      Do whatever feels right for you and your child!
      This is a private decision.
      I would not do it on the cover of Time magazine though, but we are all different.

      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 10:23PM
    • Breastfeeding is 100% natural, you cannot give better food to your children.
      Unfortunately in our "modern" society it's more embracing to give breast milk to a 3 year old child than giving junk food for a 6 months old. It's also totally fine to show ice cream and Nutella, cereals with 40-50% sugar as nutritious food for small kids. But breastfeeding is unacceptable.

      This is one of those things which conservatives/religious people frown upon just like anything new (or old) such as gay right, inter racial marriage, aboriginal rights, etc.

      The good news is that the society is changing…

      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 10:37PM
    • I agree. The argument here isn't what age. This has sexual undertones to it. If it was done in a maternal nursing position we wouldn't be talking about it. Whenever an adult and child are together like this I don't like it. It can set off triggers in some and does no favours to help the fight against child abuse whatsoever. If there are mothers out there that think this is acceptable? I ask you would you do this with your son? I can tell you, if my mother did this to me? I would never forgive her for it.

      Date and time
      May 12, 2012, 1:19PM
  • If it looks rediculous then it probably is. I would have thought when the kids teeth popped out something might have suggested he's not a baby anymore.

    Date and time
    May 11, 2012, 8:23AM

    More comments

    Comments are now closed

    Related Coverage

    HuffPost Australia

    Follow Us on Facebook

    Featured advertisers


    Capricorn horoscope

    Trust others to think for themselves. Don't be snobbish about what seems obvious. Everyone learns at their own pace, including you.

    ...find out more here