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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Time heats up mommy wars with 3 year old breastfeeding

timemagazine.jpgHoo boy. What do you think of this Time magazine cover image? It's meant to stir the pot, so maybe we are just falling for it by even mentioning it here but this obviously plays into every stereotype of what attachment parenting is all about.

The photographer who took the pictures explains what he was trying to convey “It was important to show that there’s no stereotypical look for a mom who practices this kind of parenting.”

"This kind of parenting" is called Attachment Parenting and the cover may show a pretty mom breastfeeding a 3 year old, but the cover story is about the man behind the movement Dr. William Sears.

Sears has written more than 40 books on parenting and pregnancy and his theory that attachment parenting — characterized by breast-feeding, sleeping with your baby and wearing your baby in a sling across your body — is the best way to raise confident, secure children. Critics have said Sears is anti-feminist and that his ideas are just totally unrealistic for working women.

They say it has produced a cult of moms who come off to others as slightly superior because this brand of mothering in which you breastfeed for as long as the child wants to, never let a child cry it out for sleep -- and in fact sleep with them in a family bed -- requires more physical and emotional investment than was ever tried by mothers in the past.

His contention that the primitive tribal natural way of mothering is insulting, colonial, paternalistic and just plain wrong, according to this essay in Brain Child magazine titled "Why I Hate Dr. Sears" by scholar Cynthia Eller.

But I also know plenty of people who felt like their sanity was saved by Sears' advice. So who are we to judge? It's nice to have someone give you some ideas to try when you have that fussy, crying baby.

What do you think of this image and of the (very old and well-worn) attachment parenting debate?

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Thursday, May 10, 2012 3:37pm]


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