Mum Breastfeeds Three-Year-Old On TIME Magazine Cover

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The image of slim blonde 26-year-old Californian mum Jamie Lynne Grumet, breastfeeding her three-year-old son on the front cover of TIME magazine, has sparked controversy on both sides of the pond.

In recent years, debates in the US about weaning have become more polarised as women continue to breastfeed their children throughout their early years, as part of trend known as 'attachment parenting'.

In Britain, politicians suggest parents refer to World Heart Organisation guidelines that suggest that exclusive breastfeeding for six months is best for babies, reported The Guardian last year.

However, in America more extreme parenting styles involving baby-wearing, extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping are more widely accepted.

Most recently, French feminist Elisabeth Badinter commented on the growth of this kind of 'attachment parenting' in her new book The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Sets Back The Cause Of Women, commenting that this over-intensive parenting style was setting the movement back decades.

In response to the provocative TIME magazine cover, senior Huffington Post columnist Lisa Belkin blogged angrily that the 'simplistic, unrepresentative, staged photograph' featured in the publication this month undermined a complex debate.

"The breastfeeding conversation is not titillating. The TIME cover is," she writes.

"Breastfeeding is not a macho test of motherhood, with the winner being the one who nurses the longest. In fact there ARE no macho tests of motherhood. Motherhood is - should be - a village, where we explore each other's choices, learn from them, respect them, and then go off and make our own."

In an interview with the Today Show following the magazine's publication, Grumet told the show's host, Savannah Guthrie, she plans to keep nursing son Aram for another year.

He's "self-weaning," Grumet said. "But personally I'm hoping our fourth year, just for me, is probably going to be our final."

 
Presented by Breast Cancer Campaign