• Tue, Sep 11 2012

TIME’s Breastfeeding Mom Is Back With A Much Less Exploitative Magazine Cover

Remember that TIME cover? Of course you do. I don’t even have to explain which TIME magazine cover. You all know that I’m referring to the woman breastfeeding her toddler and taunting everyone with the line, “Are You Mom Enough?” That’s when the world met attachment parent and extended breastfeeder Jamie Lynne Grumet. And now, she’s back with another magazine cover, except this time it’s one of the sweetest family portraits you could ever want to see.

The entire Grumet family appears on this month’s cover of Pathways to Family Wellness magazine. The cozier family photo still shows Jamie Lynne nursing her youngest son, but she’s laying against her husband with her oldest son hanging on dad’s back. The family looks all snuggly and content. You can barely even tell that the youngest son is breastfeeding. While the TIME cover made me roll my eyes, this one makes the corners of my lips curl up.

There’s no doubt that Grumet’s TIME cover started some serious debate. It even launched a reality show about “Extreme Parenting.” But I think it’s important to remember that the magazine editors were the ones who packaged and decided on that cover shot. The unknown mom of two from California didn’t walk in and dictate just how in-your-face the cover shoot would be. She didn’t choose the tag line or write the accompanying article. In fact, she later said about the cover,

“I have no problem being in a standing position, but the image they captured does not represent the vision and direction of the shoot (which was to convey confidence and contentment). A lot of people don’t realize that many photographs are taken while moving around between positions. The picture TIME chose for the cover was one of these outtakes.”

With this new magazine interview, it looks like Grumet is trying to bring the conversation back to her original point: advocating for attachment parenting. As a practioner of the controversial and often-misunderstood parenting technique, she’s obviously trying to use her position to further a cause that’s important to her. But I think we need to be hesitant against assuming that Grumet is just looking to extend her 15 minutes of fame. My guess would be that after the extreme reaction to her TIME cover, she attempted to be more careful and get more personally involved in the final product for this photo shoot. And the result looks much more like a family picture I would want to hold on to, instead of a cry for attention.

I don’t think that Grumet’s participation in the exploitative cover from a major news publication means that she should be ridiculed or dismissed forever. I imagine that she had to be really passionate about extended nursing to open herself and her family up to this public scrutiny.

As some other websites tear Grumet down for nursing in this extremely public forum again, I’m reminded of a quote she gave shortly after the release of TIME’s cover. ”There seems to be a war going on between conventional parenting and attachment parenting, and that’s what I want to avoid. I want everyone to be encouraging. We’re not on opposing teams. We all need to be encouraging to each other, and I don’t think we’re doing a very good job at that.”

I have to agree with Jamie Lynne on that one, I don’t think we’re doing a very good job of supporting each other at all.

(Photo: Pathways to Family Wellness)

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  • Anne Cordelia

    I am definitely guitly of being judgy sometimes, and this is a nice reminder to take it down a notch. Or five.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anna-K-Perry/505066924 Anna K. Perry

      And by “judgy” I’m assuming you mean judgemental? Way to sound like an idiot. Not as stupid as the writer of this post though. Nothing about this magazine cover should make the “lips curl up.” If anything, this makes me five or ten notches more “jugdy” because it is so sick and twisted. Cozy isn’t the right word for this. Disgusting works though.

    • Another Steph

      I love it when people sound like idiots when calling people idiots.

    • kate

      i hate to tell you this,but people use “judgy” as a slang term all the time.

  • Miva Valle

    now her son i four, I heard breast milk after a year has no nutrients at all, sorry but I just don’t get it, found more pics of her, sons and hubby Brian here, http://fandaily.info/?p=22336.

    • Lara

      What, breastmilk just magically turns to…..water?? Right when the kid hits one? That’s completely false and also makes absolutely no sense, even if you don’t know anything about the human body. It actually adapts to the changing needs of your child, not just throughout the months and years, but throughout the DAY.

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  • Rob S

    Beautiful image. It is great she was able to redo something Time royally screwed up with a small mag like Pathways to Family Wellness. I have no problem with all the attention a good nonprofit magazine like that receives. Well done.

  • sweetcheeks

    I think its nasty to breast feed a 4 year old … ummm its a way to get attion and its sick useing her son. she needs help

  • fullyfunctionalwomb

    Love it when childless women have nothing better to do than rant about how dumb parents are and how awesome life is without kids on parenting websites…

  • Catherine

    I love this. What a sweet image of a beautiful family.

    If you think this is “disgusting” or “sick”, you might consider that those feelings are a reflection on you, and not on the people in the photo. If seeing a woman breastfeeding her child brings up those feelings for you, it is most likely because you are sexualizing what they’re doing. Breastfeeding is not sexual, and it doesn’t matter if the child is 4 months old or 4 years old.

  • Liz G

    So this is just a question – where is the kid she posed with on the last cover? Was that not her son? Is she ‘breastfeeding’ a random toddler?

    • kate

      she is breastfeeding the same kid in this picture

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