Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My reaction to the TIME magazine cover...

What I should have named this post is, "Have you ever wondered what I would look like if I was skinny?" Because I know I have. And now that I photoshopped this picture, the social backlash of this article is the last thing on my mind. I would breastfeed my kid until prom if I could look that good doing it. For anyone who doesn't know me personally, I have never been that skinny. So this picture is kind of blowing my mind right now.

Anyway, my reaction is whatever. Mostly, I don't care. I would say that the picture is startling, even to me. I think I've seen someone breastfeed in person maybe twice in my entire life... mostly because I have never been around babies on a consistent basis in my personal life. One time, I saw someone pumping in the basement bathroom in the human ecology builing at UT, and that kind of freaked me out... but mostly because the woman was so unattractive. Which may sound like a really terrible thing to say, but it's the same thing as how watching attractive people makeout is easier than watching ugly people get it on. Yeah, I said it. And to that point, the mom on the cover of TIME is pretty hot... even with MY face on her.

But let's get back to it. I am a huge supporter of breastfeeding, and breastfeeding for as long as possible. In my mind, as long as possible seems like about a year. But obviously, as long as possible can actually mean elementary school. Which blows my mind. Not in a judgemental way, but I just can't quite understand how a child that age would really be interested in it, or not start to realize that none of their friends are still getting milk from mom's boobs. I was trying my best to always fit in since the first time I saw Grease, so I feel like I would have certainly shunned this practice. Plus, I had shit to do at that age. Like buying crayons and cutting my own hair. I think I would have been a little too busy to sit with mom and be quiet for that amount of time.

This is America. Less than 25% of babies are still breastfed at 12 months. So yeah, the TIME lady is certainly in a tiny minority. But in other parts of the world, tons of kids are still breastfeeding at 3 years old. So I really didn't like it when people called this picture "unnatural." By definition, NOT breastfeeding is unnatural, and 1 in 4 American babies will never have breastmilk in their life. Sure there are some medical reasons/circumstances that could cause this, but mostly it's due to a lack of education and the fact that people make a lot more money off of selling formula than promoting/supporting breastfeeding.

The article really isn't about breastfeeding, it's about Attachment Parenting... specifically the extremes of attachment parenting (ie. the cover picture). Most of what I understand about attachment parenting is a combination of instinct, convenience, and common sense. If you think about humans "out in the wild"... a baby being seperated from it's mother or not breastfeeding would most likely result in death. So obviously, somewhere in human instinct, babies are meant to be close to their mothers most of the time. And so forth.

There are aspects of attachment parenting that I think I will end up doing, but not as a part of a subscribed method of mothering. I am going to breastfeed, and it will probably end up being more convenient to have the baby sleep next to me. Maybe in a bassinet agaisnt the side of the bed, and maybe he will even end up in our bed. TBD. (PS-before you freak out that we are going to smother our child, we have a huge king sized bed, and I would definitely have the baby safely snuggled in some sort or co-sleeping barrier). Baby-wearing is a big part of AP too. All that means is having the baby in a wrap, sling, or whatever baby bjorn type thing you have. And I think that seems pretty normal to most people.

The way I see it, AP creates an obvious elephant in the room for moms that I am not quite brave enough to bring up on my blog. At least not yet. 

My point is, please don't do what TIME has done and associate attachment parenting with freaks who still bathe their children through high school. Take some time to learn about the general ideas, and decide if they make sense to you. Most people probably practice some parts of it without even knowing, because like I said, a lot of it is just human instinct that any loving parent would do. And in conclusion, may I remind you that it does not say RSVP on the Statue of Liberty!?


PS- Mayim Bialik  AKA "BLOSSOM" is a huge proponent of attachment parenting, and even has her own book called "Beyond the Sling". For some of you, that might be enough reason to care about this topic...

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