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Time Magazine cover shows breastfeeding mother, sparks parenting controversy

May 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Time Magazine's new cover shows a Los Angeles mother breastfeeding her 3-year-old son, and it's sparking a firestorm over the concept known as attachment parenting.

The idea of attachment parenting is at the heart of the article. Dr. Bill Sears wrote "The Baby Book," which is known as the bible for attachment parenting. The parenting style focuses on three basic tenants: co-sleeping, baby wearing and breastfeeding -- something U.S. mothers rarely continue long term.

However, it's the cover, not the content, which has triggered numerous comments from viewers on the ABC7 Facebook page and people in the everyday world.

"The child is too old. If he can talk to you, put his clothes on, go to the restroom, he doesn't need to be breastfeeding, he needs to be drinking out of a cup," said Sherri Arnold, who is also a mother.

For the ladies of "The View," the shocking photo goes too far.

"If you can spell milk, you should not be breastfeeding," said Elisabeth Hasselbeck, one of the show's four hosts.

However, lactation specialist Miranda Johnson-Haddad says that for some, the decision to breastfeed and for how long may often transcend cultural standards.

"I think it's a very personal question that really depends on the woman and the baby," she said. "The worldwide average age for weaning is two."

Facebook commenter Debbie Cowley agreed.

"Bravo!! To Time for doing this," she wrote. "It just astounds me the number of people who become so offended by a perfectly normal thing!"

The American Academy of Pediatrics and U.S. Surgeon General encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed a child for the first six month of its life. The 26-year-old mother on Time's cover said she was breastfed until she was 6 years old.