A Breastfeeding Mom, Time Magazine, and the Mommy Wars

In the words of the immortal George Takei, “Oh, my.”  A breastfeeding mom on the cover of Time Magazine.  Of course a breastfeeding mom will generate controversy.  We live in a society where a breastfeeding mom will be asked to cover up or leave an establishment for nursing, regardless of the age of the child or the legality of her nursing wherever and whenever in the first place.  But a breastfeeding mom defiantly nursing her preschooler as he stands on a chair?  That’s just designed to cause sparks to fly.  And the caption of “Are you mom enough?” is enough to get anyone’s hackles up.  If anything, it just adds fuel to the mommy wars.

A Breastfeeding Mom, Time Magazine, and the Mommy Wars - Cloth Diaper AddictsMy thoughts?  I don’t breastfeed.  I tried.  I gave it an effort with Eudora.  And then I threw up.  I couldn’t even try with Norton; it was too distressing to me to even consider it.  I pumped until it impacted my mental health and my lactivist friends were telling me to use formula.  But if you want to breastfeed?  More power to you.

But my willingness or lack thereof isn’t because I’m not “mom enough.”  It’s because I’m mom enough to know that what’s important is that my baby is nourished and that we have a healthy, successful relationship.  I can only do one of them with breastfeeding… and it’s not the relationship.

I will go to bat to support your right to breastfeed.  I want you to have time to pump if you have to go back to work.  I want you to have access to lactation consultants if things aren’t going well.  In short, I support your right to be the kind of mom you want to be.  (You know, providing it doesn’t include drug and alcohol abuse or child abuse or neglect.)

I hate, hate, hate when things like this come up.  What happens isn’t that everyone everywhere starts supporting the rights of the breastfeeding mom.  No, what happens is that it becomes an “us vs. them” thing, and no one wins when we start tearing each other apart.  If you want to be an attachment parent, then be an attachment parent.  If you don’t feel comfortable with co-sleeping or are unable/unwilling to do it safely, then don’t.  If you want to wear your baby in a Moby wrap or an Ergo carrier, then do it.  But don’t if you’d rather not.

At the end of the day, I think we all want to be good mothers.  It’s just that what we consider good will vary among us.  It’s about what works for us, our families, and our children.

As for the question, “Are you mom enough?”  Yes, I’d like to think I am.  For my children, anyway.  But it’s something that I worry about from time to time.  I suspect that if I never worried about it at all, that’s when I wouldn’t be enough… because it would mean, for me, that I don’t care.  And that’s definitely not enough.


About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Candice says:

    I’m totally for her nursing her toddler. That’s awesome. I could not nurse for that long but it’s cool if she can. However, it doesn’t make her more mom then a mom who chooses to formula feed. As long as the baby isn’t drinking pancake syrup…who cares if baby has formula or breast milk?

  2. I have my own, strong opinion on breastfeeding a preschooler as does the person who wrote this article and the mom on the cover. Which of us is right? It doesn’t matter. What I don’t like however is that they are using their opinion to demean others. It’s ok to be opinionated, that’s how we make decision we think best for our family. When we use the opinion to put others down, it becomes wrong. What works and is best for one family or even child will not be the best for someone else.

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