You Asked. They Answered. TIME’s AP moms take your questions. (Question 10)

May 24, 2012. Posted in: Blog Posts

Part 10:  You Asked. They Answered. TIME’s AP moms take your questions.

10. How would you respond to people who believe that your child(ren) will be negatively impacted by the current conversation or face bullying in the future related to their presence in the photos showing breastfeeding?

© iStockphoto.com / Alison Trotta-Marshall

Jessica ____________________
I’m not sure why, but this question really pushes my buttons. I don’t see how my child would be negatively impacted by the conversation that’s happening. My child is growing up in a nurturing environment with parents that love her, feeding her according to her biological needs. And who’s going to be bullying my child? Her peers won’t even know about this debate unless their parents make it a big deal and encourage an atmosphere of intolerance. I think this question is a passive-aggressive way of putting down the mom – “I’m just worried about the children!” Really? As my child’s mother, do you believe I’m NOT worried about my child in every way?

Jamie ____________________
My mom was a breastfeeding advocate and there are pictures of me breastfeeding everywhere. People said the same thing to her, but she didn’t listen to them. I am proud of her for standing up for what she believes in. Her efforts were an attempt to help normalize breastfeeding for my generation.

As a mother, I’m here to teach my children right from wrong and help guide them into being strong, loved adults – not make life easy. Life is anything but easy, and a strong foundation of knowing who you are and what you believe in will make you life BETTER… Not easier.

I find it amazing how we have such a bullying problem in our country, yet we are empowering every current and future bully by making decisions based on potential future reactions.

Jessica and daughter. Used with permission.

Melinda ____________________
Children are negatively impacted and bullied every day, whether they graced the cover of TIME or not. Bullies are themselves in need of love and acceptance and I have no doubt that the children that these women are currently nurturing are caring and confident enough to recognize that and feel compassion for those who criticize.

Dionna ____________________
I am fortunate to be a member of a local community where it is very common for mothers to nurse into toddlerhood and beyond. I know many children who were breastfed until they were 4, 5, or 6 years old, and I know children who know children who nursed that long. We’ve had conversations since this cover came out, and for these children, this is no big deal. And that’s what we’re trying to do! We want to help make this no big deal for the children who are growing up today! Coincidentally, my sister is in Ecuador right now, and she’s had conversations about this with several of the people there. They are all very surprised – “all this over breastfeeding a three year old?” they’ve asked. I’d love that surprise to be shared by members of our culture in ten years.

In a different vein, kids make fun of other kids for so many different things: the clothes they wear, the neighborhood they live in, the religion their family practices. Would you move so that your child would not face taunts about the house you lived in? Would you expect someone to change religions so that their child could belong to the dominant cultural religion?

 

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Sabrina June 7, 2012 at 10:28 pm

I’ve read through the series to this point and have to say “Bravo!”. Ladies, your articulate discussion of nurturing, breastfeeding, and promoting healthy lifelong values is a testament to the AP philosophy. Thank you for offering your families generously as an example of what one form of healthy parenting looks like. You are doing a great service to fellow mothers and babies everywhere. Kudos to KellyMom.