Written by Ilissa Banhazl, MFT-
So, what was your reaction to the cover of Time Magazine showing the 4-year-old boy nursing on his mother’s breast?? Also, the heading said, “Are You Woman Enough?” Wow!
At first glance and in our culture; this image may be a bit shocking, even offensive. However, in certain parts of the world this is quite normal and healthy physically and emotionally. Does it work well here in our society? What do you think?
The article speaks of attachment parenting. To me this is a natural maternal way of being. I kept my kids on my hip and never went to the bathroom alone for years. This was easy for me. I was lucky to be able to stay home with my kids. But I couldn’t breastfeed. I tried. So does this make me a “not good enough mom?” I don’t think so. Actually the doctor who is generating this theory says that by “nursing” he means comforting and even feeding with a bottle. Okay, I can accept that!
What about moms that work and dads too, for that matter? This is a not only about mom and baby. Dad has to be attached too. Plus, he has to give up sleeping alone with his spouse to include sleeping with the kids! What do you think? I’m thinking, dad’s feeling pushed out already and now in bed too? Is it too much? Will the kids transfer easily into their own beds at some point? Are they learning to self soothe and quiet themselves to sleep? Is that important any longer? We used to think it was.
Having a baby is a time when many couples disengage from one another. They are exhausted and their focus has to change to the new baby. Couples need to carve out time for their relationship, especially now. How will couples do this with children literally in- between at all times?
I understand the concept of meeting your child’s needs by picking them up when they cry etc. I don’t believe any child under the age of one should have his or her needs go unmet. We cannot however carry our babies around on our chests all the time. First of all, we’ll get a wicked backache and never get anything done. We have to carve out time for ourselves to rest and reboot so that we can go back and be effective with our children.
Can we make our children feel loved and safe and attached without being so extreme? Somehow, I managed to do that for my kids without breastfeeding and wearing baby carriers around my neck. I was too slight for that.
Ask my kids and they’ll tell you that mom and dad are their one constant in the world, their safe harbors. Meanwhile, they are working hard to create their own safe harbor within themselves and later with the person they choose to share their lives with. After that, I suppose they’ll attach to their own children passing on the devotion they experienced growing up.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I can just imagine what feminists are saying about this. Tell me what you think and what works for you and your family. What did you think of the article and cover?