By now, pretty much everyone has seen that TIME Magazine cover about attachment parenting, where that model-skinny mom is standing there with her breast hanging out. It’s hanging out because there’s a child attached to it. Not a baby. A child. A standing, sneaker-wearing, would-be-speaking-intelligibly-if-his-mouth-wasn’t-fill-of-engorged-nipple child. This child:
It’s almost a month old by now and was one of the few TIME editions to last less than a week in the breakroom at work. The other ones stay around for months until, presumably, someone needs them for their birdcage at home. Probably that spooky lady who looks like the Cryptkeeper but dresses in Forever 21 remainders.
I didn’t write about the cover then because I couldn’t form many coherent thoughts about it. The main thought in my head was “Why?” as in, “why is this woman still breastfeeding a 3-year-old?” and “why are they staring at the camera like a couple of strange perverts?” and “why is this equally repulsive and compelling to me?” and, finally, “why do I even care?” It’s not that I have any real answers to any of these questions, but at least now I can write about it without making entire paragraphs look like “WHAT THE SHIT BOOBS ARE WEIRD ESPECIALLY IN THE MOUTHS OF PEOPLE WHO CAN REMEMBER NAMES.”
Breastfeeding is fine, okay? I have nothing against breastfeeding. I know plenty of people who’ve done it and plenty of people who haven’t, and for the most part, I can’t tell any marked difference in their children’s intelligence. If there is a difference in their children’s intelligence, I think it’s more attributable to parents who allow their kids to watch hours of non-educational TV every day and don’t ever go to the library. I’d say this occurs equally in breastfeeders and non-breastfeeders, so while I’m not a scientist, you know, maybe I’m onto something. I’m not having kids so I don’t have to make the breastfeeding choice, but if I close my eyes and pretend that I’m ruining my vagina and my life, I’d have to say that I’d probably try it. If it worked, great. I wouldn’t have to buy formula for several months. If not, fine. I assume that I wouldn’t be having a baby if I couldn’t afford formula, so that’d be an option. I don’t really care about breastfeeding one way or the other, outside of knowing that its every woman’s choice and we’re not allowed to control each others’ boobs.
I do find it a little odd that some women choose to breastfeed in public, or at least get offended that other people might find it odd when some women breastfeed in public. Like, I have no interest in 100% functional boobs in the process of being sucked into dry, raggedy husks by a small person. None. I don’t want to touch them, I don’t want to look at them, and while I don’t demand that they be hidden under a bushel, I would not argue if that was a thing. But if I don’t want to pay attention to something, I don’t have to. I can look away. We have fancy phones now, I can go play on that while Mother Nature nourishes her infant at the next table. I do think that some situations – weddings, probation hearings, any place where purchasing a $300 bottle of wine is an option – are not appropriate venues for breastfeeding, and I think that most women, including the ones who are breastfeeding, would agree. I mean, I know that babies get hungry and don’t understand the phrase “no seriously we’re in public,” but that’s what the restroom is for.
It’s the mothers like Jamie Lynne Grumet (up there, pictured) who concern me, because I don’t think they understand those boundaries. I’m especially weirded out by her because I suspect that her being on this cover is less about really caring about a cause and more about her being 26 and wanting to be on the cover of a magazine. Like I’m going to let a 26-year-old tell me how to raise a generation. You don’t know anything at 26. Go back to MTV.
While I know not all attachment parenters are like this, I think that a lot of them are the kinds of women who can’t make the distinction between someone who says “breastfeeding is not for me and shouldn’t be done at a funeral” and someone who says “you’re all fat-tittied freaks who should be jailed for indecent exposure.” Which not many people are saying, but like I said, some people don’t understand the difference. There’s also a difference between breastfeeding a baby and breastfeeding a preschooler.
At the age of three, a child has a full set of teeth and the ability to dress themselves. That child needs more complex nutrition than breastmilk is able to provide, and they need to begin learning about patience, like, the patience to wait until you’re at home to have a snack. No, Dylan/Dakota/Rain/Whatever, you’re not so hungry that Mommy needs to whip out her boob on the bus. Wait fifteen minutes until we get home. A kid also needs to start learning about independence, and that’s going to be pretty difficult to teach when they’re eventually six and still unbuttoning your shirt to literally feed off of you whenever they feel like it.
Blossom had a PhD in neuroscience and that’s way smarter than what I do for a living, I just find it a little strange that her boobs have seen the subway and she doesn’t get the urge to sleep in her own goddamn bed some of the time.