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Jamie Lynne Grumet: Breastfeeding mom from Time magazine fights back

Lia Grainger
Shine On
September 19, 2012

The mom who appeared this past May on the cover of Time breastfeeding her 3-and-a-half year old son is now claiming she was manipulated, and that the magazine's portrayal of attachment parenting was misleading. She's fighting back by posing for another magazine cover.

In the Time photo, Grumet stands and gazes at the camera as her son, who is also standing, sucks on her breast. Jamie Lynn Grumet claims the image used was an outtake from the shoot, and appeared unnecessarily detached and confrontational when placed next to the cover line "Are you mom enough?"

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Attachment parenting is a style that advocates for co-sleeping, regular skin-to-skin contact and extended breastfeeding. The term was originally coined by American pediatrician Dr. William Sears and is based on developmental psychology research that indicates a strong parental bond will enhance the child's well-being later in life.

"My intentions were to help relieve the stigma attached to breast feeding past infancy, but the photo I saw wasn't the one that we were trying to pose for. It made me really, really sad," Grumet tells ABC News.

Judy Arnall is a parenting expert and advocate of attachment parenting, and says she was extremely disappointed by the Time cover.

"It looked cold, detached and of course, confrontational with the caption attached.  I was thinking, 'Oh no, here come the mommy wars again, not over daycare, but now over breastfeeding stamina.'"

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Grumet definitely felt the backlash, and now she's doing her best to make up for the whole debaucle by appearing on the cover of Pathways to Family Wellness Magazine, a publication that advocates for attachment parenting.

The cover shows Grumet nursing her now four-year-old son in her lap as she is embraced by her husband and adopted son. The 26-year-old mom says that the cover offers a more truthful portrayal of the parenting style.

"The second magazine cover was soft and nurturing without the shock value," says Candace Middleton, a health care worker and educator for Attachment Parenting Canada. "It showed a relationship and a connection between the mother and child and the rest of the family."

Arnall also finds the Pathways cover more realistic.

"All breastfeeding occurs in an embrace and is superior to many parents who prop bottles in their child's mouth," says Arnall. "This photo shows the whole family and captures the essence of support, comfort and closeness of attachment parenting."

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Arnall and and Middleton agree that there has been far too much focus on attachment parenting's approval of extended breastfeeding.

"The major component [of attachment parenting] is responding to children with warmth and comfort of their needs," says Arnall.

"Extended breastfeeding is in no way unique to attachment parenting, as every health organization in Canada (at least) recommends breastfeeding up to two and beyond."

She says that the Canadian Pediatric Society, Public Health Agency of Canada, all provincial health boards, and the World Health Organization all share these recommendations.

"You don't have to breastfeed to connect and attach to your child," adds Middleton. "It is only one aspect of this parenting style, but it is also the one aspect that stirs up people's opinions of right and wrong. To follow the attachment parenting style, one only needs to be present and nurturing with children."

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