When TIME Magazine published its radical attachment parenting cover a the week before Mother's Day, featuring a "willowy bombshell of a mother, staring defiantly at the camera, while her 3-year-old son stands on a chair next to her, the better to suckle at her exposed breast," as HuffPost columnist Lisa Belkin described it, the reaction was immediate and overwhelming -- for readers as well as the cover model herself.
And while the mom in that photograph -- 26-year-old Jamie Lynne Grumet -- said in a Today show interview that her family "knew exactly what they were going to get into," she also noted that the TIME cover shot wasn't an accurate representation of the reality of breastfeeding her son, then 3 years old.
At home, she told Savannah Guthrie, breastfeeding the toddler was "more of a cradling, nurturing situation.”
Grumet is a lot happier with the new cover of nonprofit quarterly Pathways To Family Wellness, where she appears (again) breastfeeding (again) her now-4-year-old son. This time, the mother and son are surrounded by the rest of their family in a shot the magazine's editor, Jeanne Ohm, describes as "the photo that could have been on the cover of TIME."
Back in August, Grumet wrote on her blog that she "didn’t think anything of it" when her son was asked to stand on a chair during the TIME photoshoot because "Aram has breastfed standing up before." In a new post, she explains that that the interview with Pathways To Family Wellness took place "a couple of weeks after the TIME cover," and it reveals more of her reaction to the shot.
“It was nice to be able to tell our story and show toddler breastfeeding in a way we knew would not be manipulated,” she writes.
Grumet, who lives in Los Angeles, has sons aged 4 and 5, and runs the Fayye Foundation, described on its website as “a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the orphan crisis in the Sidama region of Ethiopia.”
When she appeared on the TIME cover, many criticized the magazine for whipping up the "mommy wars" in an attempt to boost sales -- while some simply said they felt bad for the little boy who might one day regret his newfound fame. Likewise, a press release issued by the Pathways to Family Wellness calls out TIME’s cover for “cash[ing] in on parent guilt and American cultural breastfeeding taboos,” calling its “Are You Mom Enough?” headline “offensive.” (Pathways itself plays on TIME’s headline by coopting the “mom enough” phrase: “Jamie Grumet: Mom Enough To Speak Out for Attachment Parenting.")
Lori Dorman, the photographer who shot the family for Pathways, says in the magazine: “My goal was to correct the misperception that was created on the TIME cover. Its message was that nursing a 3-year-old was outrageous and inappropriate, when in fact nursing a 3-year-old is a normal, healthy activity in the world today.”
As for her take on the TIME cover, one we haven't heard much of yet, Grumet also says in the interview: “The first time I saw it, I just thought, ugh."
She did not play a large role in the story that accompanied her photo; it was a profile of Dr. William Sears, the man who "wrote the attachment-parenting bible." A Q&A between Grumet and TIME's reporter, Kate Pickert, was published separately online, but her fame (LA Weekly calls Grumet a "breastfeeding celebrity") derived mostly from the photo.
Now, Grumet reveals in Pathways To Family Wellness that she was unhappy with TIME's headline. “I really believe wholeheartedly that everyone is trying to do their best for their children," she says.