Huffpost Entertainment
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Bonnie Fuller Headshot

Time Breastfeeding Mom and Other Extreme 'Attachment Parenters'

Posted: Updated:

Does Jamie Lynn Grumet, the extreme breastfeeding mom of two on the Time magazines' cover have a life? Any life outside of being a milk machine for her sons, four and five? Come on. Most normal, loving moms know there's no way you need to do this to have healthy, well-adjusted kids.

Let me be clear: I'm a mom of four and I breastfed each one of my children. I absolutely loved doing it and so did my babies. But there's no way that children need their mothers to sacrifice all other activities for years, so they end up "attached" to their parents. That's just another form of extremism, that will send other more laid-back moms into unnecessary guilt trips.

There's a big difference between doing what's healthy for your babies -- and that's trying to breastfeed for the first six months or year of your child's life and making it the entire focus of your life. When I went back to work full time after three months post each kid, I happily carried my breast pump so I could keep supplying each baby at home.

But there's no way that it's necessary to nurse your children through nursery school and into kindergarten in order to end up with kids who are lovingly attached to their parents. That's just extreme nonsense.

So is the idea that you have to carry your babies and kids every single minute of the day and need to sleep with your newborns and infants in your bed, even at risk of suffocating or crushing them.

'Attachment parenting' addicts -- like mother of two Joanne Beauregard, who is profiled in the Time magazine cover story, "Are You Mom Enough?" -- are slavishly devoting literally their entire daily lives to nursing and nurturing their babies and toddlers, and it's just not necessary. I can personally testify to that.

Yes, breastfeeding is wonderful and healthy. So is holding your babies and toddlers a lot. So is pulling them up and hugging and comforting them when they cry. And so is letting them crawl into bed and sleep with you whenever they want to, once they're passed that crushable stage.

I've done all of this. I never believed in letting my babies "cry it out" when they were trying to go to sleep. And when I tried "Ferberizing" my daughter Sofia, now 21, when she was a baby, she cried so hard that she threw up. I immediately picked her up and vowed never to do that cruel ridiculousness again.

But I also believe that women are entitled to have a life and most women do need to support their families. They can't be breastfeeding and cuddling 24/7 as much as they might like to. It's just not realistic. Is breastfeeding extremist rich? Who supports her and her sons while she breastfeeds all day?

How many women in all of history and in all different cultures really have the luxury of devoting themselves only to breastfeeding and cuddling all day and night long?

They may have strapped their babies on their backs, or carried them in slings, but it was so they could work while they held them. Most women have almost always had to work in the fields, in their homes, caring for their other children and families. They didn't just sit around on the couch or on the floor playing with their infants and toddlers to ensure they wouldn't grow up to be maladjusted freaks.

Now, I can tell you that I would categorize my four children, who are now 11, 15, 21 and 25 as very "attached" children and adults. We are a very close knit family. We see my two oldest children all the time and are super tight with our two youngest, who are at home. But my 25-year-old son Noah says he would be mortified if I'd been a breastfeedaholic who had been photographed with him suckling when he was three. "Now that would have ruined my life," he swears." That kid on Time magazine's cover is going to be really pissed at his mom one day!"

Click to read more at HollywoodLife.com