While the nation is still reeling over the breastfeeding
cover of TIME magazine, the
other photos in the article were also just,
if not more, shocking.
Dionna Ford, of Kansas City, MO, had both her 4-year-old
and 5-month-old daughter on her breast, for something she
told Dave and Luke is called “tandem breastfeeding.”
The cover may have sparked some interesting conversations
at the water cooler, but the article’s headline and
content is really what’s at the center of the debate:
Dionna Ford nurses
her 4-year-old son and 5-month-old daughter. (Photo
It’s not a new trend, but asking moms if they’re “mom
enough” to handle tandem breastfeeding and co-sleeping may
raise some new feelings for mothers.
Ford, who practices the parenting method, admits she was
not please with how the article was done.
“I’m not saying everyone needs to do this. It’s what
works for us. That’s why I was disappointed in the way
TIME spun the article because I work very hard to avoid
judgment or criticism of another person’s parenting
Ford said both she and Jamie Lynne Grumet, who was
featured on the cover, have noticed a backlash in mommy
forums online. She wants to make it clear she’s not
judging moms who don’t breastfeed, or stop at a year
or earlier. They’re both just hoping the article leads to
good discussions for new moms or moms thinking of weening.
Ford would also like to shed a little light on nursing an
older child. She said as a child gets older, their need
for breastfeeding decreases because they’re getting
nutrition from other sources. Her son asks her to nurse
once every week or two and for maybe a minute or two at
“That child on the (TIME) cover does not nurse 24/7.”
Above all else, Ford said her family practices attachment
parenting, which includes breastfeeding beyond the
recommended one year mark, but it’s not her rule book. She
does tell her children no, she and her husband go on date
nights, and she doesn’t feel like the young ones are
running the household.
In fact, despite the time commitment and sheer energy
expended on parenting, Ford believes her husband does not
feel rejected, abandoned, or jealous.
“I like to think we’re working really well as a family
unit. My husband is an adult and he doesn’t need me in
the way that my children need me.”
Ford said more than breastfeeding a pre-school aged child,
co-sleeping seems to be the hot button issue among
parents. She thinks they often feel ashamed to admit
they share a pillow with Junior.
“I think the research shows that more parents do it than
admit to it.”
Both of Ford’s children sleep in her bed at night, but she
said co-sleeping can also mean simply sharing a bedroom
with the kids.
It might seem a little claustrophobic, but Ford insists
with a little imagination, she and her husband do just
“We’re not confined to the bed at night. We have a very
rich and varied sex life. You just have to be creative. If
you think that sex has to be in bed at night, then I’m
sorry for your sex life.”
In the end, Ford is confident, not only with the
experiences she’s had, but also in her research, that her
children will grow up to lead normal, happy adult lives.
“When you foster healthy, loving attachments with children
when they’re younger, they’re going to become independent
in a healthy way. We don’t need to push our kids to be
independent. They have their whole lives to do that.”
And Dave Ross believes that these moms in the TIME article
know what they’re doing.
“I just found it really ironic that at a time when the
news is full of stories about moms who neglect their kids,
who don’t feed them or tan them against their will, that
somehow we’re entitled to judge the people who are
spending too much time with their kids in a positive way.”
Ford couldn’t agree more.
By Stephanie Klein, MyNorthwest.com