Breastfeeding mom in TIME article disappointedon May 11, 2012 @ 9:54 am (Updated: 12:44 pm - 5/11/12 )
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 son 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: Attachment Parenting.
Dionna Ford nurses her 4-year-old son and 5-month-old daughter. (Photo courtesy TIME)
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 methods."
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 night.
"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 fine.
"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