A new TIME Magazine cover photo is stirring up controversy over how long mothers breast feed their children. On the cover, a 26-year-old mother, breast feed her three year old son. In the article, TIME chronicles the process of Attachment Parenting, a very hands on approach to raising children that includes extended breast feeding and sleeping with your children.
Sherryl Roberts is the Breastfeeding Coordinator for WIC at the Wichita Falls Public Health Department. She said when it comes to raising children, the choice - in all situations - lies with the mother. Roberts said, "I feel that's a mothers choice within her family if she's comfortable at whatever age, that's her decision as a mother and we'll support them either way".
The Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) at the Public Health Department is available for expectant mothers, newborns and children up to 5-years-old. Roberts said WIC deals with mothers who breast feed, formula feed and engage in Attachment Parenting. She said their job is simply to educate parents about all their options. But she did see some advantages to paying closer attention to your kids. "If I was going to go with two extremes I would much rather that they're spending more bonding time with the child than not spending any attention on the child."
The idea of Attachment Parenting is not a new one. The idea was published in Dr. Bill Spears' 'The Baby Book' in 1992. Dr. Spears appeared on The Today Show defending his findings. He said, "If you were on an island and you had no mother-in-laws, no psychologists, no doctors around, no experts, this is what you would naturally and instinctively do to give your baby the best investment".
But Texoma women we spoke with said these moms are taking parenting too far. One woman said, "I think kids should stop breast feeding when they're 2, when they hit 24 months." Another said, "When they start growing teeth, that's when you need to cut them off."
The TIME Magazine issue will hit shelves on May 21st.