The Time Magazine cover debate is a ridiculous one. The picture is deliberately controversial, therefore some are shocked by it. If she had been sat down with her child across her lap I believe far less would have been made of it.
There is nothing controversial in breastfeeding a three year old, the worldwide average weaning age is 4. So it is the norm, not the abnormal we see depicted.
The main objections to the Time cover are of course caused by society's sexualisation of breasts. Feeding a baby is obviously a breasts actual purpose- looking nice is merely a happy byproduct. For me it is easy, when I am feeding they do not feel like they belong to my sexual self, they feel like they are nurturing objects and almost as if they belong to my baby. They look and feel quite different. But I have no trouble with later re-settling them as part of my sexual side. I look forward to welcoming the girls back once their job is done, and I shall reward them with some pretty new outerwear to make up for the months of ugly feeding bras!
Personally I probably won't breastfeed Syd until anywhere near as long as depicted. My elder two were 15 months, and 11 1/2 months. The latter having weaned himself, the former needing some persuasion that she didn't need the boob anymore.
I enjoy breastfeeding, and despite a nasty bout of mastitis this time round that has left me with only one functioning breast, and mismatching cup sizes, I find it easy. It isn't for everyone.
However I do look forward to stopping somewhere around the one year mark. Syd already eats a wide range of foods, and once he is able to have cows/soya milk to drink at one, I will be thinking about weaning him.
I am looking forward to reclaiming my body. Utterly selfish?! Not really, after 9 months of pregnancy and a year of breastfeeding I think it's time for me again! I find dieting hard when breastfeeding as it makes me so hungry! And I am not one of those who seems to shed the pounds on the lactation diet. So I look forward to getting my figure back. Even if I dread the actual dieting.
I would like to have the occasional drink or three, and nights out that are not limited in duration by the need to return in time to breastfeed. I might even have a whole night away at some point!!
While that is my choice I am not in anyway critical of those who breastfeed for longer or shorter periods. Or not at all. We all find our own balance in our own set of unique circumstances.
I will say I am not a massive fan of the Time Cover. It is a deliberately provocative photo, I mean- nobody would actually feed like that surely!! "Are you hungry? Well fetch the ladder....". I do not think it has necessarily done the promotion of breastfeeding any massive favours.
I think what we want is not a division between those that feed for years and those who feed for months, weeks or not at all, but a society that respects breastfeeding, responds to the needs of feeding mothers, and that we get to a point where feeding when or where you need to is never an issue.