Saturday, May 12, 2012

Time's Breastfeeding Cover Leaves Out Adopted Ethiopian Child - Forbes

Jamie Lynne Grumet, America’s most famous Lululemon Madonna, admits that breastfeeding her nearly 4-year-old son, Aram, on the cover of this week’s Time was meant to “cause a stir.” In her appearance this morning on the Today show, she said, “Yes, we knew exactly what we were going to get into. Our family was one of the better ones to handle because my mom is a personal breastfeeding…” And here she couldn’t finish her sentence due to cute little Arom’s on-air fuss.
No matter. We get the point. Grumet, breastfed by her own mother until she was six, was prepared to challenge the rest of us to look at the “real” face (and body) of attachment parenting. If that’s true, though, why is Grumet’s other child, an older child she also continues to breastfeed, not in the cover photo? Or on the Today interview?
As Grumet shares on her Twitter bio and blog, I Am Not The Babysitter, she has another son. Samuel, 5,  is adopted from Ethiopia. Grumet tells Time’sKate Pickert that Samuel continues to nurse “maybe once a month.”

Here’s part of her June 2011 breastfeeding story with Samuel, who she brought home in November 2010 (which includes a photo of the two boys breastfeeding together):

Being able to breastfeed Samuel for almost a year was a beautiful experience.
I wish I could say it was my idea. Truthfully, I thought he was too old to latch on to a new person for the first time. I was wrong. Samuel had been curiously watching me breastfeed his brother (Aram, 2.5 years at the time.) He didn’t speak English, but in his curiosity he was able to convey that he was also interested.
He seemed to timid ask outright. You could tell his fear of rejection when he showed the initial interest. When I asked him if he would also like to breastfeed he smiled and jumped right on my lap. Our first experience breastfeeding you could tell his was an old pro. It was clear it was something he missed dearly. Something from home I was able to give him….It helped Aram understand Samuel’s role in the family and he was completely equal.
Like attachment parenting — Grumet describes her personal life as “being with my child constantly”– adoptive breastfeeding has morphed its way onto the parenting scene. Grumet is both a stanch advocate of — and obviously takes a great deal of pleasure in — attachment parenting and adoptive breastfeeding both. So it’s a little curious as to the whereabouts of Samuel. Maybe he was sick, or perhaps too fussy to sit still for the cameras. (No comment yet fromTime’s Director of Photography Kira Pollack, who managed the shoot, or Grumet.)
It appears that the new Poster Mom of attached parenting has pulled off a neat rhetorical trick and gone public detached from a child she nurses and homeschools. Indeed, Time cover photographer Martin Schoeller makes a particular point of explaining that, “It was important to show that there’s no stereotypical look for a mom…breast-feeding her child or children.” Of the four mothers at the Time photo shoot, including Grumet, one did sit with two children suckling simultaneously and one with her brood of four.
“To me, the whole point of a magazine cover is to get your attention,” Ric Stengel told my colleague Jeff Bercovici yesterday. If Time was looking to hit every hot button of parenting, it missed one: race.


  1. This article is pretty stupid and the author is about as dense as a box of rocks, however I will try to enlighten you. Attachment parenting is just a name because our society has ripped the idea of family into shreds. In our American society, there is no need for a mother to be with her child after six weeks. We let our babies cry until it kills brain cells, because we don't want them to need us. It is to time consuming and the children are weak and needy. Unfortunately this narrow mind set has created a weak society that lacks empathy, remorse and love for others. As for Samuel being 'left out" did it occur to anyone that a child that comes from an orphanage has faced many changes in a short amount of time? That maybe her attachment runs so deeply, she did want to introduce him into something new and overwhelming? A mothers love is like nothing else. You can twist and turn it with sick and silly words, but neither of her children are ever left out or unattached.

  2. You must not have seen that she did another cover (Pathways to Family Wellness) with both sons...

  3. This is one of the most inflammatory and irresponsible pieces of 'journalism' I've read about the Time article. Admittedly, when I first saw the cover I was unsettled. I won’t say I was shocked, it was just something my brain couldn’t process because it was an image I’ve rarely seen in society, a woman nursing an ‘older’ child.

    I knew nothing of extended breastfeeding so I decided to do some research, and as I read arguments for and against I also contacted Jamie Lynne. We’ve talked a lot about the subject, became friends, and I learned a few things along the way.

    Jamie and her family were as outraged as most of us were at Time’s use of the “Are You Mom Enough” tag line. It was presented solely to spark a mommy war, which in some cases it did. Jamie also had no say in the image used on the cover, and while she’s not ashamed of it (and has no reason to be) she agrees it’s not a typically natural pose for a child of any age to be feeding. Since she had no say in what was to be used in the shoot, it WAS NOT UP TO HER whether Samuel appeared on the cover or not. She loves him as much as Aram and to insinuate that she would wilfully neglect him ("It appears that the new Poster Mom of attached parenting has pulled off a neat rhetorical trick and gone public detached from a child she nurses and homeschools") is offensive and uncalled for. Also notably absent was Jamie's husband Brian. Time chose not to include him in the shoot, despite the fact that he is equally involved in raising the boys and an integral part of her support system.

    Jamie is one of the most loving, intelligent and compassionate women I've come to know. If you're going to pull the race card as is the focus of this article, I suggest you also cover her work with the Fayye Foundation (, which assists women in third-world communities to live more fulfilling lives and raise healthier children. Let's cover the facts instead of twisting them shall we.


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Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.