This TIME cover shot has been all over the web this week. Featuring an older child standing on a chair to breastfeed, the picture was meant (allegedly) to illustrate an article on attachment parenting. Unsurprisingly, it's not the attachment parenting aspect that is being discussed, it's the breastfeeding.
To be honest, I couldn't wade through all the endless discussion about the image. After years of breastfeeding and supporting breastfeeding, I'm a little jaded by this kind of debate. However, the TIME furore did prompt me to take action. I finally did something I've been meaning to do for months: I ordered Ann Sinnot's book Breastfeeding Older Children.
It's a great read. Not only is it well-researched, honest and thought-provoking, but it's full of the voices of women, their partners and their children (yes, these children are old enough to talk about breastfeeding), talking candidly about their families and their breastfeeding relationships. There is something so eye-opening, and so mind-expanding, about this approach. I can almost feel my cultural baggage being unpacked as I read - their honesty forces me to be honest about my own prejudices, to challenge them and to arrive at a new understanding of how others feel and live.
This was a timely reminder for me of how powerful the experiences of others can be in gaining one's own perspective. I'm currently working on the final stages of Breastfeeding: stories to inspire and inform, which is due to be published by Lonely Scribe at the end of June. As a companion volume to our book Home Births: stories to inspire and inform, it's a collection of first-hand accounts by mothers of their breastfeeding experiences. If readers of our books can gain real insight from them, in the way that I did reading Breastfeeding Older Children, then that is something for us to be proud of as a publisher.