Ottawa split on breastfeeding debate
Ottawa residents are split on the question posed by a controversial TIME magazine cover – when is a child too old to be breastfed?
The photo of a young mother breastfeeding her three-year-old child has sparked international debate, which continued Friday when CTV Ottawa brought the cover to people downtown.
"It sends a wrong message," said one person.
"She's giving milk to a full-grown child," said another.
The unconventional way the child is seen breastfeeding is at issue for some, as Ayram Grumet is pictured standing on a stool while looking at the camera.
"You're telling boys that breastfeeding is no longer a natural thing, it's something that should be sexy; it's not." said one asked. "Breastfeeding is natural, it's beautiful."
The text above the photo is also rubbing people the wrong way, asking "Are You Mom Enough?"
"It's always about mothers and they're always doing something right or wrong," said another mother. "It sort of doesn't matter what we do, we're never doing it the ‘right way.'"
One Ottawa mother said the uproar about the photo and age debate is unneeded since breastfeeding is a personal choice.
"I was reading other people's reactions and how people thought it was disgusting," said Jackie Hayes. "It's a woman's choice, if it's working for you and your child that's great."
"I think children need their mommies for a long time and I think a three-year-old is certainly not a state of independence," said breastfeeding consultant Jo-Ann Sexton.
The mother on the cover, which hits stores May 21, appeared on The Today Show Friday to talk about the response to her photo.
"I think that it gives my children a strong bond," said Jamie Lynn Grumet. "It's not right for everyone and you need to do what's best for you and your own baby."
There is no firm medical consensus on how long a mother should breastfeed her child.
The World Health Organization says mothers should exclusively breastfeed a child until the age of six months, with "continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond."
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Ellen Mauro