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Magazine Cover Starts Breast Feeding Debate

Controversial cover features woman breast feeding toddler.
AMARILLO -- "I myself did find the picture kind of shocking. I was like 'wow, okay!'"

The latest edition of Time Magazine even came as a surprise to a woman who works with breast feeding moms everyday. Tiffany Bateman is a lactation specialist at BSA.

"Over the years I've definitely noticed more mothers breast feeding for a longer period of time," Bateman said.

The latest edition of the magazine features a woman breast feeding her son who is nearly four years old.  The cover story is about attachment parenting-- a parenting style that strives to create a strong bond between mom and child. It often includes extended nursing.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends moms exclusively breast feed their babies for six months. After that experts say moms can continue as long as mutually desired.

"We certainly advise mothers along all aspects of the breast feeding thing. Our job is to encourage mothers in any way they go," Bateman said. "But I certainly would not condone nursing a six or eight-year-old."

There are many benefits to nursing. For babies, it can boost their immune system, studies even show it may prevent obesity, diabetes, and boost IQ.

"The milk is changing to meet the babies needs all the time, so the milk is going to be always perfect for what the baby needs," Tiffany Erickson, the lactation specialist at Northwest Texas Healthcare System, said.

"Right after delivery it can help prevent mom from hemorrhaging. It's great weight loss- [moms] burn about 500 calories a day just breast-feeding... Its very economical," Erickson said.

Of course, it's also a way to bond, which is what the Time Magazine article is about.  But, even experts say it may not have been the best way to get that message out.

"I think it kind of gives it a bad name... I think had you shown an older child that was curled up with its mom in a snugly place nursing, that would have been more like ' oh that's an interesting concept' versus this knee jerk reaction that this article has received," Bateman said
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