The October 2013 issue of Vogue Netherlands is set to hit stands with this model Ymre Stiekema posing in a style reminiscent of Dutch painter Vermeer with one small historical twist: rather than having a white collar adorn her neck, her chest is bare and she’s openly nursing her baby.
The last breastfeeding cover controversy involved a mom breast feeding her child on the cover of Time Magazine, with an article addressing the history of Dr. Sears’ theory of attachment parenting. In that cover, the mom stood defiantly yet relaxed, one hand on her hip, while her child nursed. She seemed to be saying to us: “this is how we do things, so there.” Striking about that Time cover photo was the fact that the child was no baby, nor toddler, his age emphasized by the fact that he measured more than half his mother’s height. So the cover had a message: attachment parenting advocates favor extended breastfeeding.
Personally, I love images of women breastfeeding. I also think breastfeeding is something that women should feel free to do when and where they need to.
But these covers are all odd to me. First of all, they both are so incredibly staged! Second, in neither does the mother look at her child. In the Time cover, she looks at us, the viewer. In the Vogue cover, she looks off into the distance, clearly absorbed in thinking about something else. Her focus is not on the baby.
And this latest cover to me is even more unrealistic and more of a ploy for buzz because what is the message? The Time cover had a point about extended breastfeeding. Got it.
What’s the message here, Vogue? Is it: ”women have always breastfed?” Ok, that’s true, they have, but not like this. Why?
First, the position of the baby is flat out unrealistic. The model is holding the baby in the cradle hold, but the baby must be propped up here because if a baby this small sits on your lap in the cradle hold, you are slouched down so that your breast can reach their mouth. In order to nurse a baby this age in the cradle hold, you need to cradle the baby in your arms. That’s why it’s called the cradle hold!
Second, the baby does not have a good latch. He has what I call the fish mouth — he is sucking right on the end of the nipple, and pulling the nipple away. That creates blisters, fissures, and tears and is not a viable option long-term, especially not for a 4-6 month old like this little one. So take that, Vogue.
Maybe the message is: “let’s use a hot model breastfeeding to sell our latest cover, and if we show her breastfeeding, we can show some boob too.” Oh, ok, I get it.
So the more I think about it, the image does bother me because it’s about nudity more than it is about breastfeeding.
Or maybe I’m overreacting and the photo is simply saying, “breastfeeding is a beautiful thing.” Well, I’m down with that.
What do you guys think of the cover? And what positions did you favor while breastfeeding?