Local moms say breastfeeding older children beneficial

Local moms say breastfeeding older children beneficial

PORTLAND, Ore. - A new Time Magazine cover showing a mom breastfeeding a boy nearly four years old has sparked controversy, but some local mothers believe their children really benefit from it.

It's called "attached parenting," which is a parenting style that can incorporate wearing your baby close to your body, co-sleeping and "extended" breastfeeding.

Mothers like Alena Guggenheim say, if nothing else, the controversial cover is giving them a chance to talk about it.

Guggenheim describes her 3-year-old daughter, Luna, as independent and extremely healthy, saying she's the first person in the family to kick a stomach bug when it comes around. Guggenheim says she's convinced the extended nursing is the difference-maker.

For Luna, the breastfeeding happens just a couple times a day now, and it's not her primary source of nutrition.

"It's our very quiet time, our quiet snuggly time," Alena said. "I really don't have any intention of stopping." But Luna said she'll stop when she's four.

Jennifer Fuentes, who owns the Milagros Baby Boutique, also did extended nursing with her kids. She said her daughter was almost four years old and her son was five and a half when they stopped.

"I wasn't offering it. It was coming from my kids. They would ask," she said.

She said she worries a photo like Time's misrepresents the experience of families that breastfeed longer. For Fuentes, it was a way to comfort her kids, get them to sleep faster and sometimes her one chance after a busy day to bond with them.

"I always remember when my daughter was an infant knowing that Michael Jordan's mom nursed him until he was at least three, and she was really proud of that," Fuentes said. "And he's awesome."

It's an evolving parenting style that some feel is a return to the basics, but not everyone supports the concept or the showing of it on the cover of Time Magazine.

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