Thinking the extreme reaction to the cover is based simply on our general societial discomfort with an unclothed human body. In many other countries, including most of Europe, people wouldn't find the image disturbing. Nor would they be appalled that a three year was still breast feeding. There is nothing unnatural about breastfeeding a toddler. Just because he's old enough to drink cow's milk from a glass doesn't mean he shouldn't be allowed to wean in his own time.
Which is not to say I didn't find the staging of this cover somewhat exploitive. The mother doesn't actually nurse this way. I agree with many who say it probably didn't do much to advance the cause of normalizing breastfeeding.
This was done for shock value and to drive traffic. However, like the mom in question said I understand why they did it. It did start a public conversation. Sadly, much of it wasn't constructive. But these days that's true of most of our public conversations.
All that being said, mother's milk is the healthiest option for child nourishment. There is absolutely nothing wrong with keeping a child on the breast until the mother and child decide for themselves it's time to stop. Ain't nobody's business when they do.
[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]