Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bring Breastfeeding Back to Sesame Street

          A few weeks ago, mom blogger Lani Michelle of  Boobie Time Blog posted a couple of old Sesame Street You Tube videos which showed moms breastfeeding. She urged Sesame Street to bring breastfeeding back on the show. Another woman, Jessica Williams, created a petition on Care2.com with the intent of sending the petition to Sesame Street in hopes that they agree to bring breastfeeding back to the show. The goal is 7,000 signatures and there are 6,248 signatures as of right now.

         As we all know, Sesame Street is a very influential and informative children's television program. During the 70's and 80's Sesame Street had several segments showing moms breastfeeding their babies and even explaining to other children or Sesame Street characters what they were doing. Here is an example. In this video from 1977, Buffy nurses her baby, Cody,  and explains to Big Bird that he is drinking milk from her breast and that she likes it because she gets to hug him while he nurses. She even goes on to say that breast milk was all Cody needed as a tiny baby.



          As the years have gone by, we can see our culture's influence on the baby segments of Sesame street. In the following video from 1988, Maria breastfeeds her baby, Gabriella. In this video, we see Maria uses a blanket to cover up and even explains to the little girl with her that, sometimes, she feeds Gabriella with a bottle. She says that she likes breastfeeding better because she gets to hug her. Although still a positive portrayal of breastfeeding, we can see cultural influences such as the pressure to use a cover and bottle feed in this video.



          Sesame Street also does the "You're My Baby" song segment from time to time. In the original 1980's song, a mom was shown breastfeeding her baby without a cover.


         The new video shown now, replaces the nursing mom with bottle fed babies instead. There are no more nursing moms shown on the show today. This, once again, reflects the changes in our culture towards viewing breastfeeding as taboo and bottle feeding as superior.


         I'm sure we can all agree that our children learn from the experiences they have when they are young. As many children watch this popular television program and it is made to educate children on many topics, this seems like the perfect platform to start creating change. When it comes to breastfeeding, our culture has been moving backward instead of forward, with something such as breastfeeding, which was once viewed as the natural and normal way to feed a baby, now being viewed as disgusting, obscene, taboo, and not to be done in public. We hear over and over that "breast is best" but that is not being enforced in public locations,where moms are being harassed for feeding their children, or in the popular media where bottle feeding is portrayed as the norm. By bringing breastfeeding back to Sesame Street, the show will be helping to, once again, normalize nursing. Hopefully, by learning from a young age that breastfeeding is normal and not sexual, disgusting or to be hidden, future generations will grow up in a society that, once again, accepts breastfeeding as the norm and where moms are no longer harassed for feeding their babies in public.

Please visit http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/bring-breastfeeding-back-to-sesame-street/ to sign the petition. We are almost at our goal!

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