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Moms Want To See Breastfeeding On Sesame Street

Moms Want To See Breastfeeding On Sesame Street

For years, Sesame Street has worked hard to ensure that all types of children see themselves reflected in the characters and stories on the show. Children of different races, religions, abilities, sizes, and interests are featured on the show. Sesame Street has also played a big role in emphasizing childhood nutrition, even making changes recently like cookies becoming a “sometimes food”, planting gardens, and introducing a new food insecure muppet.  Sesame Street used to show breastfeeding too. But in recent years, despite major public health campaigns promoting breastfeeding, Sesame Street has been showing nothing but bottles.

Fresh off of the nurse-in that took place at more than 100 Target stores last week, a group of moms are working on another initiative aimed at normalizing breastfeeding. They want Sesame Street to put breastfeeding back on the air.

When she was unable to attend the Target nurse-in last week, Lani Michelle, the mom of a breastfeeding toddler, wrote a post on her blog with a call to Bring Breastfeeding Back to the ‘Street’. As Ms. Michelle’s blog post points out, there were several videos of breastfeeding on Sesame Street in the 1970s and 1980s. However, in the 1990s, Sesame Street updated old videos, such as “you’re my baby” and replaced the clips of breastfeediing with bottle feeding.

In an e-mail, Ms. Michelle wrote:

Women breastfeeding are the images we want to show to our sons and daughters, so that they will view a woman’s body as more then a sexual object. That’s the only way we will see a change in future generations. My hope for this is that all moms, however they chose to feed their babies, come together and support one another.

Comments on recent posts on Care2.com about breastfeeding certainly show that the need to normalize breastfeeding is urgent. Too many people still compare it to urinating (breastmilk is food, not waste) or to sex (nursing is feeding, not sexual activity). In response to the “what if a child sees THAT?” questions from those against nursing in public, most breastfeeding advocates will argue that is exactly what needs to happen. Children, both young children and teenagers, need to see babies being breastfed. If parents take the time to explain to their children that breasts are used to nourish babies, then perhaps boys and girls will understand that breasts are not simply sexual objects.

All it takes is reinstating a few simple scenes like this one from the 1970s to help children understand how babies are fed:

In support of the call to action issued by Ms. Michelle, another breastfeeding mother, Jessica Williams created a petition asking Sesame Street to bring back breastfeeding. Ms. Williams wrote:

I would just like to say that we would like it known that we aren’t starting a breast vs bottle debate or saying Sesame Street should remove bottles. We just want both shown so that our children can learn and see all the normal ways of feeding babies. If our children are brought up in a society where nursing is the norm we will one day end up with more nursing mothers which will help our society, our children, and our mothers.

If you support the normalization of breastfeeding, please sign the petition and tell the producers of Sesame Street that all families deserve to be reflected in their programming.

Related Stories

Breastfeeding Moms Hold Nurse-In at 100+ Target Stores (VIDEO)

Target Employees Harass and Humiliate Breastfeeding Mom

We Need Mothers to Breastfeed In Front of Teenagers

Read more: ,

Photo used with permission from Jessica Williams.

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143 comments

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3:49PM PDT on Jul 25, 2012

Darn, the petition's closed.

3:48PM PDT on Jul 25, 2012

"Nope..don't agree with this! I'm all for breatfeeding but noton Sesame Street ..breastfeedingis my rsonsibily as a parentt o explain to my children .. not TV"

Are you one of those people who think that nursing mothers should BF in public restrooms? This is 2012, not 1512. People should be mature enough, especially as adults, to be able to control themselves and not shame women for doing something so natural.

3:34PM PDT on Jul 25, 2012

Why not? "Sesame Street" is an educational program and kids need to know that this is a natural act and not something to be shamed or hidden.

5:12AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

Thank you for the information.

5:04PM PDT on May 23, 2012

I def think they should at least mention it and show it. It is the most natural way for a baby to eat! and if they see it on a program they love, and see it at home, it wont be so foreign to them. Once when I was feeding my son at the hospital (he had to have blood drawn) a little girl asked me if he liked eating that way. I said yes, that its always warm and always ready, and that he likes to hold onto my hair and he feels safe and warm so close to me. she shrugged and said he was really cute, and that she wanted a baby brother too. lol

1:39PM PST on Jan 16, 2012

It is sad that something as natural and simple and beautifil with so many...many....many reasons to be the NORMAL behaviour in North America as it is everywhere else....if you follow the science....the lack of if it (due mainly to a medical model of birth) is responsible for so much of the harm and the headlines...the neural connections made while in the arms of someone who loves us unconditionally and is willing to put aside time for us...is more than nourishment...it nourishes the soul and greats peaceful, happy, healthy and productive people...and without it the anxiety created from a baby not receiving a natural need...causes all manner of our new syndromes and dysfunctions....the science tells us our levels of aggession and violence are a product of this missed que in neural development....why would we not want to correct the wrong and the harm for the next generation....by letting them understand what is right and natural....NOT SILICONE duh...when children see normal behaviour they model it...should they have to look over toilet stall walls to understand what is a natural right?...NO they should see it everywhere and anywhere that it is appropriate FOR MOM AND BABY...NOT the repressed and dysfunctional amoung us. Sesame street is a prefect venue...

Our commodification of women and children is the horror story*...not breast feeding...that is our saving grace.... the milk of human kindness and the elixir of life from the pitchers of health...MOM'S MEDICINE CHEST...the

12:54PM PST on Jan 16, 2012

Care2 members - TAKE NOTE: if you are accessing this site thru a FedEx cpu facility - you will be unable to access the Breastfeeding on Sesame St. petition! This applies to many care2 petitions if you are accessing directly to the peition site. Their firewall [server is located in Dallas, Tx.] blocks access to ANY Care2 petition on the petition site! I was only able to sign this petition thru the pop-up above. I suggest that this is a violation of our civil rights in both the USA and in Canada... What do you think?

7:16AM PST on Jan 15, 2012

I do not understand why anyone would think breastfeeding should not be seen on Sesame Street. Why is all right to give little girls dolls with bottles? Aside from that, has anyone really taken a look down the "doll" aisle these days, to see what girls are playing with? With the violence and rubbish that children watch, how much better to have them see something as natural and beneficial as a mother nursing her baby. Absolutely breastfeeding should be depicted as much as possible, even on children's shows. I breastfed my children (now 17 and 19) until they were both well into "toddlerhood." I would far rather have had them see this on Sesame Street than formula commercials on TV. There is nothing "natural" about popping open a can of powdered chemicals to feed a baby,

9:15PM PST on Jan 14, 2012

Holly L wrote: "Nope..don't agree with this! I'm all for breatfeeding but noton Sesame Street ..breastfeedingis my rsonsibily as a parentt o explain to my children .. not TV"

Breastfeeding is not SEX. Sex is an intimate act you should be 100% responsible for and does not belong on a program for kids and what children LIVE in a wholesome environment. Breastfeeding is not sexual, breastfeeding is how mammals get nourishment. Humans are the only mammals that have the option to put their milk in a bottle before giving it to the baby. They can even create an artificial milk alternative. This information should not be omitted from programing intended to be educational.

10:45AM PST on Jan 13, 2012

Holly L wrote: "Nope..don't agree with this! I'm all for breastfeeding but not on Sesame Street ..breastfeeding is my responsibility as a parent to explain to my children ... not TV

Well, Holly, I don't believe for one millipsecond that "you're all for breastfeeding" -- (I corrected all your misspellings & realized just how flustered you are by this subject ;-) ...

#1) If you were all for breastfeeding, you would understand that Sesame Street is the PERFECT place to introduce this to children!

#2) "Nope..don't agree with this!" indicates your mind is totally closed ... not even willing to consider this -- again, certainly not indicative of "being all for breastfeeding" -- Not even close!

#3) "breastfeeding is my responsibility as a parent to explain to my children ... not TV"

I'd hazared to guess you watch quite alot of programming which is far more sexual than breastfeeding. Do you control what your children watch? I doubt it, as I've seen this attitude from quite a few folks who recoil in horror at breastfeeding, but sit quite unphased while semi-pornographic, sleazy TV is watched by their young children.

Do you also believe it is "your responsibility" to teach your children about sex -- or do you believe it should be taught in school?



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