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Reality TV Show On Breastfeeding Past Infancy In The Works: Cue The Judgment

Reality TV Show On Breastfeeding Past Infancy In The Works: Cue The Judgment

Is this an attempt to de-stigmatize breastfeeding beyond infancy or simply another round in the mommy wars?

Collins Avenue, a reality tv production company is developing a series based on mothers who breastfeed older children. The show was announced just as the controversy over the Time magazine cover showing a three-year-old boy nursing next to the title “Are You Mom Enough?” had died down and with plenty of time to re-sensationalize the topic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) encourages nursing to age 2 and beyond, while the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests nursing till at least 1 year of age. But can the company responsible for the exploitative and maternally manipulative “Dance Moms” really present the idea of breast feeding beyond infancy in any way other than as some moralistically confused and sexually problematic trope? I doubt it.

And that’s a problem, because the reality is many parents navigate the issue of breastfeeding/weaning in a way that promotes healthy familial relationships and makes sense to them and in a culture that insists on sexualizing breasts, even in the name of cancer prevention and treatment, that’s a conversation we desperately need to have. Also, is there any image more likely to whip up a frenzy that a mother with an older child attached to her breast? Misogynists are all to happy to attack these kinds of mothers as the symbol of the many ways feminism is destroying our culture, particularly our masculine culture.

So instead of a nuanced approach to the many ways of successful parenting including extended nursing and child-directed weaning, I’m bracing for a heavy dose of judgment and sanctimony accompanied by an insistence that even when employed in the act of nursing, women’s breasts must be both hidden from view and available for exploitation.

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Photo from myllissa via flickr.

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87 comments

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12:50PM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

@ Amber

I agree with much of what you have said about breastfeading. It is good for mom to breastfeed baby for at least a little while as it is so beneficial for babies health and it also helps with bonding. I also agree that continuing past toddler years is probably not for most parents.

What i disagree with is the idea that anyone should have the right to push their opinion about mothering (or parenting in general) on any parent. Each parent has to find their own path for their family. So to put non breastfeeding parents down or argue at what age the child should be when they should stop is wrong because it is none of anyones business except for the parents and the child.

Also i think a reality show about such a personal thing within a family is a terrible idea. If this were a documentary series about the subject i would agree that it is beneficial but reality tv is about flash and conflict not health and well being.

That is my opinion and i hope the alternate viewpoint i give is taken in the sprit it was offered in as i respect your opinion i hope you will respect mine and that of all mothers out there doing what they hope is best for their little ones.

9:42AM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

I don't think there's anything wrong with a breastfeeding reality show. people need to be educated and shown that that is the most important thing for their child. do you know how many people don't even breastfeed, they just give them formula as soon as they are born? it's ridiculous! and they wonder why their baby gets sick so much or doesn't have a great immune system. you didn't give it the nutrients it needed! anyway, having said that, I personally don't agree with breastfeeding a child that is 3 or more years old. I think that's overdoing it. but they should be breastfed until at least a year old, maybe a little longer.

7:38AM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

@ Jane R, breastfeeding I never ugly. Although I do like the idea of it I have to agree with monica r reality tv never makes people look normal and may end do more harm than good to the cause.

3:27AM PDT on Jul 15, 2012

It is acceptable to walk around half naked, wear clothers or tattoos that others might find offensve, to smoke in public, get drunk, but heaven forbid that a mother should breastfeed her child, note child, in public. This show sounds like a nightmare for any mothers, who are breastfeeding an older child, but really Americans need to remember the whole purpose of breasts is to feed babies and young children. Native tribes breastfeed children up to the age of 7. I know people will say "it is unnecessary in this day and age and we are not native tribes" but it is natural!

7:09PM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

I think breast feeding is important however after a child is past 1 year old I think it should be done in the privacy of your own home. Most people wouldn't object to public BF of an infant, it's just a normal thing, but after a certain age it becomes ugly to see in a public place.

11:01PM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

My apology, Monica. I misread your post

10:51PM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

Monica, no one forces you to have children. Your choice however is neither more nor less valid than the choice of women who decide they want to have children and feed them the food nature intended for them. It is no more inappropriate for a child to breastfeed in public, than it is for you to have a slice of pizza or a burger at the food court. In public places, you aren't -or shouldn't be- allowed to impose your likes and dislikes on others. I am sorry you a repulsed by the sight of a square inch on female boob, but you are not entitled to force mothers to hide to feed their children. How would you feel if a recent immigrant from a Muslim country suddenly decreed that you can no longer eat out because he finds the sight of your bare face doesn't belong in a place he patrons?

4:34PM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

Breastfeeding is a normal and natural way to nourish children. I hope more women breast feed in public. Get over it people. They are just breasts.

2:09PM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

I breast-fed three children, One until 18 months, one until about 9 months, and the other until around one-year. The last my son who hasn't been breast-fed in over 4 years recently requested booby milk. Because he knows that moms make milk as well as cow milk and soy milk. I found it very endearing although my breasts stopped making milk only once I had my nipples pierced for the last year.
I find it acceptable that if you make milk, your child is comfortable with it you and your spouse are comfortable with it and as long as it does not take place at night or if you are sexualizing it by enticing your child to drink from your breast.
Breastfeeding is sexual by nature, it stimulates oxytocin "the love hormone" to create the bond that we all feel when we are in love.
This is different between a mother and child than in a lovemaking way because we are nourishing our child's body and spirit!

1:28PM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

This is a stupid idea. I don't have kids, and I do think women should be able to breast feed in public, because it's feeding, not a sexual act. But a show about walking talking kids breast feeding will no doubt do more harm than good.

Please name me even ONE reality show where they made the people look normal.

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