Circa 1977, Buffy St. Marie (singer/songwriter) explains breastfeeding to Big Bird.

It’s really starting to grind my gears! The fact that breastfeeding is STILL being scrutinized in mainstream culture is becoming pretty ridiculous and OLD. Very old. At times I feel like I can’t understand the controversy but what I do understand is that people continue to have adverse reactions to breastfeeding mamas and babes.

According to Yahoo! Shine thousands of mamas (and their supporters) want Sesame Street to promote breastfeeding as a “normal” way to nourish babies and remake breastfeeding clips that were aired in the 70s and 80s. The Bring Breastfeeding Back to Sesame Street petition site states:

Back in the 70’s and 80’s nursing was tastefully shown on the show but now they have replaced their nursing videos with bottles. Please note… We are not asking Sesame Street to remove bottle feeding. We are asking that both ways of feeding babies be shown as normal. If we normalize breastfeeding in our community, especially with our children, we can help raise a generation of breastfeeders which will support our economy, make for healthier children and lessen the risk of breast cancer for many nursing mamas!

Signing the petition at number 5,718, I remember how growing up I lived for Sesame Street! Fond memories find me in my grandparents living room after school watching the show on WTTW before dinner was made. I remember when some friends found out I was still watching it in 5th grade. I was mortified. I had never seen these breastfeeding clips (or at least I can’t remember seeing them). Watching the clips today, I am so delighted at how powerful these images are and the now effective they could be if they were aired now.

Normalizing breastfeeding for children (and the adults around) could truly change health outcomes and disparities for futures to come.

Of course, showing breastfeeding babies on Sesame Street will not be the end all-be all to making this change. National health promotion campaigns specific to breastfeeding initiation (and duration) would have to be implemented to see true movement in that direction. Multimedia outlets, including television shows, would only come second (maybe third) to this desperately needed initiative.

And I know, I know…our babies are over stimulated with TV as is and are beginning to become more and more commercialized earlier and earlier but I would definitely love it if that the folks living in that utopia, that which is Sesame Street, would just go ahead and feed their babies…breastmilk.

Sonia Manzano, who played Maria, nursing her real daughter Gabi, who is currently on the show.

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