Thursday, January 12, 2012

Breastfeeding Awareness - Can we bring breastfeeding back to Sesame Street?

***Warning, soap box Breastfeeding post ahead!***
This post is not meant to upset or disrespect bottle feeding mamas, only to bring awareness to breastfeeding.

As a Labor and Delivery nurse as well as a breastfeeding mama, I have always been shocked at how breastfeeding is viewed in the public eye.  Over the years, breastfeeding has become a gross, disgusting, wrong, inhumane, and very closeted topic.  WHY?  Breastfeeding may not be for everyone...BUT Breastfeeding is none of the above!  Breastfeeding can be beautiful, natural, normal, and should not be done in secret.  It saddens me that many mamas feel the need to rush off to their homes, a car, a bathroom, or other secluded place to feed their baby.  I can understand modesty and privacy, but you should not have to hide the fact that your child is hungry and you feed him/her from the breasts that God gave you for this exact reason.

I honestly feel that we need to bring awareness to breastfeeding, for many reasons.

One, for those that have this completely wrong perspective on breastfeeding, they will never even think twice about bottle feeding their child.  If the public perspective on breastfeeding was not so negative, there might be more mamas out their choosing to at least try breastfeeding.  At least by opening such a closed topic, more mamas would have a choice instead of feeling that breastfeeding is dirty and not even thinking about it.

Two, we need to support mamas who want to breastfeed!  So many mamas have troubles with breastfeeding and have no one to turn to.  Out of frustration and/or desperation, they throw in the towel because they have absolutely no support and have no one to turn to for help.  If this topic was not so closed off, mamas would openly talk about breastfeeding and have all the support in the world!

Three, we need to normalize breastfeeding.  Women breastfed their babies for hundreds of years because there was no other choice and breastfeeding is STILL regarded as the healthiest choice for your child.  When did it come about that breastfeeding became the "un-natural and non-normal" way to feed your child?  Ok, bottle feeding exists and many parents choose this as their feeding preference...but there are still SOOOO many mamas that choose to breastfeed too.  So why does the public only recognize bottle feeding as normal?  This skewed and incorrect public view needs to be changed!  There are TWO choices for feeding your child, and to only publicly recognize and support bottle feeding is just wrong.  The public needs to recognize and SUPPORT both methods of feeding, not just bottle feeding.

And lastly, Four.  We need to make it ok for mothers to nurse in public (NIP).  Now ok, I can understand the whole maybe we shouldn't just whip the boob out anywhere we please deal.  A nice light weight cover-up is a perfect addition for most breastfeeding mothers diaper bag essentials.  However, if a mother does not have a cover-up...just don't look!!!  It is that easy!  And I don't feel that mamas should have to hide in a dark corner or GASP a public bathroom stall to feed their child.  Would you want to eat your lunch in a public restroom???  Talk about inhumane...trying to feed your child in a nasty restroom is inhumane!  I personally ran to the car to breastfeed my child because I did not feel comfortable nursing in public.  In retrospect, this infuriates me.  My baby was hungry.  If I was bottlefeeding, I would have had a bottle right there and popped it in her mouth and fed her where ever we were.  But because I was breastfeeding, I had to rush my screaming baby to the car (however far away it was) to breastfeed.  I refused to breastfeed in a nasty, dirty, disgusting public restroom.  Bottle feeding mothers do not have to worry about where they are going to feed their baby, why should breastfeeding mothers?

So where am I going with this post?

There is a petition going around right now in an effort to bring breastfeeding back to Sesame Street.  In the 70's and 80's mothers openly breastfed their babies on the show, then in the 90's suddenly breastfeeding was not allowed on the show.  Bottle feeding is the only feeding choice allowed to be shown on the show.  By bringing breastfeeding back to this educational show, we can again show how breastfeeding can be normal and not un-natural as recent years have led people to believe.  Also, this would serve as an effort to level the playing field of normal between breastfeeding and bottle feeding and educate a new generation of children to make the decision for themselves.

If you agree and want to sign the petition, here is the link.  Bring Breastfeeding back to Sesame Street.

Also, this petition and its message made the Time News.

Again, these are only my opinions.  This is not meant to upset or disrespect any mamas out there.  I simply want support for ALL parents and ALL feeding choices equally.


  1. Absolutely agree. I also think breastfeeding mamas need to also be careful to not discriminate against bottle-feeding families. But how did we get so far from breastfeeding being the norm anymore! Good post!

  2. I completely agree with you. My daughter is 3 months old and I was just talking to my husband about feeding my daughter in a fitting room at kohls. I was also telling him how its not fair that I should have to feed my child in a small "closet" at church instead of the lobby because breastfeeding is "indecent". I've realized in these past 3 months that breastfeeding in public is not easy but its something that needs to be done so it is easy in the future. Thanks for posting this!

  3. What a wonderful post, thank you! Count me in!! As a Mama who tried to breast feed (I couldn't) and also a Mimi to breast fed/feeding grandchildren I am SO proud of my daughter for being a breast feeding Mama. Your words are wonderful, I hate the side of this that considers breast feeding to be something it is not. It always reminds me that most of these people with the nasty words have grandparents who most likely were breast fed! We need to return to a time when breast feeding was a natural source of nourishment for our babies.

  4. We wanted to share the Follow Up / Update to your post

    Currently we have obtained over 27,000 signatures in 13 days.

    Sesame Street has responded...
    We would love to see what you and your readers think of this.

    Also we have a website dedicated to this project.

    Thanks Lani @