Breastfeeding on Sesame Street

Below is the public letter that I have written to Sesame Street, prompted by reading Big Bird Learns About Breastfeeding on the Peaceful Parenting blog. As many of us know already, there is very little acceptance in the media–and in much of the United States culture–when it comes to breastfeeding.

I also created a discussion page on the Sesame Street Facebook page titled Breastfeeding on Sesame Street.

I encourage you to also write an open letter to Sesame Street in your blogs and/or on the Sesame Street Facebook page.

To Whom it May Concern,

In the 1970’s and 1980’s Sesame Street aired clips of mothers breastfeeding their infants. Since then, all infants on the show have been shown as using bottles. The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding until at least the age of two years old. You may not be aware, but only 13% of infants were still being exclusively breastfed at age 6 months in 2006 and the number is barely improving.

The United States has severe nipplephobia and often times mothers that are active breastfeeders are criticized for nursing in public and sometimes for nursing at all. There are laws in place that protect a breastfeeding mother’s right to feed her child in public without covering up, but many women are still kicked out of restaurants and schools for breastfeeding. Some are even asked to breastfeed in unsanitary, cramped bathrooms.

Breastfeeding is not considered normal; it is even considered grotesque to feed an infant in public. Some parents complain that children should not be exposed to breastfeeding mothers because it is going to mentally scar the child…this only leads to breastfeeding being further demonized; which will lead to less and less mothers breastfeeding their infants.

Breastfeeding has been proven to pass important antibodies onto infants; something formula fed babies do not receive.

Sesame Street is viewed every day by hundreds of families and children. I feel that it would be a very empowering move for women if breastfeeding was featured again on the show. It would help to normalize breastfeeding (the single most normal way to feed a baby IS breastfeeding, after all) and hopefully create a feeling of acceptance in the media for children and their families.

Thank you for your time,

Sarah Dailey