Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How did "Bring BFing Back to Sesame Street" get started? And Pediatricians Reactions!

Art Credit Joni Rae
Bring Breastfeeding Back To Sesame Street Started As One Mom's Wish.

While on pregnancy bed-rest I was searching the internet for videos and information on breastfeeding in an effort to learn as much as I could about breastfeeding. I was so afraid I would be unable to breastfeed that I began to research every possible problem so that I would know how to fix any that could happened. That is when I came across the Sesame Street videos from the 70's and 80's depicting breastfeeding.  I thought to myself, "I would love to see those come back to television."  Recently, after endless news stories regarding nursing mothers being publicly harassed while breastfeeding, I  blogged asking Sesame Street to bring breastfeeding back.

Even though I grew up around breastfeeding, I was very fearful of not being successful. Everyone tells you how difficult it is and that it hurts. I could not imagine the stress I would have felt if I had never seen breastfeeding as part of normal life. Because I grew up around it I was very comfortable with the idea of breastfeeding, I was just afraid I would not be successful at it.

I was unable to attend the Target-nurse-in that was recently publicized, so I published this Sesame Street concept on my blog. I then shared my post with the 7000+ members of the Target-nurse-in Facebook group.  A fellow mom, Jessica, was inspired to team up with me by starting the "Bring Breastfeeding Back to Sesame Street" petition and adding it to my blog.  Michelle, the motivation for the Target-nurse-in, helped to kick start "Target - Bring Back Breastfeeding to Sesame Street" by coordinating a group of about 20 moms to hit the ground running and post the blog and petition all over Facebook and Twitter.

After gaining some momentum, the group of moms contacted larger parenting pages and asked them to join the vision and repost our work. Soon, other bloggers joined in and "Bring Breastfeeding Back to Sesame Street" went viral. Gena Kirby from Progressive Parenting did an online radio show dedicated to this movement and to nursing moms who are being victimized more and more frequently. Seeing the overwhelming need, Annie from PhD in Parenting posted an article on www.Care2.com asking for a call to action.

This resulted in over 30,000 signatures! And the number is still climbing!

Bettina Forbes from Best for Babes, a non-profit foundation dedicated to "Beating the Booby Traps that prevent Moms from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals.", Put out a call to pediatricians across the country asking for there support. That is exactly what we got.

See the post from Best for Babes.

Dr. Harvey Karp & Top Pediatricians 

Back Breastfeeding on Sesame Street


A letter from Dr. Jack Newman, Pediatrician and Breastfeeding Expert.

    Sesame Street representatives do not seem to understand what the fuss is all about!  They are showing bottle feeding on their show and do not believe that this is somehow undermining breastfeeding. 
    I am sure that Sesame Street believes that children learn important information from their broadcasts.  If so, they are teaching young children that bottle feeding is a normal way of feeding babies.
    One of the major problems of promoting breastfeeding in North American Society is that too many mothers have been convinced that bottle feeding and breastfeeding are essentially the same.  This deeply ingrained belief arises from several sources, the most important being that baby bottles in our society are symbols of babyhood.  Bottles are everywhere, in airport signs that show where to change the baby, in magazines articles on babies; bottles come with baby dolls so that the young girl can feed her baby.  And now Sesame Street adds to the problem.  Many children grow up in our society and never see a baby being breastfed, but they do see babies being bottle fed all the time.
    Add to this the formula companies’ marketing campaigns to convince people, particularly mothers, that formula feeding and bottle feeding are essentially the same as breastfeeding.  This is completely untrue, but this does not stop the companies from making sure that mothers get free samples of formula and information that tries to convince parents that formula is just a hair’s breadth different from breastmilk and, in fact, better, since formula fed babies sleep better, for example (not according to studies).  Advertising can be very powerful and the formula companies have studied the task of convincing parents for a long time.  They are very good at what they do.
    Does it matter?  Yes, it does.  Babies that are bottle fed are frequently sicker and more frequently sick than breastfed babies, especially exclusively breastfed babies.  Breastfed babies get many fewer infections and less severe infections than formula fed babies.  Some of these infections can be very serious.  Indeed, a study published in Pediatrics in 2010 showed that about 1000 infant deaths occur in the US every year because they are not breastfed.  Furthermore, a mother who doesn’t breastfeed is more likely to get breast cancer, other cancers of the reproductive system and diabetes type 2 (becoming epidemic in North America).
    So, does Sesame Street really want to promote bottle feeding?  Do they really want our children to be acculturated to believe that bottle feeding is the way to feed a baby?  What can their motive be for this?  How can they not see what the fuss is all about?
Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC
January 17, 2012


  1. Dr. Newman, As a former breastfeeding mom, I agree with you 100%. I nursed all three of my children, that last one over 30 years ago. I had been breast fed and I definitely wanted the best feeding for my babies. As I have had a milk sensitivity all my life, I simply drank lots of liquids and took calcium during my pregnancies and afterwards. My first baby (45 years ago) was breast fed for 18 months. I enjoyed every minute of it and I have always promoted it to new mothers. It is natural and best.


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