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Thursday, January 07, 2010
Big Bird Learns About Breastfeeding
This is a 1977 Sesame Street clip in which Buffy nurses her older baby and explains breastfeeding to Big Bird.
Big Bird starts off by saying, "Well, that's a funny way to feed a baby!" In 1977 about 70% of babies born in the United States NEVER received even one ounce of human milk (1). It was small media pieces like this that spurred a rise in breastfeeding awareness so that by the 1980s about 50% of babies started out life at the breast (although few stayed there).
Today we find that about 62% of babies receive some breastmilk (however, this was defined by the 2008 CDC statistics as at least one time nursing, which hardly constitutes for a 'breastfed baby'). Maybe we need to inject more natural baby feeding clips like this into our television programming and squash the nipplephobia that is out there. Breast isn't just 'best' - it is normal.
(1) Hirschman C., Butler M. Trends and differentials in breast feeding: an update. Demography 1981;18:39-54
Here is a later (1980s) clip of breastfeeding on Sesame Street. Maria is nursing her baby. Too bad the writers had to emphasize that she 'also uses a bottle to feed' and her baby will 'soon be eating real food' such as 'mashed up bits of fruit and chicken'... So much for baby-led weaning and encouragement of meeting the AAP and WHO recommendation for a minimum of 2 years breastfeeding.
And LOOK at that cover to hide any potential nipple! Phew. Baby could drown in that blanket.
From what I understand the 1990s Sesame Street clips through the present day only show babies being fed by bottle. If this is not accurate, please fill me in.
If you would like to read research on brain development and neuro science as it relates to breastfeeding and other parenting choices, see the excellent books, Why Love Matters, The Science of Parenting, and The Baby Bond.
Additional Related Articles:
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Breastfeeding Public Service Announcements From Around the World
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The Effects of Circumcision on Breastfeeding
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Nipplephobia: When Mammals May Not Feed Their Young
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