By Tracy G. Cassels
Children growing up today and watching the media will have a hard time understanding the biology of how babies feed. In fact, by the time a child is pre-teen, s/he has probably seen a fair few sets of boobs in action movies, but has quite possibly never seen a pair used to breastfeed on TV (or in movies). (Actually, given the paucity of nursing in public, perhaps not ever.) Think about the popular kids or family shows today where there’s a new baby and you will see bottle-feeding. But it didn’t always used to be that way and there actually are some shows that have managed to work breastfeeding in and I want to share some of them here so that, if you so choose, you can pick your media on the type of message you may want it to portray.
My favourite: Mr. Rogers talks about how babies feed and yes, they show nipples! Used for (gasp) breastfeeding! (Side note, there is a lovely story about how this clip was removed and reinstated with the blessing of the Mr. Rogers company. It’s truly wonderful to know that while he is sadly gone, those who are working in his memory have as much class as he did.)
Roseanne. One of my favourite scenes ever is Jackie breastfeeding “the baby” (it takes forever for that kid to have a name) while she’s getting married during the credits at the end (not to mention the leaky boobs just before). But Jackie regularly breastfeeds so it’s not limited to this one episode.
Family Guy. Arguably not a family show, but I know lots of pre-teens and teens who watch it. And if they saw this episode, they were treated to a full-on discussion of breastfeeding, biting, weaning, and finally the resumption of the nursing relationship.
Old Sesame Street. Back in the day, they showed kids what breastfeeding looked like and no one thought it was strange. But be forewarned that if you want your kids to see this, you’ll have to go back to watch the older episodes (there’s this one here and another one with Maria a few years later, but still in the 70s/80s Sesame Street era).
The New Normal. An entire episode dedicated to breastfeeding and a flash mob dancing in support of nursing in public. Just try to ignore the crotch-danglers
A couple more without clips:
Sex and the City. Again, not a family show, but many a teen girl watched and continue to watch and thus the breastfeeding Miranda offers a great example while the wonderful Charlotte reminds us why we must not be cruel to moms who are bottle-feeding.
Modern Family. With Gloria having had a baby, it was a question of what would happen, but nursing she is. Though the show “censored” shots of her breastfeeding, it’s not too surprising given that Sofia Verga wasn’t actually breastfeeding so it may have looked a little awkward. The show did show Jay being an ass, but at least Gloria stands up for her and her baby.
What am I missing? Any other shows that have featured breastfeeding on TV for kids to watch as if it’s (gasp) normal??