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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Breastfeeding not good topic for ‘Sesame Street’ program

    Children should not see breastfeeding on television programming, especially from the likes of “Sesame Street.” Since the 1970s, the program presented breastfeeding mothers in multiple episodes. However, in the 1990s, the show switched from breast to bottle. Now, parents are urging for breastfeeding to be brought back on air alongside the bottle.

    According to 2008 data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44 percent of mothers breastfeed through six months. While many see the statistic as a prevailing reason to incorporate breastfeeding into a children’s educational program, it seems only fair to note that 56 percent of mothers do not breastfeed during that crucial period.

    The local debate over public breastfeeding recently intensified after moms around the country ordered a nationwide “nurse-in” at Target stores. The “nurse-in” was a reaction to a Texas woman who said she was breastfeeding her son when Target employees surrounded her and asked her to finish breastfeeding in a changing room. Other employees, she said, gave her dirty looks and rolled their eyes, even after she explained that the store’s corporate policy allowed her to breastfeed anywhere in the store.

    Mothers breastfed at a Target here in town, and the protest is legal as an act of assembly. However, children who watch “Sesame Street” do not know what is going on in gender politics. These toddlers cannot remember back when they were a few months old and nursing. It takes much more explaining when it comes to putting breastfeeding on a children’s program than it does to just drop the breastfeeding and the bottle altogether.

    The petition of the activist parents states that “if we normalize breastfeeding in our community, especially with our children, we can help raise a generation of breastfeeders which will support our economy, make for healthier children and lessen the risk of breast cancer for many nursing mamas.” While the cause is honorable, the medium is not. This is children’s programming. Does society really want youth to watch this show to make breastfeeding mainstream, or to perhaps actually learn their ABCs?

    This is supposed to be an educational program.

    Adults need to focus less on what toddlers learn to be normal and more about what toddlers learn at all. Their brains are still developing, and before educators focus on breastfeeding they need to look at the elementary issues. In order for this upcoming generation to have a stable economy, healthy youth, and decreased risk of cancer, the United States needs to start producing adolescents that are smart enough to solve these problems intellectually.

    Parents should stop focusing on trying to define societal norms to toddlers, and focus more on improving what the country has right now.

    — Megan Hurley is a journalism junior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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