…and thankfully, they don't mean between Muppets.
Following last week's nation-wide nurse-in that took place in over 100 different Target stores, a group of moms are attempting to bring breastfeeding to one of America's most beloved institutions — Sesame Street.
In an effort to normalize public nursing, mother Lani Michelle issued a call on her blog, encouraging the critically-acclaimed children's program to include more scenes of mothers breastfeeding. In an email to Care2, a social action website that promotes sustainable lifestyles, Michelle explained the benefits of disseminating breastfeeding imagery:
"Women breastfeeding are the images we want to show to our sons and daughters, so that they will view a woman’s body as more then a sexual object. That’s the only way we will see a change in future generations. My hope for this is that all moms, however they chose to feed their babies, come together and support one another."
In her blog post, Michelle also points out that throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Sesame Street frequently included scenes of mothers nursing. In one one such moment, the character Maria explains to a young girl that her baby Gabriella is "drinking milk from [her] breast." When asked if that is the only way to feed a baby, Maria replies that while it isn't, it's the method she prefers: "It's natural, it's good for her and I get a chance to hug her some more." Despite their history of nursing characters, during the 1990s, the show became a breast-free environment (what a terrible combination of words); sketches including breastfeeding mothers were quietly phased out while bottles became omnipresent. The song "You're My Baby" demonstrates the bottle shift on the Street: when the song first aired in the '70s, it's accompanying imagery included a baby being breastfed yet, when the track was updated in the 1990's, the clip was replaced with a baby holding a bottle.
A formal petition to bring breastfeeding back to the children's show now has over 1,700 signatures. I think it's about time Sesame Street features a non-sexualized explanation of women's breasts — I mean, look at how petrified Elmo was of Katy Perry's boobs!