Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Children's Shows and Bottles

Lately, my daughter has been more of a mom to her baby dolls, and I think it's adorable.  The only problem is that she has decided to stop nursing them and gives them bottles.

I asked why, and her response, "Dora gives the baby bottles, so does Super Why."

I almost cried.

We talked about how babies drink milk from their mom's breasts, and she knows that and used to do that all the time, but she just kept going back to how the people on her shows didn't, so that must be how it's done.

I understand that breasts are seen as mostly sexual objects now, with only that function.  That doesn't mean it's right or I agree with it, but I understand.

I just have a huge issue with shows made for children that show artificial feeding as the norm.  In the US, yes more women use bottles and formula than breastfeed, but that doesn't make it right.

I try very hard to teach my daughter that breastfeeding is normal and natural, and love when she is able to see it since I probably won't be able to show her myself.  I want her to be completely comfortable with her body and everything it does.  At almost five years old, she is enthralled with things "important" people do, and that is seen as the coolest thing in the world to her.

Watching Dora (shudder) and Super Why with her and then watching them with bottles just makes me want to write nasty letters about how they are, from the very beginning of children's lives, showing that bottle feeding is the normal thing to do when one has a baby.

I am in no way saying that bottle feeding is wrong, just that by showing bottles automatically on children's shows, you are making another generation that feels breastfeeding is weird if only from the early experiences they have.

After each time she sees this, we talk about why people sometimes need to use bottles, but babies drink milk from their mother's breast.  I hope this is enough, because I am being ambushed by everything around me.

How do you deal with the ads, pictures, images, and everything else children see that make bottle feeding seem superior and more normal than breastfeeding?  Is there really any other way to combat this than to talk all the time about how the body works and to show women feeding their babies the natural way?


Mandi Spencer said... [Reply to comment]

I have seen an episode of Super Why with a bottle in it (probably the one you're talking about) and what bugs me the most is how they paint the mom to be clueless about her baby. As if she has no instincts. Ugh. I've also seen bottles used in Word World, and even randomly sitting around in Sesame Street (not part of the plot). It makes we wonder exactly what they're going for.

Becky said... [Reply to comment]

I also don't like that children shows only use images of bottle feeding. My daughter is still too young to comment how she thinks her doll or babies ought to be fed. What comforts me the most is that I remember doing both as a young girl. I would "breastfeed" my dolls, and I clearly remember owning and playing with doll bottles as well. Yet, from the beginning of my pregnancy, I have been 110% committed to breastfeeding my baby. Sometime when I was young that message (most likely from my mom), even through all the bottle clutter, came out loud and clear: breast is best. I hope my daughter gets that message from me.

Ronda said... [Reply to comment]

I have kept a journal for my daughter about her discoveries as she grows. I have also made sure to mention as much as I can about her nursing habits and our breastfeeding time together. How we snuggle, that she brings me her toys to breastfeed, that she has even insisted that she have "numminy" right there and then in a few interesting locations...I am hoping that looking back on our first hand account will continue to communicate that value over time.

Kayce Pearson said... [Reply to comment]

Exactly Mandi! I got so upset in the Super Why episode because it was a lot more than just feeding his sister a bottle.

Becky, that's awesome :) I really hope that that message gets through to my daughter just because I'm so pushy about it haha.

Ronda, that's a really good idea! Almost like a scrapbook but for memories you might later forget, I love that.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I find that infuriating - Ugh! My son only watches Sesame Street and they have a lot of bottles too. I would love to see more nursing on Sesame Street (although I don't want it to be frigging Beyonce).

I grew up seeing siblings breastfeed and there are also half a dozen photos of my mom breastfeeding me at the start of my own baby book. All of that was definitely the biggest influence on me, even though I was very young. And even though my dolls had bottles.

My fear is that my son will grow up seeing and experiencing breastfeeding as the norm but that his kids someday won't be breastfed. That's WAY down the road, but I always think that daughters must be easier when it comes to your grandkids.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

@Mandi Spencer Yes, what IS that with all of the bottles in Sesame Street for no damn reason at all? They are just like a standard "baby prop" - The producers really don't realize how that looks??

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