Remember When 'Mister Rogers' Normalized Breastfeeding?

Check out this vintage clip.
"Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" covered many important subjects, including breastfeeding.
Hulton Archive via Getty Images
"Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" covered many important subjects, including breastfeeding.

In its three-decade run, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” educated, entertained and inspired millions of young children across the country. Though the world has changed in the nearly half-century since the premiere of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” many of its lessons remain largely relevant today.

One particular episode from 1984 addresses a topic that often makes headlines today: breastfeeding.

Episode 1536 focused on food and featured a segment in which the host explained the ways mammals get nourishment at the earliest stages of life. Below is a clip from the episode, and that portion begins around the 2:40 mark.

“Most baby animals and human babies start out by drinking their mothers’ milk. Let’s just think of all kinds of babies drinking milk.” the host said before presenting a montage of mammals nursing their babies.

The montage included human moms breastfeeding their babies and showed exposed nipples as the infants latched and unlatched. It also featured a mother bottle-feeding her little one.

“Mothers often find a lot of pleasure in feeding their babies. Feeding can be a wonderful way of expressing love,” Rogers explained, adding, “When mothers and babies are ready, the babies start eating other foods beside milk.”

Like similar clips from “Sesame Street,” this segment was an inclusive way of showing how natural breastfeeding is and educating children about human biology and development. Although onscreen portrayals of breastfeeding vary widely, it’s clear kids’ shows often had the right idea.

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