Longreads

Sesame Street, long known for fostering inclusion and busting stereotypes, took on breastfeeding back in 1976. In a little-remembered segment featuring signer Buffy Saint-Marie feeding her son Cody, endearing educational foil Big Bird looks on, asking pertinent questions for the benefit of all. At Hazlitt, Mayukh Sen reports on this first and arguably best depiction of breastfeeding in the history of television.

The scene, which appears midway through the 116th episode of season eight, unfolds with mundane calm. Big Bird was horribly jealous of Cody, and that had become a running gag during Sainte-Marie’s time on the show: KEEP OUT! a sign outside Big Bird’s nest read, referring to Cody. THAT MEANS YOU. But during this segment, merely 150 words and 56 seconds long, Big Bird softens. He comes upon Sainte-Marie breastfeeding her child. Big Bird is taken with this gesture he’d never seen, the sight of a kid…

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