February 7th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Breast is Best

Mr Rogers Talks About Breastfeeding

Thank you to Tanya Lieberman over at The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog once again for tracking down such great material!  I don't know how you do it but I sure am glad you do!

I have a new-found respect for Mr Rogers after watching the elusive "Episode 364", (originally aired in 1968 - the show's first season) where he discusses how baby animals and human babies drink their mother's milk.  I stand corrected on the date of this episode; it was originally aired in 1984.  Thank you "MarFv"!  The clip includes wonderfully detailed footage of moms nursing their babies that ironically would most certainly be pulled from Facebook today.  Apparently Mr Rogers was a heckuva lot more open-minded and forward-thinking over 41 years ago, than a good percentage of people today.

Ever since I saw that clip I have been obsessed with finding out more about the much-parodied Fred Rogers and his "Neighbourhood".  I think I'm in love.  Mr Rogers and the Neighborhood Trolley

Fred Rogers wrote every episode as well as composed all the music for every one of his "Neigborhood" shows.  He regularly dealt with many issues that other children's programs glossed-over like divorce, war, competition, anger and death.  He was concerned with teaching children to love themselves and others.  In fact, research confirms that 'Mister Rogers Neighborhood' can help children develop the important skills they need for learning in and out of school.  How many of today's programs would even come close to this?  I think I'll be buying some DVD's for my girls to watch. 

Here are some other little-known facts (at least to me) about the famed Mr Rogers:  He was a vegetarian that swam every morning and neither drank or smoked.  'Mr Rogers Neighbourhood' had no commercials when it was on the air, running for 28 minutes solid.  He was an ordained Presbyterian minister.  One of his heroes was cellist Yo-Yo Ma whom appeared as a guest on his show.  'Mr Rogers Neighborhood' won four Emmy Awards and Fred Rogers won a 5th for Lifetime Achievement in 1997.  Fred Rogers was cited as one of the most prominent witnesses influencing the Supreme Court decison in the case Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc (Betamax v. VCR).  He held 40 honorary degrees and won numerous awards.

Fred Rogers died on February 27, 2003 from stomach cancer, shortly before his 75th birthday.  'Mr Rogers Neighbourhood' aired for over 33 years (that's 998 episodes - the longest running program on PBS).

"Can you say 'breastfeeding'?  I knew you could."  (Sorry I couldn't resist).

Please share any special stories you have about 'Mr Rogers Neighborhood' and its beloved creator.  I'd love to hear more!

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Diane Sam says:

Beautiful Wendy! Thanks for posting. It really struck me that this was 1968. Have we gone backward? I doubt this would be put on the air today with all those nipple shots. Ironic.

Posted on February 9, 2009

Wendy Armbruster Bell says:

Thanks for the comment Diane. Actually this episode apparently still airs on PBS.

Posted on February 9, 2009

Tecia says:

Wendy, this is GREAT! I watched Mr. Rogers growing up and I never recall seeing this one... great encouragement for both mothers and children because it makes the older children feel that if mom is doing this it's ok and it's natural because we (humans) are not the only "breed" who breastfeed. :)

Posted on February 9, 2009

Wendy Armbruster Bell says:

Thanks for the comment Tecia. I agree - Mr Rogers was way before his time. :-)

Posted on February 9, 2009

MarFv says:

i absolutely love this clip. My 2 year old keeps asking to see the babies. I have to correct you, though, on the date. It is not from 1968. It was first shown in 1984, the opening episode of Season 15. I did notice that there is a computer in the background of one of the shots. The episode guide describes the whole show:

http://www.tv.com/mister-rogers-neighborhood/food-1/episode/313931/recap.html?tag=overview;recap

It is still amazing that Mr. Rogers could have the maturity to show this but Facebook thinks it is obscene.

Posted on February 14, 2009

Wendy Armbruster Bell says:

MarFv,

Thanks for your comment and the correction on the date. I had Googled "Episode 364" and that's the information that I found, however when you do the math on 998 episodes over 33 years, 1984 makes better sense.

I have updated the post to reflect your correction. Thanks for reading!

Wendy

Posted on February 14, 2009