Extreme Reality- Breastfeeding Reality TV?

I’m not a fan of “reality” TV, well, most reality TV.  I do like So You Think You Can Dance but that’s a competition (of sorts), not really reality TV, right?  Anyway, most so-called reality TV seems anything but real.  The few times I’ve wasted took the time to watch some it seemed to be nothing more than a hyperbolic visual of humanity and I had to ask where did they find these people?

The truth is it’s possible that with some clever editing even my boring life may possibly appear to be entertaining drama.  Some very, very clever editing.  I mean, I work, do laundry (sometimes, there could be drama over the laundry thing actually), play with my kids, feed my children…

Oh my gosh, there it is!  The entertainment opportunity of reality TV ripe and just waiting to be picked RIGHT THERE!  I feed my children.  *gasp*

Apparently, some think that is quality reality TV just waiting to happen.  You can read about it here.  Not just any feeding, true.  Breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding over a year.  Cause that is so extreme.




We’re reaching here, right?

There are moments when I think I must be really dense because I just don’t get it.  Like now.  If this is extreme to the point that an entire reality TV series to be called “Extreme Parenting” is based on it then why does my life seem so… not extreme?  I’ve breastfed 3 of my 6 children past the 1 year mark (past the 2 year mark…).  That should make me off the charts extreme, right?

Even with the most clever editing possible this sounds like the most boring reality TV show ever.  Because this just doesn’t seem extreme.  It’s really rather normal.  Average.  Regular.

We are a family of 8, 6 are girls under the age of 14, living in a 1400 square foot house with one bathroom.  ONE BATHROOM FOR 8 PEOPLE!  Talk about real entertainment.

Picture this: mom pushing past the 13 year old in the narrow hallway, guiding a wide-eyed 2 year old clutching between her legs, eyes wide as she desperately declares “I peepee!”  Frantically, mom knocks on the door of the bathroom, telling the 9 year old to take her book and get off the toilet now, it’s an emergency.  The 9 year old calls out that she just sat down.  The 11 year old squeezes past the mom and 2 year old in the hallway, telling the camera “ugh, my dad took forever in the bathroom after his shower, I almost peed my pants this morning.”  The 2 year old is heard saying “uh-oh” as the mom just about kicks down the door…

If any aspect of my life is extreme it’s this and maybe the laundry.  But breastfeeding past 12 months old?  Not so much.  Plus, the bathroom thing is lame.

Breastfeeding being depicted in mainstream media?  Even if it’s depicted as “extreme” and pitched as being weird and kind of crazy, is that all bad?  Eh, maybe not.  Who knows, someone may see some heavily edited episode and think “wow, I want to be just like those people!”  Because that’s totally what everyone watching reality TV thinks.  After all, Extreme Parenting is the brainchild of the same team that brought us Dance Moms and Bridezillas.  Just look at how those shows have elevated the obsessed pushy mother of a child dancer and obsessed pushy bride-to-be. These women are endeared to society the world over and every mother can’t wait to sign up her child for dance for their chance as a dance mom and all brides to be dream of their bridezilla moments with anticipation.


Oh wait…


There is a potential hidden nugget of positive in this exploitive form of entertainment that seems to enjoy depicting women as vapid, out-of-control selfish individuals with boundary issues: it will get people talking.  And when someone tells me about the crazy lady on that Extreme Parenting show and how she was actually breastfeeding her 3 year old I’ll say “puhshaw, that’s nothing. You want to talk extremes?  We have 8 people and 1 bathroom.  EIGHT PEOPLE AND 1 BATHROOM!”

Even this is less extreme than the activity surrounding our bathroom most mornings.


 What do you think of this show?  Would you be on it?

The Leakies are talking about it over on The Leaky B@@b Facebook page, discussing the show, what other activities may be seen in a family that breastfeeds past 12 months, and activities we would consider more “extreme” than breastfeeding past 1 year.  Come join in the conversation.


  1. the bathroom drama had me giggling…. extreme parenting id have kids 13 mo. apart like I did. lol.

  2. Well, I’m in the absolutely horrible nursing over 12 months. My newly 4 year old, May 7th started renursing at night when she was 3years 9 months

  3. There is already so much pressure out there from society, telling mom’s how they should feel, how they should act, what they should feed, and how they should raise their children. Give us mom’s a break! I just don’t see what is so extreme about nurturing a child during one of the most critical stages of their lives. Honestly, people need to spend more time out enjoying their own families and children and cultivating their own “reality life”, and stop watching these shows. Sorry…rant over! : )

  4. I love it! I’ve been wondering how they’re going to make an entire series out of this! I could see there being enough material for maybe one show. I still nurse my almost 2.5 year old(!), but the footage of us would be pretty boring. Nursing for 5 minutes to go to sleep at night? Soooo interesting. Nursing first thing in the morning as we sleepily cuddle? Yep, reality tv level drama there.

    Although the time we passed the lingere section at Target and he asked if we could buy some num nums was pretty funny…

    Oh, and as far as the potty situation- you should totally get one of those baby bjorn little potties to keep outside the bathroom. That way if one of the littles needs to pee while someone else is going to the bathroom(or reading, lol), they could just pee in the little potty and you could empty it when the bathroom is available. You could even get a hook to hang it on so it wouldn’t get tripped over. Just a thought. 🙂

  5. Elizabeth says

    Thanks for the chuckle, I needed it after my 3hr effort to put my over one year old (that I still breastfeed) to sleep. Maybe they could use that as an episode… Nurse down, up she pops, nurse down, up she pops – very entertaining.

  6. That is so weird. I can’t believe it is considered extreme to breastfeed for over a year. I could maybe see how it would be seen as different if you were nursing your second grader before school everyday but I nursed my youngest till 3 1/2 and sometimes gave my oldest ebm in her sippy until she was almost 5.

  7. Thank you for this article. How sad it is if TV moguls choose to make a healthy behavior into a freakish expose. We have worked very hard to normalize this important behavior – for what purpose it is to destroy increasing confidence in breastfeeding? Who will be the winners? Who will profit? Not mothers and babies….

  8. Fantastic! My 8 month old daughter likes to stand on my thighs, bend over (bum in the air) and nurse. It looks comical.