Christine Park

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Are you ready for the breastfeeding baby doll?

You may have heard about this doll by now... so much controversy has been swirling around the Breast Milk Baby already... the breastfeeding doll whose suckling sounds are prompted by sensors sewn into a halter top that little girls wear.

Well now... it's 50% off... down from $89 to $44.50 just in time for the holiday season.

I first heard about it back in March when we here at Action News ran this story. And when the toy hit store shelves here in the U.S... the outcry was immediate. "I just want the kids to be kids," Bill O'Reilly said on his Fox News show when he learned of the Breast Milk Baby. "And this kind of stuff. We don't need this."

But in this Huffington Post article, Dennis Lewis, the U.S. representative for Berjuan Toys, the family-owned, 40-year-old doll maker in Spain says, "We've had a lot of support from lots of breastfeeding organizations, lots of mothers, lots of educators," and he can't understand why it's been so difficult to get the dolls onto mainstream shelves more than a year after introducing the line in this country.   As a mother of a little girl, I'm honestly not sure what to think. On one hand, I embraced breastfeeding with both of my children, and advocate it to any new mom who will listen. So a doll like this would encourage girls to grow up thinking breastfeeding is normal and natural. But I also feel like breastfeeding is an adult function of our bodies, and don't necessarily think it's age-appropriate for young girls to be imitating that behavior. Sure we think it's cute when our daughters "cook" in their play kitchens and "vaccuum" their rooms... and even "bottle-,feed" their babies... but for some reason, there's something a little disturbing about my 6-year-old "nursing" her doll.  
This reminds me of my daughter Sydney. One day, not too long after my son was born, I came home from work to find Sydney sticking out her chest and proclaiming she was, "Just like mommy!" My 3-year-old had inserted teacups into her shirt and called them "nipples" so she could feed her babies. I wanted to laugh, but she was so proud of herself. Obviously she had seen me breastfeeding her little brother, and like many little girls, wanted to imitate her mommy. Little did I know there was a doll that did just that. She's since outgrown the baby doll phase, but I'm still pondering... would any of you buy this doll for your daughter?

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