It’s just a doll!
I see the breastfeeding doll has made the news again today for some reason. Have you heard about it? The Breastmilk Baby Doll – It’s a doll created by Spanish toymakers Berjuan that simulates breastfeeding. To play with the doll, the child wears a halter top that has two little daisies on it. When the doll cries, if the child lifts it to the daisies, a sensor in the doll senses the daisies and the doll makes a sucking action.
I first heard about this breastfeeding doll a year or two ago. As far as I can tell, the reason it is making the news again today is because the manufacturers are planning to sell it in the US. (Although I must admit I’m a bit confused by the press release, because I remember the same announcement being made back in March as well. Maybe the March release was just in online stores, and this release is in bricks-and-mortar stores – I’m not sure.) Anyway, The Breastmilk Baby doll is causing just as much fuss today as it did each of the previous times it made the news.
You know, when I first heard about the doll, my first reaction was “How strange”. But that was simply because I hadn’t thought about it before. I’d never considered the need for a doll that breastfeeds rather than bottlefeeds. But then I thought about the fact that almost every doll I had as a child came complete with a bottle, some of which even had fake milk in them that disappeared when you tilted the bottle.
The more I think about the message that we are sending to kids when every baby doll comes with its own bottle, the more I realise that it teaches them that babies should be fed using a bottle – that this is the NORMAL way to feed a baby. Our children learn to expect babies to be fed using a bottle, and grow into adults who expect the same.
So for this very reason, I am in favour of the breastfeeding doll. After all, why not? If we have no problem selling dolls to kids that promote artificial feeding, well why not sell dolls that promote natural feeding? Children learn through play – so why shouldn’t their toys teach them that there’s more than one way to feed a baby? Why not promote breastfeeding through play the way that we promote bottlefeeding?
And if you think that we don’t need to do more to promote breastfeeding as a natural choice, all you have to do is watch some of the reports or read some of the comments on the videos of the breastfeeding doll. All too quickly, you’ll notice a trend amongst the irate opponents of the doll. “Perverted,” they cry. “Sexualizing our young girls,” they exclaim. Seriously? It’s a doll promoting NATURAL feeding people – not “perverted” feeding.
What do you think? Is a breastfeeding doll a step too far?