Women everywhere are very familiar with those cute little plastic human models we call dolls. They have all had at least one and most likely several throughout their childhoods. The tradition of dolls dates all the way back to the ancient Egyptians where they were used in magic and religious rituals and their use as children’s toys goes back nearly two thousand years. Today dolls are a major money making industry with Barbie and Brats leading the pack.
Now, I personally don’t have much experience with dolls except for the living ones that is, (yeah right) unless you count all the little green army men I used to play with, but they weren’t really dolls, they were action figures.I never had a doll of my own, nor did I want one. A GI Joe might have been cool, but they didn’t come out until I was already twelve. I did have a younger sister though who as a child had all kinds of dolls. I must confess I did have a lot of fun playing with her dolls, yeah I used to love being the bothersome big brother, hiding them from her, taking them away and taunting her with them or simply pulling off their arms legs and heads! She would scream, I would laugh, oh those were fun time!
So anyway I’m browsing Amazon Tuesday night looking at doll’s for my granddaughters when I came upon this little jewel, the “Bebe Gloton Breastfeeding Doll.” That’s right, you read correctly, a breastfeeding doll! It’s an educational doll designed to mimic the act of breastfeeding. The idea is to educate and familiarize children with the process of breastfeeding so hopefully when they grow up they are more inclined to choose breastfeeding instead of the bottle. The dolls came out a few months ago and believe me have caused quite a stir.
See it for yourself : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqYoZVroBZs&feature=player_embedded#!
The doll comes with a cute little halter top, type vest that the child wears when nursing the doll. Each side has a daisy style flower approximately where the nipples would be or will be some day. The doll will cry to signify hunger and the child cradles the doll to her daisy nipples. The doll then makes suckling sounds as if nursing. Following feeding the doll, like a real baby must be burped and emits a satisfied burping sound. Crazy huh? Now every little girl in America can learn the joys of breastfeeding while playing dollies with their friends, and a real bargain at $118 plus $7.49 shipping. How special!
Realistic dolls are nothing new. There have been an incredible number of dolls that laugh, cry, move their arms around. etc. As well as some that perform more specific lifelike functions like the “Betsie Wetsy” doll whose special feature was urinating after a fluid was poured from a small baby bottle into her open mouth, she would wet and need to be changed. And how about the “Chatty Cathy” talking doll from the early sixties. You pull the chatty tab on her back and she would talk, saying things like “I love you,” “Let’s play school” and several other short phrases.
Then there’s the “Baby First Step” doll that walked and rocked in place and the “Baby’s First Tooth Doll” that actually grows teeth! And my all time favorite, the “Baby Alive Whoopsie Doo” doll ! Just feed her a bottle of liquid and when she’s finished eating she actually poops and you get to change her messy diaper. And now there’s the “Breastfeeding” doll which pales in comparison to a doll that shits! What’s next? There aren’t many more bodily functions left to simulate. Maybe the “Baby Upchuck” doll or the “Barfy Babs”doll? How about the “Menstruating Mary”or “PMS Pamela” doll! Hell, why not?
All kidding aside I just can’t wrap my mind around the idea of little girls breastfeeding dolls. I understand the reasoning behind the product, still I’m not sure if I would have let my daughter have one. I know that breastfeeding helps to strengthen the immune system preventing lots of illnesses, and that only a tiny fraction of the population breastfeed their babies, still the idea of young children mimicking the act of breastfeeding with a realistic doll bothers me. I know children who have watched their mother breastfeed more then likely imitate the act with their dollies and that’s okay, but to actually have a doll that recreates the realistic sucking sounds and motions is a little too weird for me. Not to mention the funky little halter top with the flowery nipples!
Breastfeeding is a choice. And when the time comes a new mother will decide what is best for her and her child. I don’t like the idea of young girls growing up believing that breastfeeding is the right way or the only way to care for an infant and something every mother must do.
Not breastfeeding doesn’t make you a bad mother, but this doll may send that kind of message and may cause some future mothers to look down on mom’s who choose not to breastfeed. I’m really not sure about the real value of this doll. It may be that the “Breastfeeding Baby” doll may actually be quite harmless, but even so, I think it’s totally unnecessary.
So I’ll continue doll shopping knowing that my granddaughter’s won’t be getting this particular doll anytime soon unless of course, their mom and dad want to buy it for them!
Just a thought…