While I personally wouldn't buy a doll such as this for my child, I understand the appeal of it to parents wishing to encourage little children to think of breastfeeding as the normal way of feeding a child. That's not my beef. My beef is with other people's reactions to this doll.
Here's a quote from one article I read: "Although many health care providers promote the benefits of breast-feeding, parents around the world have criticized Berjuan, saying the idea of breast-feeding is too grown-up for young children -- and may even promote early pregnancy."
Um... no. Because we've been promoting bottle feeding of babies for years and years. If you were to use that argument, you'd have to use all types of care taking of baby dolls as promoting early pregnancy. Breastfeeding is just another way to FEED a BABY. That argument really just doesn't make any sense, unless you are promoting the idea of taking away all baby dolls completely. Then children would go back to using corncob dolls like Laura Ingalls and nursing those instead of baby dolls! I personally breastfed all of my baby dolls and I gave birth for the first time at age 26 after nearly 4 years of marriage. Perhaps in some cultuers that is an early pregnancy, but I was one of the later ones in my group of friends to begin having children, so I don't think so!
Another quote from the same article:
Dr. Manny Alvarez, managing health editor of FOXNews.com, said although he supports the idea of breast-feeding, he sees how his own daughter plays with dolls and wonders if Bebe Gloton might speed up maternal urges in the little girls who play it.
“Pregnancy has to entail maturity and understanding,” Alvarez said. “It’s like introducing sex education in first grade instead of seventh or eighth grade. Or, it could inadvertently lead little girls to become traumatized. You never know the effects this could have until she’s older.”
Seriously, I just want to knock some sense into this guy right about now. Honestly. Traumatized? By mimicking how a baby is fed? I really don't know how pregnancy comes to play in this argument. Many little girls pretend to be mothers, and are pretending to be their biological mothers. They'll stuff dolls down their shirts and "give birth" to them on their beds. So somehow, breastfeeding a doll will speed up maternal urges more than pretending to be a doll's biological mother? How, exactly, will it do that?
But seriously. Traumatized? By pretending to breastfeed their doll? Really?
Oh, for heaven's sake. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life. Little girls like baby dolls. What's wrong with having a nursing baby doll? I've often wished for a baby doll to come with a little pretend breastpump instead of a bottle so my girls could pretend to pump like mommy does sometimes. Because it is something that some little girls are interested in playing with, and would like to pretend to be a real mommy. How is a breastfeeding doll not age appropriate? Little girls see their mothers, aunts and other females in their lives breastfeeding their babies. They want to be just like them. Therefore, a doll company is filling a niche.
“What’s next?” wrote Eric Ruhalter, a parenting columnist for New Jersey’s Star Ledger. “Bebe Sot — the doll who has a problem with a different kind of bottle, and loses his family, job and feelings of self-worth? Bebe Limp — the male doll who experiences erectile dysfunction? Bebe Cell Mate — a weak, unimposing doll that experiences all the indignation and humiliation of life in prison?
"Toy themes should be age appropriate. I think so anyway.”
But the worst of all is comments from people who think that little girls breastfeeding their dolls are disturbing or inappropriate.
Comments from an online publication asking for opinions about this doll:
"This is sick!!! Why not go ahead and show young children how to use a condom. I have 4 children of my own, aren't we supposed to protect our children from knowing things like this? Wait until they are old enough, then let them in on things. This doll is taking it way too far!"
"...However, if my sweet, innocent daughter came to me and wanted this doll; I would be mortified. Why don't I just tell her about sex and how babies are created why I am @ it? There are just some things that need to be learned later in life. Breastfeeding is something she will learn about in Sex Ed."
"Yes this Breast Feeding doll is going to far, I can't believe someone would come up with this!!!!! Whoever thought up something sucking on little girls non grown boobs yet is sick and you need help."
Seriously, my head is going to explode any second now. And this is just scratching the surface of what I've heard about this doll. People calling the sight of seeing a little child pretending to breastfeed a doll "disturbing," or "creepy." Seriously, people! It's a CHILD mimicing a loving act between a mother and a baby! All children should know about breastfeeding, and how it is the NORMAL way for a child to eat, and doesn't need to be hidden from view. It is not a shameful act. Why are we treating it as such? If more people saw breastfeeding on a regular basis, it wouldn't be such a big deal, and we wouldn't freak out about a silly little doll that breastfeeds. And, we'd probably have higher breastfeeding rates, too. Which isn't a bad thing! In fact, breastfeeding rates are abysmally low in our country, so anything to help little girls start thinking of breastfeeding as the normal way to feed a baby will be beneficial in the long run.
With no further adieu, the disturbing and/or creepy photos I took of my daughter tandem nursing her "twin" babies the other day.
Isn't that disturbing? She's pretending to be a mommy! Of twins! That's just WROOOONG!