I’ve always loved baby dolls and have had just about every one imaginable. As a child, I’d circle the ones I wanted in toy catalogs and submit the requests to my mother. Having the latest peeing, burping, talking, crying doll was a very serious matter. One year, there were no more Baby Sip & Slurps left in the city or anywhere nearby. My supermom called our cousin in Virginia to have her hunt down the doll and ship it to us in Georgia by Christmas. I’ve literally seen, held, fed and rocked them all—or so I thought.
Recently, while eavesdropping on two co-workers’ chatter about Christmas and toy shopping for their little ones, I overheard one of them mention a breastfeeding baby doll. “She’s either lying or doesn’t know what she’s talking about” was my initial reaction (in my head, of course, since I wasn’t part of the convo); so I decided to do what we all do when we want to know anything these days and Google it. I searched “breastfeeding doll” and sure enough, “The World’s First Breastfeeding Baby” popped up.
Weirded out and fascinated at the same time, I clicked the link. The Breast Milk Baby comes with a halter top for the “mother.” There are two flowers on the top placed where the nipples would be, and when you bring the doll’s mouth to the flowers, it makes motions and suckling sounds. A rush of thoughts raced through my mind, mostly confused and slightly uncomfortable at first. With each new generation growing up faster and faster, I wondered if this would trigger young girls to become infatuated with motherhood and later down the line perpetuate social ills like teen sex and pregnancy. I know; I tend to be an extremist at times. But seriously, the thought of my 5-year-old niece walking around the house breastfeeding her baby just didn’t sit well with me.
I also explored the idea that it could be a good thing. Breastfeeding is the most natural way for a mother to feed her child, but there has been negative stigma surrounding it for years. Somewhere along the way, we’ve been socialized into thinking that nursing, more so in public, is nasty and inappropriate.
I remember a few months ago when rumors circulated that Beyoncé was nursing Blue Ivy in public, the good ol’ World Wide Web went crazy in every sense of the word before the rumor could even be declared true or false. People were adding their unwanted two cents: some accused Bey of seeking attention, others speculated it was her way of proving she did in fact carry Blue and others immediately expressed their censure and said it was inconsiderate and tasteless to do such a thing in public. I remember first wondering why people were so worried about where Blue’s milk came from and second, how in the world we got to such a pathetic place where breastfeeding, whether at home or in public, was such a “thing.”
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That in mind, I thought maybe this Breast Milk Baby could be the beginning of reprogramming society’s mind on breastfeeding. When I informed my sister on it, her thoughts were similar in that she felt it would encourage young girls to grow into mature women who felt more comfortable nursing their children. She expressed that with all the benefits for both mother and child, it’s a shame that more women don’t nurse. She suggested that it may be because now you’re looked at like a foreign, diseased creature if you dare pull out your God-given bottles in public and feed your crying, hungry baby—even if you cover with a nursing towel.
I’m still not 100% sold on the idea, but I certainly am way more open to it now than I was when I first saw the little girl on the home page and in the video breastfeeding her precious little bundle of plastic joy. We sell dolls with bottles, so what’s the real difference? They’re both very viable options to feeding babies. Perhaps it could be the start of positive thinking, resulting in a new generation way more open and accepting of the most natural, beautiful and healthy mother and child exchange. Most change is uncomfortable, but it’s often what we need to develop and mature. This may just be the case with The Breast Milk Baby. It still kind of creeps me about a bit though.
What are your thoughts on The Breast Milk Baby? Share why you think it’s a good or bad idea below with us!
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