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Why the Breastfeeding Doll...Sucks

Why the Breastfeeding Doll...Sucks

Who came up with the screwball idea for the new breastfeeding doll, which gives little girls and boys the opportunity to mimic nursing?

Answer: Berjuan Toys, LLC., a Spanish toymaker that has marketed the European version of the doll (Bebe Gloton) since 2009 and has just released an American version called The Breast Milk Baby.

The doll comes with a halter top that your child straps on. The halter has little flowers representing nipples that rest on your child's chest. The child then places the doll's mouth to one of the flowers...and the doll makes suckling noises.


The makers promote the doll as a way to teach young girls the value of breastfeeding at any early age. For me this begs a question: What's happening to childhood?

Let me first get something off my chest: I believe that if a mother is able to nurse, breast is best, and I breastfed my son. But I was 29 and 30 years old, not 6, 7, or 8.

Proponents of the doll say that little girls already can play with dolls that cry, poop and pee, just like a real baby would. There are even dolls that can be bottle fed. Why not something that represents yet another facet of motherhood?

My answer is pretty simple. Crying, pooping and peeing are all things we as human beings do from the very beginning of our lives. They are all inevitable facts of life. It is not guaranteed that a little girl will grow up to breastfeed a baby. And it is not entirely appropriate to expect that a little girl, who is far from even having breasts, can process the lesson that breastfeeding is valuable. She has many more gains in physical and mental maturity to accomplish before this can be internalized. Let me explain with some examples.

If we follow the logic the toymaker is using to promote the doll, that it prepares girls for womanhood and motherhood, then perhaps they should create an entire series teaching girls how to grow up. How about a doll that teaches girls all about the gynecologist's cold, nasty medical tools and stirrups? Or a doll teaching them how to insert a tampon? Better yet, create a doll that teaches a little girl how to put a condom on her partner, or to insert an IUD? And we most definitely need a doll that teaches a girl how to kick an overly-aggressive date in the groin.

Sound crazy? To me it doesn't sound any nuttier than paying $89 for a doll that sucks on a flower.

Good grief, kids don't even need a specialized doll to play at breastfeeding. It happens all the time, especially when there is a younger sibling still nursing. But I don't know of any parent that would take a doll and then encourage their child to play in such fashion. When it happens naturally and the child has a question, then parents answer. Why push them into it?

I do applaud the toy maker's stand that nursing is a skill that should be taught and valued in our society. But this happens anyway — and more powerfully — when a nursing mother explains to her older, curious children that they, too were fed in this manner when they were babies.

Nursing isn't something we should hide. It's something we should support and celebrate. And it should be taught by example, not by misguided immersion.

Image Source: byhoyt via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Join The Conversation
StephanieHayden30068 StephanieHayden30068 4 years
the problem with the doll is giving the girls BOOBS at 2-3-4-5, seriously let them just pretend, my girls did, they thought it was their belly button.
StephanieHayden30068 StephanieHayden30068 4 years
i agree with the writer... I'm all for breastfeeding... I think the doll is creepy!
candicebeck candicebeck 5 years
My kid makes me nurse everything. Even plushie Cthulu, so we don't need a special doll. She "nurses" toys too. It's what kids see that they learn. So if they see YOU nurse they will get that it's the normal thing to do. We don't buy dolls with bottles either.
BernadetteMackie BernadetteMackie 5 years
not to mention that women don't strap on a special top that they feed the baby from!
BernadetteMackie BernadetteMackie 5 years
yes, because obviously a doll that sucks on flowers where the nipples should be gives little girls a realistic view on what it means to breastfeed! My little girl hasn't even shown any interest in mimicking me feeding her younger brother (and in any case, that can be done with any doll, using her real nipples) and if I gave her a doll that encouraged her to do it, I think I'd then be worried that she'd think it ok to poke flowers into his mouth! It is going to be hard enough to make sure she realises she can't give him anything too small, but if she thinks it's ok to feed a baby by putting flowers in his mouth, then we'll have all sorts of trouble!
CoMMember13631119220804 CoMMember13631119220804 5 years
AGREE!! Woot woot to breast feeding! High five to all moms who are able to nurse there babies to health! ♥
threenorns threenorns 6 years
the only thing i have a problem with the price - i wouldn't pay $89 for a doll, period. as for the rest of the article, get off your high horse - i think it's appalling that bottles are standard equipment with babies. i think it's appalling that i had to correct another mother at the day care when she took the doll that my daughter, then 2 and a bit, was "nursing" from her and showed her how to use a bottle "properly". thank goodness i was there because she got a sharp piece of my mind!
SallyBackhaus SallyBackhaus 6 years
My daughter nursed ordinary dolls (and expected me to nurse them too--they like sharing). This is just part of the trend that children aren't supossed to ply with their toys anymore. They are expected to sit and watch the toys play.
BrandyShear BrandyShear 6 years
My daughter pretended her babies were breast feeding when I breast fed my youngest. She had bottles for her babies but because Mommy was breast feeding she was too. The doll is fine by me, but children don't always remember their dolls its what we teach them when they have children that matter. Breast is best but in the working world its not always possible
GladysG GladysG 6 years
I think the whole idea of them making a breastfeeding baby is just STUPID. I know one thing for certain my girls WON'T be playing with that doll.
BrandyCox52996 BrandyCox52996 6 years
I think it is terrible! Why are we traning children to be mommies so young and then get shocked when they r having babies at 15! If my little girl wants a doll fine, but she is not gonna be breastfeeding n e time soon!
TinaMcGAnn99123 TinaMcGAnn99123 6 years
What is wrong with the pepole in this world, whats next there going to show new borns and toddlers how to have sex
ElizabethMcConnell ElizabethMcConnell 6 years
I believe that breastfeeding a normal biological practice that is for the nourishment of our children. I also believe that the sexualisation of the female form specifically breasts has made breastfeeding seen as something that should be done in private lest anyone catch a glimps of the breast. Children play at being adult all the time, they are emulating their parents and family friends. We do not encourage the emulating of sexual acts as this would be damaging to the child and most children know very little about this. Since breastfeeding is in no way a sexual act there is absolutely no reason for children to be dissuaded from emulating it. It is normal and I see no reason for this doll to not be on the market if that is what this child would like to play with.
SandraLawson SandraLawson 6 years
Nursing a baby is a great thing, but not for a child. A while back the makers of Barbie were told to take the Barbie that was pregnant off the shevles. Because it gave girls the wrong idea. Now toy makers want to put this doll out. They are stupid and should not be allowed!
VioletMathis VioletMathis 6 years
My daughter already tries to nurse her baby when I nurse her baby sister. Values are set by parents. Not a crazy doll that can have a reversed effect. There is always something for us to spend money on to better our lives. What did they so on the past without all these gadgets. Lost I guess. Intresting how my parents gave us values.
ReneeBrown7592 ReneeBrown7592 6 years
this is so sick and wrong .and whoever buys their child this is wrong...a 5 yr old has no need to walk around pretending to breastfeed let them be kids.
NicolaMorgan24186 NicolaMorgan24186 6 years
but in today's world this is the example! No longer are our young people taught by the ones around them by experience. I reluctantly think this doll is a good thing. Working with people who have been recommended to me by social services before the baby is born I have come to realise that some girls/ladies have no idea of the concept of breastfeeding and think that bottle is the only way... I have been looking for something like this for my own little girl. She was upset that there was no toy for breastfeeding only bottle feeding. She will have this doll very shortly...
MandyRandolph MandyRandolph 6 years
Everyone needs to take a little sensitive moment for the hundreds of thousands of women who have adopted a child and cannot breastfeed. Adopted children have enough to face in life and to those of you who may not understand that though breastfeeding is natural, my daughter is the only child in the nursery who was not breastfed because I couldn't do it. I love my child and gave her the very best formula in a BOTTLE that was possible.
ErinBrophy ErinBrophy 6 years
I think we all should be appalled by things that really matter. Thousands of innocent children dying, AIDS, damaging and life altering earth quakes. If you don't like the doll don't buy it. We live in a capitalistic society.I won't buy it but not because of any feelings on breast feeding but because I would rather spend my money where it counts.
AshleyStarker AshleyStarker 6 years
Not an awful or screwball idea, but I wouldnt get one. I don't think there is anything wrong with a child mimicking breastfeeding. I would rather have my girls do that than use the bottles dolls come with. I mean, if they shouldnt mimick breastfeeding cuz they may not grow up to breastfeed, then they shouldnt mimick bottle feeding cuz they may not grow up to bottle feed right? I just let my girls use their imagination. I nurse my girls, so when my youngest was born, my oldest would "breastfeed her dolls" and it was so cute. But, they do have dolls that come with bottles and they both now sometimes use the bottles, not a big deal. But, no on the apron with flower boobs, but I dont think a child learning what breastfeeding is and how to mimic it is bad or inappropriate in anyway. Nor would I think it crazy to see a child use the breastfeeding doll thingy, though personally its not for me.
CoMMember13629039830976 CoMMember13629039830976 6 years
My best friend breast feed all four of her children. As preschoolers, her two oldest girls breast feed their baby dolls because that's what they saw mom doing. It was just a natural thing for them to do. I being an older single gal at the time freaked. But ,looking back, how wonderful to see little girls mimicking mommy.
SarahDudra SarahDudra 6 years
I would rather tell my child about nursing than having a doll...I do not want my daughter to think having a baby should happen right away and that nursing is is tough for some moms and although I liked breastfeeding...I will not say "breast is the only way" I would rather teach my child that being a good mom is more important.
AubreyGillin AubreyGillin 6 years
What's the big deal? It's ok to teach them that babies are fed with bottles rather than breastfed? I grew up seeing other women and my mother breastfeed, so it was only natural that I chose to breast feed my 3 children. I personally wouldn't buy the doll because my children mimicked it anyway. But why is it not appalling to us to see them play with a bottle? Because society has normalized the bottle and not the breast.
JamieSteinkeHolen JamieSteinkeHolen 6 years
Now that the gov. pushes breastfeeding and the medical field pushes breastfeeding, perhaps this is a way to help make it "normal" instead of sexualized, to make it more widely accepted starting at the very beginning, childhood. I am not really for or against the doll, but I applaud the effort the toy company is making. Anything that makes breastfeeding (especially in public) easier for the mother is awesome .. in all honesty though, my kids nurse their stuffed animals, even my little son, because they see me do it. You don't need a doll and a bra with flowers, they do it anyway. Still, it is not "awful" or "gross", those statements are just proof of the bias that breastfeeding women still contend with in the real world.
CoMMember13630966360652 CoMMember13630966360652 6 years
with all of the sexual perverts out there today why would you give your child one more thing to attrcts these nasty minded people their attention? I would not by this for my daughter. She will get to the point of wanting to know about life and I will speak with her. I do not need her attempting to nurse a doll and some perv get intised by it. This is absolutely not acceptable!
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