Mamas, Start Your Girls Early With Breastfeeding Doll

Photo courtesy of breastmilkbaby.com

By Amy L. Hatch

Just in time for your holiday shopping, you can buy your child a doll that makes sucking sounds while she holds it up to her nipples.

Yes, parents, it’s never too early to indoctrinate your kids about breastfeeding! Yet another contender for the Most Inappropriate Toy Hall of Fame has arrived on the scene. For just $89 MSRP, the Breast Milk Baby doll simulates real breastfeeding using a bib your little girl can wear marked with strategically placed flower petals containing sensors that cue a sucking motion from the doll.

This toy has actually won awards. Awards!

Excuse me, I just threw up in my mouth a little.

No little girl needs a baby doll that specifically encourages her to playact something that should only take place well after puberty, and, if you live in my house, well after high school, college, career and life partner. Playing house is one thing, but playing “my breasts work now!” is another, especially when she doesn’t even have breasts yet.

Go ahead and tell me I live in a glass house, that’s OK, I’ll hand you some stones. But that’s my goal with my little girl—that she only consider having a kid once she’s mature enough to have one. “Practicing” for an activity that is, essentially, an outgrowth of sex is not something she needs to do at the moment.

We all know I’m not a fan of the holier-than-thou attitude about breastfeeding, and this doll is a perfect example of the craziness that surrounds the subject today. Why would anyone want to turn their kid into a walking billboard for the lactivist movement? If you want to explain breastfeeding to your child, do you really need a prop? Doesn’t a simple explanation suffice?

I’d love to talk to the genius behind this particular toy, that’s for sure. But then again, look at how we’re all gawking and talking about it (present company included). It’s a marketing dream!

Let’s talk about marketing for a minute. What kind of doll are we going to market just to boys? One that never needs a diaper change? We all got riled up earlier this year about a Huggies commercial that depicted dads as dolts who couldn’t take care of their own babies. Now we’ve got a doll to prove that only mommies can feed babies.

This is like shooting fish in a barrel, people.

I have a hard time believing that even women who do breastfeed would want this toy to show up under the Christmas tree. Would you give this toy to your kid?

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Comments

  1. Really? I don’t have that strong of an opinion against it. I mean we give our girls dolls and fake bottles to feed them with, strollers to put the dolls in (Keep in mind they don’t have a uterus that “works” yet ..to go along with the absence of breasts.) And I have definitely heard many, many stories about toddlers taking teddies or dolls and emulating their mother nursing their baby sibling and how “cute” this is. But I will give it to you- yes, its a bit odd.

  2. I agree with the previous commenter…..do we exclude baby dolls (because the real life babies that they are imitating come from a uterus) too? Would you actively discourage a child from “pretend nursing” on a regular doll that wasn’t specially marketed this way? Taking it a step further, should we ban wedding dresses as costume pieces for little girls? Should we actively discourage them from “playing wedding” (since it’s something that should theoretically take place way after puberty)? Those questions I think would lead to much more interesting and analytical discussions of appropriateness, gender themes and child’s play.

    I, too, think the doll is silly, but I disagree that the act of nursing should be shielded from children.

  3. I am currently nursing our two month baby daughter. Our 2 1/2 yr old son takes great interest in the whole “taking care of baby sister” process (ie helping with diaper changes, making sure she has a paci, alerting me when she’s crying). He also finds it fun to point out when he’s drinking milk from his Big Boy cup and sister is drinking milk from Mommy. The other day, he was playing with his Elmo doll and lifted his shirt up and put Elmo to his nipple amd said that Elmo is drinking milk too. It was cute and I was laughing when i tried to point out to him that only Mommys have milk. It didn’t sink in because he was nursing Elmo along side me this morning while I was feeding the baby. Any observant kid will immitate what they see….that’s the power of pretend play and imagination. You don’t need to waste money on a fancy suckling doll when just a regular doll will do.

  4. Excuse me, “inappropriate”? What is inappropriate about a breastfeeding doll? Sure, it might not be necessary, but neither is a potty training doll or Bratz dolls or whatever. Right on to all the commenters who don’t act like breastfeeding is something that must be kept private from children, as if it were something shameful or wrong.

  5. I wouldn’t spend that much money on any doll but agree with the comments above-why is pretending to breastfeed not ok?? My two older boys have pretended to breastfeed their babies I see nothing wrong with it. That is how babies are fed and they know it!

    Would you have a problem with a baby that ” drinks” from a bottle??

  6. I agree with the other posters here. My girls ‘breastfed’ their stuffed animals when they were little, and I was glad to see them comfortable with the idea. Just another part of the nurturing behaviors. However, I also get tired of the ultra-holy breastfeeding message at times, well-intentioned but gets a bit heavy-handed. And it can put added pressure on people who can’t make breastfeeding work for them. But that’s a separate issue.

  7. I am very pro-breastfeeding, but I don’t think this doll is really necessary. If children want to pretend to ‘nurse’ their dolls that’s fine, but do they really need a special doll to do it? I don’t think so.

  8. My daughter has it and to be honest, she was not all that impressed. The idea is great! Instead of all of the babies coming with bottles, this is maeketed toward the breastfed child. I don’t see why there’s anything wrong with that. Hopefully our next generation won’t be so offended by breastfeeding. As for it being inappropriate, I just don’t see how it differs from bottle feeding a doll. I wish I hadn’t spent all of that money b/c she’s not that interested but I think it was a cute idea.

  9. The first thing I thought was what a wonderful idea! Research shows that one of the biggest predictors of Breastfeeding success is having seen someone else Breastfeed successfully. The earlier the better, in my opinion. Plus most dolls come with bottles, so I agree with the poster above, why not one that breast feeds? I also don’t like the tenor of this post which another poster pointed out — why perpetuate the myth that breasts are only for pleasure? — breasts exist also to feed babies. It would do our society some good to get passed this so women don’t have to feel uncomfortable Breastfeeding wherever they need to rather than hiding at home because they are ashamed to be seen. Or because men might ogle their breasts. Research also shows that sex educated teenagers have less sex and use protection more appropriately so hiding things from kids until they are “older” doesn’t actually work. I’d buy this doll for sure!