This article is worth reading for the comments!
“Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse August 12, 2009 02:42 PM
When I first heard about this doll, I wasn’t sure what to think. On the one hand: I’m definitely pro-breastfeeding, this doll does emphasize that nursing is about nourishment, not sexuality, and there are tons of dolls out there that come with bottles, so what’s the difference? On the other hand: When I was nursing my youngest child, my then-2-year-old daughter didn’t need a specialized doll in order to mimic what I was doing — a stuffed animal and her imagination were enough.
The breastfeeding doll, called “Bebe Gloton,” is stirring up debate, with some people calling it creepy and other saying that it would encourage sexual activity or promote teenage pregnancy.
Which makes me wonder: Why are we OK with our little kids playing with highly sexualized Barbie and Bratz dolls, but not this?
Here’s the run down, for those of you who haven’t heard or read about the doll already: Made by Spanish toy company Berjuan, “Bebe Gloton” was created in order to promote breastfeeding as healthy and natural. Right now, it’s only available in Spain, but the company says it plans to market it in the U.S. next year. To play with the doll, the child wears a sports-bra like halter with two flowers over the nipple areas. When the child lifts the doll to a flower, the doll — triggered by sensors in the flower — moves its mouth and sounds like its nursing. (Of course there’s a video, which I found via Thingamababy, but be warned: it’s in Spanish, and you have to sit through a commercial before you can view it.)
And, in writing this, I’ve realized: It’s not the doll that makes me squirm. And it’s definitely not the idea of a child pretending to breastfeed a toy that makes me squirm. It’s the halter top. It’s the idea of a little girl strapping on fake breasts so she can go take care of her doll.
That said, I’d probably be more likely to let my daughter play with this than a mall-and-makeup focused Bratz doll. But as far as dolls and breastfeeding go, I think all kids really need is a desire to nurture — and a little imagination.
Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at email@example.com.
9 comments so far…
The oldest 2 of my 3 had no trouble emulating me breastfeeding. They were creative about it to…putting balls in their shirts for breasts and so forth. Kids emulated baby care in all its forms is great. However, I have an issue with the fact that the doll leaves nothing to the imagination. Actually, Bratz really don’t leave much to the imagination either. My theory is give them the basics and let them make up the rest.
Posted by tracy August 12, 09 04:36 PM
No frieken way!!!!!
Posted by Not perfect but I know better August 12, 09 05:24 PM
My SON used to “nurse” his stuffed animals while I breastfed his little sister. It’s completely natural for kids to mimic this part of baby care. It’s also great for kids to view breastfeeding as normal and not be squeamish about seeing it (or doing it themselves when they have children). The only thing offensive about this toy is that it is another example of the toy not leaving any room for a child to use her imagination. Lylah is right that kids are perfectly happy using their dolls or stuffed animals, no batteries (or fake breasts) required. It’s nice that there is a toy that incorporates breastfeeding into dollcare, but cynical me thinks the company is just trying to make a buck off a new angle.
Posted by ArlingtonMa August 12, 09 05:46 PM
I wouldn’t buy it either, my girls had no problem nursing their toys with their own imagination. Having said that will some ever be happy? Complaining about a toy meant to promote nursing? If you don’t like it, don’t buy it!
Posted by Mom August 12, 09 08:24 PM
I agree that there are a lot of toys out there that do too much for the kids. But I guess if you can buy a Baby Alive doll to bottle feed it someone is going to want a similar doll one can breastfeed. Personally, I would skip both and just go for something cuddly.
Posted by BMS August 12, 09 09:38 PM
Definitely more bothered by the halter top with flower nipples. Imagine your child walking down the street with this on after leaving her doll in the house. Regular dolls are enough. They’ll play the way they want.
Posted by lala August 12, 09 10:25 PM
I just think it’s weird. I don’t have girls but I would NOT purchase this product if I had a girl. A little girl does not need to know what it feels like to nurse a baby. Meet a kid where she’s at. Let her use her own imagination.
Posted by Fullamoon August 13, 09 12:38 AM
I agree with most comments. Children can use their imaginations and “nurse” a teddy or dolly without any specialized equipment. What’s next? A “my first breast pump” toy so little girls can pretend to be working mommies who express milk?
Posted by Maki August 13, 09 08:03 AM
How screwed up is our society that we consider simulated feeding of a baby creepy, yet we’ll gladly load up on the fake guns and missiles for the boys and the Slutz, er, Bratz dolls for the girls?
I agree about kids using their imagination and this toy not being strictly necessary, since the kids will act it out anyway. But our society seems to be OK with kids getting bucket-loads of gore and violence on TV and in the movies, but somebody shows a breast and it’s the downfall of society. No wonder things are so screwed up.
Posted by K August 13, 09 08:42 AM