The Breastfeeding Doll

This article topic comes by way of Her Bad Mother, posting at the Bad Moms Club blog.

HBM writes about a doll (not sold in the U.S.) called Bebe Gloten. She’s much more articulate than I could be, so I urge you to read her original article. Anyway, this doll is electronic, not unlike many of the dolls in the U.S., and it comes with a halter for the child to wear. This halter shirt has two flowers over where the child’s nipples are, and the baby “nurses” from those flowers.

The Huffington Post made a snarky comment about said doll, basically saying girls shouldn’t play breastfeed unless they’re old enough to breastfeed and that this doll is inappropriate.

My first thought was that having a doll dedicated to being breastfed, one that sucked on FLOWERS, was kind of weird. It was the flowers that got me, I don’t know why (maybe the idea of a breastfeeding prop?). But then I realized a breastfeeding baby doll is no more weird than the baby dolls that come with bottles: that is to say, not weird at all.

Children play pretend based on what they know. It’s natural for children who observe their mothers breastfeeding to play breastfeed their “babies”, just as children who see their parents “wearing” their babies may also want to wear their dolls, or children who go grocery shopping want to have a little play cart of their own. Playing pretend is how children learn about their world. In fact, my mother told me last night how I “breastfed” all of my dolls when I was little.

I do NOT disparage women who formula feed. I do myself. But I believe that women should be afforded every opportunity to breastfeed by receiving correct information and support so that they feel the choice to breastfeed is more open to them. And it frustrates me that people would find a doll that breastfeeds to be inappropriate or sexual, because breastfeeding is neither of those. Why not encourage girls from a young age that breastfeeding is great and normal? I doubt that bottle “feeding” a doll discourages girls from breastfeeding later in life, but my hypothesis is that girls who “breastfeed” their dolls are more likely to breastfeed, or at least attempt to breastfeed, when they have their own children.

So no, I won’t have an issue if Menininho nurses dolls (it’s not just girls who play pretend, after all!).

I’ll be proud.


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13 responses to “The Breastfeeding Doll

  1. Kristi

    It’s appalling that people would be offended by such a doll. You’re right, children mimic what they see whether it be baby wearing, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, etc. Why people would discourage children from pretend breastfeeding their dolls is beyond me.

  2. lol, what a funny sounding doll, but you’re right that our society and health care system isn’t very breastfeeding friendly. I almost feel like people think I’m weird because I still breastfeed my baby. I try not to do it while we’re in public, because it’s just easier to do it at home, but if I HAVE to feed her while I’m out doing errands, I have a cover, and people just look at me weird. People that think breastfeeding your child is sexual and inappropriate should do more research into why breastfeeding is so important, especially for immunity. My daughter (knock on wood) has only had one minor head cold right after she was born, but I think it was due to the hospital or because she was getting fluids out of her body still, and has been near people that have had the flu, and possibly even the swine flu.

    I would like to promote the benefits of breastfeeding as well. Where can you buy that doll?? I just might have to feature your blog post on my site as well and find out a little more about this doll. Even though I’ve tried to supplement, my little one just won’t have any part of it, and I hope to cherish these moments for as long as she is willing.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • I talked to Her Bad Mother, and she thinks the doll can be purchased online if you search for it.

      And you’re doing a great job! Keep at it! My son only ever had the sniffles once too, and I attribute that to him breastfeeding. 🙂

  3. CJ

    I completely agree with you….BUT, I don’t think little girls NEED a doll with flowers as nipples. I’ve seen a ton of kids mimic breastfeeding by lifting up their shirts and shoving their dolls’ heads under there.

    Kids don’t need this doll to imitate their moms. After all, breastfeeding is the “natural” choice…meaning “no props needed.”

  4. I saw that on Huffington Post also and thought, “Oh, now even more people will feel validated in thinking that breastfeeding is somehow sexual.” Weird doll but it’s better than nothing! 🙂

  5. Here is a comment I left about it on another site in Auguest:
    I am torn. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with it, but I also don’t think it is really necessary. My only problem with it is the little shirt that the girls put on to make it work. The only reason I don’t like that is that is makes it less natural. Most parents of breastfeeding babies that have older siblings will tell you that their older ones end up breastfeeding their “regular” dolls anyways. And from what I have heard and seen, this doll doesn’t do much but make awful cries and noises. I think it is a GREAT concept, but could be better executed. Having a way for it to suckle without the little girl needing to wear a contraption, having the baby make more pleasant noises too, etc. The best thing about this though is that it recognizes that little girls see breastfeeding as natural and it teaches little girls what breasts are for, BEFORE they become completely sexualized! Can you imagine what would happen to the breastfeeding rates if this happened more?
    Many women that are turned off from bfing are because they can’t get past breasts as sexual objects. And that is what causes the outrage regarding women nursing in public. People forget that we were DESIGNED to breastfeed, God made us this way, and Jesus was nursed! So, anything like this helps create a dialogue (no matter how ridiculous some of it is) and demands people see it. So, for that, it is wonderful!!!

  6. When I first saw the doll I thought that the halter thingy was weird (because, as someone said above, why is it needed?) but on further reflection, I thought, why not? It’s only weird because we’re weird about boobs, and if there can be dolls that pee and make goo-goo noises and spit up and stuff? Why not a doll that actually, you know, suckles?

    Thanks for continuing this discussion!

  7. I’m with you on the flowers. The flowers are weird. My daughter ‘breastfeeds’ her dolls because we are a breastfeeding family, and she just mimics me and lifts her shirt. No special halter, or for that matter special doll with batteries and sounds, required. I like the idea of a pro-breastfeeding doll, but I wouldn’t buy this one, to be honest.

  8. Oh the things they come out with. I wasn’t much into dolls when I was younger, so I”m not sure what to think about this one.

    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!! Here’s my Sharefest link to my Follow Me post:

  9. Huh. That’s really interesting. I personally think it’s great – if little girls play at breastfeeding, maybe it’ll seem less scary when they grow up. And lord knows, attitudes could be better about breastfeeding in this world.

  10. I agree…little girls should be able to play with that doll without people thinking it is inappropriate! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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