*****WARNING: What you are about to read is an opinionated response to the recent announcement that a breastfeeding doll will be marketed and sold in the United States. If you are uncomfortable with the topic of breastfeeding, I urge you not to read any further as I will likely offend your sensitivities. I must also warn you that I am not in favor of this idea, so if you are not open to my opinion, you might want to find another blog post. I have now issued my disclaimer.*****
So last night while the man of the house was tearing down sheet rock and exposing the attic above the living room, I was browsing the internet. And I came across an article about a new doll that will soon be available in the U.S. This doll takes the idea of being life-like to a whole new level. Apparently the doll’s owner can put on a special garment and pretend to feed the baby just like mom does.
Well, not exactly like mom does. Where her nipples would be are two flowers, and when the doll is placed next to one of the flowers, it responds to the sensors inside and begins to make suckling noises.
Really? It’s bad enough we have babies that pee and poo. Now they are going to suck milk from our children’s non-existent breasts?
One argument that seeks to justify this idea is that breastfeeding is natural. Yes, in fact, it is a biological function of the female body. The adult female body. So is childbirth. Are we going to develop a doll that simulates that next?
On another note, just because something is natural does not mean that it is easy. It took me and my oldest three weeks to get the hang of this natural and beautiful thing called breastfeeding. (Will the doll come with nipple shields?)
Another argument says that it is perfectly natural for a child to imitate what the parent does. That’s how they learn to walk and talk and do other wonderful things like eat with utensils and tie their shoes.
Now, if only imitation extended to picking up after themselves…
So is it a big deal for a little girl to pretend to breastfeed her baby? Probably not. I am told that I did this while my mother nursed my younger sister. The problem I have here is that a company has decided to capitalize on this natural tendency. Somehow commercializing an intimate moment between mother, baby, and older child just seems wrong.
Of course, when it was my daughter’s turn to imitate Mommy feeding the baby, it was a different story. I pumped for every single feeding for months. This was part of having a preemie. She began on my milk from a feeding tube and graduated to a bottle. I never could get her to transfer to the breast, and I didn’t really want to. Doing so would have meant that I couldn’t easily monitor her intake. And with a baby that started out at under 3 pounds, this was much more important than doing it the “natural” way.
You may be asking if my daughter imitated me as I hooked myself up to the breast pump. Yes, in fact, she did. She found a couple of funnels from her play kitchen and hooked herself up as well. Then, we would sit there and watch cartoons until we were done.
So will the breastfeeding doll come with a pump? Will we teach our daughters how to clean the cups and store the excess? How to soothe the inevitable sore nipples? Or is this going too far?
I would say the whole idea of a breastfeeding doll is ludicrous. Why give them something that only encourages them to act more grown-up than they are? If a little girl wants to imitate mom, I say let her. I have no problem with this. It is natural. A doll that suckles? Not so much.
And flowers for nipples? Yikes!