When Ruby was born, my older daughter, Jesse, was 3 years old. While I nursed Ruby, Jesse would often sit beside me on the couch and pretend to nurse her baby doll. Sometimes, she’d even pull up her shirt and nuzzle the baby against her chest. It was a sweet sight and I’m sure on some deep level, it helped her to bond with the new baby.
She used just a regular baby doll, but apparently, there’s a doll that is marketed as an actual breastfeeding doll. It’s called Bebe Gloton and it makes sucking noises as it nurses. The doll comes with a special halter top that looks a bit like a nursing bra and which allows girls to “breastfeed” their baby. According to the production description at Amazon.com, “this is the first breastfeeding doll ever created” and “the purpose of this doll is to create awareness of the importance of breastfeeding.”
Created by the Spanish toymaker Berjuan, the doll created some controversy when it was first introduced last year. Some critics felt it was inappropriate to teach young girls how to nurse — as if it would encourage early pregnancy! Even some breastfeeding “lactivists” felt it was unnecessary. Why buy a special doll for a child when their imagination will suffice?
Over at CoolestGadgets.com, Julie has some serious doubts about the doll. “The message is a good one, but my verdict is still out on its delivery method,” she writes. “I think I’ll wait till they have the Suzy Snotty Doll that screams its head off in the middle of the night and will wake my daughter up every hour… that should teach her something “real” and worthwhile. That and some temporary stretch mark tattoos…”
When she first heard word of the doll last year, Catherine Connors at Their Bad Mother raised a valid point. “Marketing dolls as nursing dolls is necessary, I would argue, because it counters the dominance of dollies-with-bottles. Children can pretend to breastfeed any old doll, but they don’t, and they don’t, arguably, because pretty much all of those dolls come with what are more or less express instructions to bottle feed this baby, dammit.”
But how do we know that when kids bottle feed their doll babies, they’re not bottle feeding with breast milk? Maybe we need a toy breast pump too!
Seriously – what do you think of the doll? Would you buy it for your daughter?
Here’s a video demo so you can see it for yourself.