One of the best things about buying gifts for the younger members in our clan is they’re relatively painless to shop for. Get the kids a toy, perhaps some spending money, or a cool new electronic gaming gadget, and you’re good.
Dolls are a mainstay in the gifting world for children, with many options: Barbies and interactive ones that coo and talk back are popular picks. But would you buy your grand-daughter or niece a doll that gets breastfed?
The Breast Milk Baby is a new doll on the market that makes suckling sounds when prompted by sensors sewn into a halter top. When the doll’s mouth comes into contact with the nipple area of the little child wearing the top, it makes a sound imitating a baby being breastfed.
This new doll, made by family-owned doll maker Berjuan Toys in Spain, has had success in Europe but is suffering from weak sales in the U.S. after coming on to the market last year, and selling less than 5,000 units. It has also caused a lot of controversy within the states.
From Bill O’Reilly to Ilina Ewen, a blogger and writer for Deep South Moms, there are some who think the doll is inappropriate.
I thought it was a joke” said Ewen. “Let kids use their imagination and play with a doll and not deal with what it can do… There’s no need to turn it into something that’s anatomically correct. Not at this age.”
Others, including Dennis Lewis, the U.S. rep for Berjuan Toys, don’t understand the criticism.
Lewis told Seattlepi.com: “We’ve had a lot of support from lots of breastfeeding organizations, lots of mothers, lots of educators. There also has been a lot of blowback from people who maybe haven’t thought [..] about really why the doll is there and what its purpose is. [They] either have problems with breastfeeding in general, or they see it as something sexual. You mention breast and people automatically start thinking Janet Jackson or wardrobe malfunctions and all sorts of things that have absolutely nothing to do with breastfeeding.”
Dr. Ronal Cohen, medical director of the Mothers’ Milk Bank in San Jose, Calif. and director of the intermediate intensive care nursery at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University takes the middle road:
“My take is that anything which reminds young girls that their bodies are something other, and more, than sex objects, is a very good thing. On the other hand, encouraging young girls to want to have babies at a very young age may not be so great,” said Cohen.
The doll normally sells for $89, but is currently listed at half price on the company’s website for the holidays.
What is your take? Do you think it’s the doll is progressive and totally appropriate for your kids? Or do you think it falls in the “too much, too soon” category? Sound off below!