A little girl may have only stopped nursing a few years ago herself, but that’s no reason she can’t play mama to a Breast Milk Baby, right? The $89 doll by Berjuan Toys shows girls — and yes, this doll is by default for girls — how to nurture their babies by breastfeeding from their, um, breasts. To nurse their dolls, little girls put on a “magic top” with a flower stickers over the breasts, pull their baby’s mouth up to the flowers, and watch as the doll starts to “suckle and swallow.” The press release trills:
“The Breast Milk Baby lets young girls express their love and affection in the most natural way possible, just like mommy. The Breast Milk Baby represents a revolution in design by teaching children the nurturing skills they’ll need to raise their own healthy babies.”
Berjuan Toys cites the many benefits of nursing and claims they are encouraging future generations of breastfeeders by gettin’ ‘em while they’re young. I’m more inclined to think breastfeeding will be encouraged when our society is more welcoming to those who do it in public. Nursing moms have to contend with a society that sees boobs primarily as sexyfuntimes for men and hassles mommies who nurse everywhere from McDonald’s to the Smithsonian, and supports stripping away their IRS tax deductions for breast pumps.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the breastfeeding doll, per se; it just may be a bit too complex of a subject for a child who still watches “Dora The Explorer” and occasionally wets her pants. I would never discourage kiddies from either gender from playing with dolls and learning nurturing behavior. But breastfeeding seems like a bizarre activity to promote among little girls who don’t even have proper “breasts” yet. Why their own nipples don’t produce milk could be a tricky topic to wrap their heads around.
Mommies should be able to breastfeed their babies in public, on demand and without apology. Alas, I cannot say the same, though, for five-year-old girls.