Is it necessary to stress the importance of "the magic of motherhood" to childrenâ€¦through a doll?
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization that does not fear vocalizing the importance of breastfeeding a newborn baby, most especially during the first six months of life. Breastfeeding, it is widely known, is how a newborn gets the majority of its most essential nutrients and antibodies during the first six months of life, and further, breastfeeding is considered a monumental and unique bonding experience between mother and child.
But is it necessary to stress the importance of “the magic of motherhood” to children…through a doll?
The doll, Breast Milk Baby, is manufactured by Berjuan Toys, a Spanish company that has plans to begin marketing the toy in the United States. The doll has already garnered over $2 million in Europe after it was put on the market four years ago.
There are some breastfeeding advocacy groups which support the Breast Milk Baby wholeheartedly, but there are others who find the doll disturbing and inappropriate for such a young target audience.
There are six versions of the plushy bodied doll (“which is a joy to hug and squeeze”), all sold for the nice round price of $89.99. Each doll has a unique name, nationality, and cutesy baby outfit. One thing they all share, however, is their manufacturing. The doll functions by moving its arms and legs animatronically while producing suckling sounds when a sensor in its mouth nears a sensor that is worn on the child’s shirt.
As the website describes it:
“All Breast Milk Babies come with a special flowered halter top which activates the dolls suckling mechanism. When you bring the baby up to the flower ‘nipple’ its mouth moves and it makes a realistic suckling sounds.”
The website goes on to give realistic baby advice by concluding its advertisement with, “When you’re finished feeding Jessica, don’t forget to burp her so she can sleep comfortably!”
The aspect of this doll that seems to upset so many seems to be the fact that this is a toy. This is a child’s plaything. This is a robotic baby that is marketed to young girls under the age of ten, young children who, in all likelihood, have not even received “the talk,” and yet this doll is going to have them practice breastfeeding…does this seems a bit out of order?
Young children often mimic what they see, and if a little girl has recently witnessed mom breastfeeding a younger sibling, she may want to mime that with one of her own baby dolls, which is natural. This, however, is a doll that’s sole purpose is to “breastfeed” upon a young child. What could be the implications of inserting such an adult duty into a child’s mind?
As a young girl matures, her understanding of the world expands, and the implications of certain actions come with that expansion of knowledge. Does a child between the ages of four and nine years old possess the maturity and perception required in order to comprehend topics such as pregnancy and child rearing?
Could even the most intelligent and sensible child be able to absorb and rationally comprehend years worth of sexual education well before her time, all because a breastfeeding doll is given to her?
What do you think of the Breast Milk Baby? Would you be okay with your child playing with it?