Some dolls cry. Others pee. Most drink from bottles. But a new baby doll from Spain breastfeeds. It’s hard to find in US toy stores, however, in part because stores are afraid of alienating customers who think it’s “too sexual” for our children. Odd, because I fail to see how it’s sexual at all. Why shouldn’t little girls learn that when they become mommies, their breasts will have an amazing non-sexual function: making milk?
I can understand why so many adults don’t understand nature’s intention for breasts. Growing up, adults today rarely, if ever, witnessed breastfeeding; breasts were for attracting other adults, mainly the male-variety. Kind of like Barbie and Ken. Breast Milk Baby, in contrast, focuses on using breasts to feed babies. Play involves a girl nurturing, rather than luring.
Let’s look even closer at toys marketed to children who might play with a Breast Milk Baby:
Barbie: sports a body so generously curved it could never exist in real life.
BRATZ dolls: with high heels and revealing clothing, BRATZ wear an expression that can only be described as sultry.
Moxie Girlz: less extreme than BRATZ, the more “normal” Moxie doll is still a thin, flawless beauty queen.
Breast Milk Baby: the doll makes suckling sounds when it approaches sensors on a cute, non-revealing tank top worn by children “breastfeeding.”
Which toys teach girls to be sexual and which teach them about biology?
Sexualization aside, some might ask why you even need a Breast Milk Baby. Isn’t it just a gimmick?
I’d answer that kids love the gimmicks! My girls “breastfed” their baby dolls contentedly until someone left a baby bottle at our home. Instantly, their babies became bottle-fed babies, even with regular nudges to choose nursing over bottles. I am positive that if they’d had the option of a nursing baby doll, they would have delighted in it too, maybe more than the bottles.
But the reality is that bottles are still synonymous with baby-rearing. As many hospitals launch initiatives to better support breastfeeding, we as a society still have a long road ahead. Is one of the obstacles the (false?) association between breastfeeding and sex? By reminding us of the distinction, does Breast Milk Baby help empower not only breastfeeding mothers but girls and women in general?