Breastmilk baby doll: Innovative or creepy?
A toy company has released a baby doll that allows children as young as three to ‘breastfeed’. Is this toy educational or downright creepy? Mums weigh in here.
It’s the start of the Christmas season and toy companies are unveiling their new toy collections to coincide with the year end and Christmas shopping. One company launched a breast milk baby doll especially for little girls to play with this holiday season.
The doll, which is being touted as the ‘first breastfeeding baby’ by toy manufacturer Berjuan Toys, is sold in retail shops across Europe, the UK and the US and is priced just under S$120.
Mechanics of the breastmilk baby doll
According to the company’s website, the Breastmilk baby doll:
“simulates the breast-feeding process by including a fashionable halter-top that a young girl can put on like a vest and when she brings the Breast Milk Baby doll’s mouth up to the pretty flower decoration on the vest the doll makes a soft, suckling sound.
The two flowers on the halter are positioned where the nipples would be and when the mouth of the doll is brought close to the embedded sensors in the flower, the baby makes motions and suckling sounds.”
Yet the fact that the doll is made for children aged two and up begs the question of suitability. Is the notion of breastfeeding your own doll suitable for young girls who might have just been weaned off the breast themselves?
The Daily Mail has reported that more than a few moms have blasted the toy makers, Berjuan Toys and have gone on to label the toy as ‘weird’ and ‘gross’ while others felt that the toy was much too grown up for the targeted age group.
The website however has defended their position and says that the aim of the doll is to “let 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. Just put on the fashionable top included with each Breast Milk Baby, bring the baby’s mouth up to the pretty flower, and enjoy the closeness, the loving bond between mother and child.”
A natural feeling?
Despite the backlash and outcry over the sale of the doll, we need to perhaps look at the history of toys that we gravitated to when we were children. I remember playing with little baby dolls and ‘looking after’ them as if I was their Mummy. Even though the toys back them were not so advanced, my baby doll could still open and close his eyes and I could bring him out in my own little pram.
Looking at dolls such as ‘Baby All gone’, ‘My Baby Alive’ and ‘Little Mommy My very Real Baby Doll’, points to the fact that toy makers have already been manufacturing dolls that target the maternal instinct they feel is inherent in girls no matter their age. So it should not come as too much of a shock that a ‘Breast Milk Baby’ doll is a natural progression of this, especially since breastfeeding is gaining prominence and popularity as the preferred choice for Moms.
Feedback from local parents
Mdm Khamis, 28, a mother of one says, "I would not buy this for my child as I think that children should spend more time being children and not pretending to be Mummies and Daddies."
Mrs Ng, 57, a grandmother of one says, "I don't think I would buy this for my granddaughter as it would suggest that breastfeeding is the best way and only way to feed a baby. She herself was formula fed, so how do you think that would make her feel?"
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