Someone's always outraged in the Daily Mail, but for some reason I clicked the link, expecting to tsk tsk at the opinionated nonsense. To my horror, I actually partially agreed with the viewpoint. This alarmed me so much, that I had to spend quite some considerable time thinking about why I found this child's doll distasteful.
The Breast Milk Baby, manufactured by Berjuan has apparently upset many following it's launch in the US. It has been branded 'inappropriate', 'creepy' and 'disgusting', but why should I be uncomfortable about it?
I am pro-breastfeeding. I nursed my daughter for 12 months. I'm all for feeding in public. I want breastfeeding to be acceptable in all situations should a mother choose to nurse her child. I support extended breastfeeding if that's what a family wants to do. So why, oh why do I not like this toy?
Children learn by mimicking. I often see Ruby 'nursing' her dolls. Sometimes she will sit on teddy across another's lap, making one 'mummy' and one 'baby' having it's milk. That's normal. That's natural. Why would she need a specific toy to do this? If a child sees breastfeeding happening around them, have been breastfed themselves, then surely this will transfer to their role play with dolls anyway.
I think what I don't like it the little tabbard top that the child has to wear. This has flowers on the nipple area to indicate where the doll's mouth should be held. No, I'm sorry, but this doesn't sit right with me. Flowers? Why use flowers? For ages, they have been used as sexual symbolism - is that what wrangles me? Or is it the fact that when you actually look at this top, those flowers look oddly like little pasties that a stripper might wear?!
I don't like the language either. You can argue about the right and wrongs of teaching young children the correct anatomical names for parts of their bodies, but I don't like to see a little girl being told to 'offer the other breast'. Little girls don't have breasts. They don't develop until puberty.
And anyway, how will a guzzling, slurping doll really help a girl experience the magic of motherhood as the manufacturer claims? How will it teach them how to breastfeed? As I know only too well, you can learn all the technique you like, but in the end only you can figure it out for yourself.