What's the Big Deal with the Breast Milk Baby?
A Spanish breastfeeding baby doll is stirring up a bit of controversy in the parenting community.
The Breast Milk Baby, a toy by Berjuan Toys that has been a best-seller for a few years in Europe but previously unavailable in the United States, is a doll that is sold with a halter top. Children wear the halter like a vest over their normal clothes. On the halter are two flowers where the nipples would be, and when the baby is brought close to the nipple, it "latches" by making a suckling sound. After the baby feeds, it can be burped and put to sleep.
Media outlets from ABC to CBS to Fox have heard from many parents and adults who are uncomfortable with the doll, feeling that it sexualizes little girls and makes them grow up too soon. They do not want to see a child put emphasis on the breast. Apparently, many would prefer their children play make-believe with bottle-fed babies and leave nursing to the grown-ups.
One mom who opposes the doll, Ilina Ewen who authors the blog Dirt and Noise, told ABC News, "Let kids use their imagination and play with a doll and not deal with what it can do … There’s no need to turn it into something that’s anatomically correct. Not at this age."
Yes, stop the make-believe diaper changes, the feeding and the crying, all those things that real moms have to "deal with" what babies "can do." Let them make believe happy stroller walks and nap times instead; that's a much healthier view of parenting.
The halter top's nipples are in a pretty accurate location, but they are hardly anatomically correct. They are felt flowers sewn onto a cute flowery halter top. This is not the Robert De Niro man-boob from Meet the Fockers. The ever-popular Barbie doll is more anatomically correct than the t-shirt.
The negative attention has taken Berjuan Toys by surprise. Dennis Lewis, the U.S. Spokesman for the company, reportedly told the San Francisco Chronicle that "about 20% of the feedback has been hateful and mean."
Lewis doesn't see the doll as focusing on a child's breasts in a sexual manner. Rather, the doll is meant to teach a life skill and nurture the love between mother and child.Continued on the next page