My dear friend Karlin sent me the link to this article earlier this week. The article talks about the new "Breast feeding doll". For those of you who do not want to follow the link and read the article, the jest is that there is a new doll for breast feeding. The girl (or boy I suppose) puts on a halter top type thing that has two flowers where the breasts would be. When the doll is brought near the flowers, sensors inside the doll make the doll mimic breast feeding. Here are my thoughts...
I understand the importance of encouraging and normalizing breast feeding in our society. I completely encourage people to breast feed, for goodness sakes, I breast fed MacKenzie for two weeks shy of a year and would have continued longer if Keegan hadn't needed me to stop. I also understand that it is important and good for some girls to be able to mimic their Mom's behavior in caring for a child when playing with their dolls. However, by no means do I find it necessary to encourage a child to wear a clothing item that will cause the doll to mimic breast feeding. I know of numerous kids who "nurse" their babies by holding them close to their chest or by lifting their shirt even. I find this behavior appropriate, I find the doll unnecessary.
I have beef with a bit of what the article said. Some opponents of the doll feels that this doll continues the hypersexualization (is that a real word? you know what I mean regardless) of children (especially girls) in our society. My counter argument to that is, since when is breast feeding a sexual behavior. Yes, I realize that the breast can be a part of sexual behavior, however, breast feeding itself is not sexual. It is nurturing. It is loving. It is life growing. But it is not sexual. In fact, it can be painful, messy, difficult, and tiring. Nobody breast feeds in order to be sexy. I am sure even my husband does not look at me breast feeding our children and think to himself...Wow...that is hot. I am sure he likes seeing me breast feed because it shows how much I am physically (and emotionally) giving to our children. Our society needs to stop treating breast feeding like it is something sexual just because it involves boobs. I cover to make myself and others more comfortable, but if someone accidentally catches a glimpse of me nursing my child then I am not going to stress about it. If the situation warranted and I didn't have my cover, I would, by all means breast feed "in the open" and wouldn't worry about someone seeing me...again...it is about nourishing my child, not about showing off the girls.
The article also cites a critic who feels that this will lead to more girls wanting to get pregnant earlier. How exactly does a doll that "breast feeds" make a girl want to get pregnant anymore that one that does not? A doll is a doll, regardless of it's "abilities" and the extra addition of suckling will not lead to a rise in teenage pregnancies.
In short...do I find this doll creepy? Yes. But not because of a girl using it to mimic breast feeding, but because it is an unnecessary feature built into the doll! Would I discourage my girls from nursing their dolls (of the regular, non flower sensor variety)? No. But I will encourage them to make sure the baby is latched on properly and given correct support!!!