Sunday Morning Controversy

Controversial Doll Lets Little Girls Pretend to Breast-Feed

I just had to read this article. I don’t prefer toys that require batteries or make noises, and I don’t think my daughters need shirts with drop-down access, so I am not in the market for this sort of thing. My daughters have all been perfectly happy shoving stuffed animals up their shirts with no prompting from me. They just do what they see mommy doing. It’s perfectly natural.

But what strikes me in this article are the anti-crowd’s remarks.

“…parents around the world have criticized Berjuan, saying the idea of breast-feeding is too grown-up for young children — and may even promote early pregnancy.”

Breast-feeding – providing nourishment for an infant – is too grown-up a concept for little children? Ummm…???

Promotes early pregnancy? Maybe we should hide all babies from anyone under the age of 25 so that no little girl gets the idea that they are cute and would like one. Keeping in mind this is a Spanish manufacturer and knowing the unsustainably low birthrate in Europe, I guess it’s not so much a matter of hiding the babies…they just don’t have babies. It’s one way to combat teen pregnancy: discourage children in general.

Dr. Manny Alvarez, managing health editor of, said although he supports the idea of breast-feeding, he sees how his own daughter plays with dolls and wonders if Bebe Gloton might speed up maternal urges in the little girls who play it.

Heavens knows we don’t want little girls to have any maternal urges. Why do we even let stores sell those kitchens and dishes and pretend food? Why have we not banned or at least discouraged dolls in the first place? Toy stores should sell pink tools sets and pink hard hats and pink briefcases. None of this “mommy” stuff.

“Pregnancy has to entail maturity and understanding,” Alvarez said. “It’s like introducing sex education in first grade instead of seventh or eighth grade. Or, it could inadvertently lead little girls to become traumatized. You never know the effects this could have until she’s older.”

Is he suggesting we want our youth having sex in the seventh grade? If sex education in the 1st grade might correlate to sex at an early age, wouldn’t sex education in the seventh grade also correlate to sex at an early age? Really, can’t we all agree that 13 year olds should not be having sex? (I’m not promoting ignorance here, just saying that his argument is weak).

So, wouldn’t little girls pretending to breastfeed likely have the effect of them wanting to breastfeed their own real babies when they are older? Isn’t this a good thing?

Alvarez said breast-feeding reduces childhood infections, strengthens maternal bonding and increases the child’s immune system. But introducing breast-feeding to girls young enough to play with dolls seems inappropriate, he said.

Inappropriate? Truly this is a holdover attitude from someone who thinks women should excuse themselves to a private location to nurse their child.

“What’s next?” wrote Eric Ruhalter, a parenting columnist for New Jersey’s Star Ledger. “Bebe Sot — the doll who has a problem with a different kind of bottle, and loses his family, job and feelings of self-worth? Bebe Limp — the male doll who experiences erectile dysfunction? Bebe Cell Mate — a weak, unimposing doll that experiences all the indignation and humiliation of life in prison?

“Toy themes should be age appropriate. I think so anyway.”

Comparing breastfeeding to issues such as low self-esteem, sexual dysfunction and incarceration is ludicrous.

Again, a big chunk of the world seems to need reminding that breastfeeding is not about sex. Breasts were made for feeding a baby, not primarily as playtoys. It is sad that our culture is so warped and sex-obsessed. We have all the collective maturity of a bunch of high schoolers where everything has a double entendres.

There is nothing more age appropriate than a little girl imitating motherly activities: cooking, cleaning, nurturing babies. I’m happy that my daughters have all rocked, cradled and “breastfed” their dolls or teddy bears.

And I’m happy that they need to be taught what that bottle thingy is.

5 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Controversy

  1. Somebody brought this nursing doll up at a “mandatory fun” party we attended last night. I'd not heard of it, but since my daughter had dragged a realistic doll to the party (which everyone thought was cute) I countered, that I didn't have any issues with the girls pretending to nurse their dolls, since that's all they've ever seen me (and their Aunt) do. Of course I don't feel we need a doll that mimics actual nursing, pretend will do just fine. But after I mentioned that indeed, my youngest will pretend to nurse her baby and that I didn't think there was much wrong with that, the conversation ended.

  2. You know how the breastfeeding heretic feels about this. 🙂

    Great post. When my husband told me about what some of the “experts” were speculating about the harm this silly doll might cause, I just rolled my eyes. I'm glad you took the time to write about it.

  3. hee hee … to add to it, they shouldn't have dolls period … nor should they bottle feed … that might produce maternal instincts. Teenagers shouldn't babysit and boys shouldn't play with hammers until they are completely grown. 🙂

  4. So if these dolls bring out the little girls' maternal urges, exactly what kind of urges are brought out by the Bratz dolls (and such?)

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