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Breast-Feeding Doll: A Good Thing for Kids, or Bad?

The toy's been well-received in Europe, but some American parents are squeamish about their daughters imitating mothers so realistically.

Little girls have always loved to pretend to play "mommy" to pretend babies. When it comes to baby dolls, the more lifelike the better, right?

As children, we adored our faux infants, especially the ones who could crawl, bawl, go potty and drink from that mysterious magic draining milk bottle. When Chatty Cathy appeared on the scene and could talk, she became a must-have toy.

But how much realism is too much? Some would say Spanish manufacturer Berjun Toys has pushed the boundaries just a little too far with its Breast Milk Baby, the world’s first nursing doll. Marketed to toddlers, the $89 doll comes with a halter bra decked out with posies right where nipples would be.

If you bought Breast Milk Baby across the pond, where she's named Bebe Gloton, you'd get a doll that emits suckling noises when it moves close to the posie buds.

Why not, asks La Leche League, an international organization that promotes breast feeding. It’s a good thing for little girls to role play healthy mothering behavior. The doll helps girls “express their love and affection in the most natural way possible, by simulating natural nursing,” according to information on thebreasemilkbaby.com.

Apparently, Breast Milk Baby got a much cooler reception in the United States than in Europe. Many American parents see its interactive capacity as a wonderful natural function but one best done by adult women in private, not by little girls playing in their bedrooms.

Some child experts say the negative reaction reflects American attitudes about nursing in general: It's a great thing as long as no one sees or talks about it.

Do you think Breast Milk Baby is a useful tool to teach healthy mothering skills? Or is it inherently somewhat obscene, introducing adult themes to children who are far too young to understand them? Is breast feeding sexual in nature? Would you buy this doll for your daughter? Does the idea make you uncomfortable?

Julie Ferenzi July 27, 2011 at 02:15 PM
Kids are comfortable with what they learn and are familiar with as children. I think it's a great way to teach children how babies were meant to be fed. Maybe the next generation won't think of nursing their babies as taboo. We have condom and erectile pharmaceutical commercials on the radio or t.v, but somehow this offends many in the general public... there is something wrong in America today.
Lori Janiec July 27, 2011 at 02:21 PM
I saw this on WGN news a few days ago. I am a little on the fence with this doll.

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