There's a new doll on store shelves that's stirring up some controversy among parents. No, it's not a Hannah Montana figurine or a scantily clad Bratz doll. The doll that's got so many parents in an uproar is the bebé Glotón from Spanish toymaker Berjuan — the doll that little girls can actually breastfeed.
Well, not actually, of course. The doll comes with a pink-and-green halter that kids can strap to their chests. The halter has flowers in the place of nipples and when the child presses the doll’s mouth against the fake nipple, the doll makes a sucking sound. It's this pretend breastfeeding that has many parents crying foul.
One commenter on South Florida's Moms & Dads page had the following to say:
"The big deal is that children don't need to be introduced to the concept of breastfeeding and the how-to methods. What is this method saying to little girls? Strive for motherhoood and start planning now? What happened to our little girls enjoying their child hoods, playing hopscotch and jumprope?"
But I fail to see how a doll that breastfeeds is any different from a doll that bottle feeds — not to mention the dolls that poop, pee or cry. Girls (and boys) love to pretend. More often than not, they like to pretend to do the things that their moms and dads are doing. When I was breastfeeding my youngest daughter, my elder daughter (then 3 years old) would quite often hold her own baby doll to her chest to feed her. Did this pretend play somehow thrust her too soon into maturity? I highly doubt it. Certainly no more so than watching movies about evil stepmothers or building block towers and watching them crash down.
So would I have bought the bebé Glotón for my own daughter? Probably not, simply because my daughter did just fine pretending to breastfeed using nothing more than a baby doll and her imagination. She didn't need a halter top with pink and green flowers on it to show her how it's done. But I do think the doll is a step in the right direction in a society that claims to promote breastfeeding as the optimal choice for babies but then turns its nose up at mothers who actually try to breastfeed their babies outside of a locked closet. Actually, the only real problem I have with the bebé Glotón is its name, which in Spanish means gluttonous baby. Certainly wouldn't have been my first choice for a doll name!
What do you think? Thumbs up or down for the bebé Glotón?
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