Jul
27

2011

From Barbies to Breast Feeding?

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From Barbies to Breast Feeding?

Something just caught my eye on Twitter and I thought it needed an urgent response.

I’m referring to the ‘‘The Breast Milk Baby’, a doll brought out in the US by international company Berjuan Toys,
which has captured widespread media attention with its moral implications.

‘The Breast Milk Baby’ allow young girls to imitate mothers in a natural, caring way. Acting just like ‘mommy,‘ girls can learn natural nurturing skills required to take care of a baby. That entails changing, bathing, swaddling, singing, rocking to sleep, and cuddling. Not only that, controversially, The Breast Milk Baby simulates the breast-feeding process by including a fashionable halter-top that a young girl can put on like a vest and when she brings the Breast Milk Baby doll’s mouth up to the pretty flower decoration on the vest, the doll makes a soft, suckling sound.

(http://thebreastmilkbaby.com/304/berjuan-toys-brings-the-breast-milk-baby-doll-to-the-u-s-retailers/)

Now let’s look at this objectively. Should young girls be mimicking breast feeding? Is that appropriate behaviour in the eyes of today’s society? Personally I have fond memories of taking care of my own baby doll but I do
think this is taking it just a bit too far. Further in the article it states “Some critics say that the doll is
over-sexualizing young girls or forcing girls to grow up too quickly, but the company and those in support of the doll say that it teaches young girls natural motherhood.” For starters, breast feeding is not a sexual act nor
should it be seen as one and I feel that this misconception is an issues for breast feeding mothers, especially those who wish to do it in public.

However, I do agree that this is teaching young girls something that is natural and beautiful but is not something that they actually need to know the mechanics of at such a young age. In my opinion we should teach them about breast
feeding from an educational perspective and not have them unnaturally simulate such a natural, maternal and mature process.

Is this also encouraging girls to become mothers at an early age, possibly glorifying the experience of having a baby and breast feeding. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but this is an inaccurate representation of what many parents’ actually go through. Carers of this baby doll have the luxury of undisturbed sleep and the option to return her to the toy box when her novelty wears off.

Conspiracy theories abound; is this an educational tool or a ploy to convert more women to breast feeding? Have they taken it just a bit too far this time? Evidence to support that this is a subliminal marketing ploy can be easily sourced from the company’s own website which states “According to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, it was a national goal to have at least 75% of all mothers breastfeeding for at least six months by 2011. For Berjuan , the Breast Milk Baby helps to reach that goal by helping to accept and promote breastfeeding as the most loving, healthy practice for a mother and her infant.” It is clear from this statement that Berjuan have their
own motivations and that this not just a child’s toy but what is unclear is whether the public will allow them to proceed.

A harmless child’s doll or an unnecessarily and inappropriate form of children’s toys gone wrong. There were always controversy over Barbie and what messages she was sending young girls, thin, tanned, blonde and perky breast, but has this doll gone too far?

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