Toys that Play Themselves
Have you heard about The Breast Milk Baby doll yet?
When I heard about it, I snorted a bit.
Not because of that whole ridiculous “sexualizing of children” concern. I’ll write a post on that later.
Not because I have any reservations about kids, girls and boys, practicing breast-feeding. While I believe that each woman has the right to choose how to feed their infant, I give particular encouragement and practical support any and all woman I know who choose to breastfeed.
Why particular support to these women? Because getting started with breastfeeding is more complicated than bottle feeding. It just is. Moreover, these new mothers were mostly bottle-fed as babies, meaning that their mothers can’t offer practical support or advice.
In fact, too many offer discouragement, old wives tales, rumours, and just plain old bad advice. My mother-in-law, who was very supportive of me and my ways, kept offering to give my newborn baby a bottle “to give you a rest”. That’s fine when the baby’s a couple of months old, but it is NOT fine in the first month, when the milk supply is being established. She honestly thought she was being helpful, though, and it was hard to turn her down without feeling ungracious. I did turn her down, and we both thought I was being ungracious. Sigh. But the breast-feeding went REALLY WELL, thanks!!!
Thus breastfeeding mothers have a few more hurdles to overcome at the start — though once everything’s established, it is SO MUCH more convenient than bottle-feeding!
I breastfed my three children for over a year each, and I loved it. Because they saw their siblings breast-fed, my older two “nursed” their dollies. My daughter AND my son. All small children who see younger siblings being nursed will nurse their bolls. ALL of them.
One day, little Adam, then about three years old, sat on the couch with his sister’s beloved Cabbage Patch Baby (known to the children as “Baby Cabbage”) shoved under his shirt, its head nestled well into Adam’s armpit. His daddy entered the room.
“I’m feeding my baby!” Adam announced, very proud.
Dad gives a wry grin. “You’re in for a BIG disappointment, son,” was his only comment, and as children do when adults say inexplicable things, Adam ignored him. A moment or two later, he yoinked baby out, flipped it over his shoulder, burped it, and then shoved it into the other armpit. Because kids, they copy what they see.
And that’s the thing that makes me snort. Both Adam and Haley nursed their dollies. Their rag dolls, their plastic dolls. The most expensive was that Cabbage Patch baby, a Christmas gift from grandparents.
This nursing doll retails for about a hundred dollars. We need to spend a hundred dollars on a doll that will make sucking noises and burp, when a $25 rag doll will do the job just as well, without the internal mechanism? Heck, a plastic baby from the Dollar Store will do the trick. But no, we must purchase an expensive doll (complete with a very silly two-flower bra thingy) so that the doll will make the noises that any child is perfectly capable of imagining?
I’ve always been leery of toys equipped with technology to do what a child’s imagination does just as well. Spend more money on a toy which attempts to replace a child’s imagination?
So, no. I won’t be buying the Breast Milk Baby doll. Which is a shame, because I’d like to, you see. I’d like to support the company which has been so beleaguered by legions of silly, squeamish prudes who kicked up such a fuss about it. I’d like to stick it in the eye of the sex-obsessed prudes, I really would. Too bad I have all these inexpensive (some even home-made!) rag dollies which do the job just as well for so much less.