"If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the begining of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation or love and trust."
Suzanne Arms

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ditch the bottle, breastfeed your baby . . . doll that is.

If you had the choice would you buy your child a doll that had a bottle or a doll that was designed to nurse?

Well hello . . . no question there (for me at least). I want the nursing doll!!

I understand that bottles are sometimes needed. You have a nursing mother who goes back to work and has to pump, or that instance where a mother has to supplement because she doesn’t make enough milk (it is pretty rare, but it does happen). Hey, you know, I teach my kids what I want them to know and stress things that are important, and when it comes to them and their dolls . . . well lets just say that I have done my fair share of hiding the plastic baby bottles that so many baby dolls come with, LOL!!

I have always tried to avoid bottles if possible, both for my babies (I have never used a bottle) or for my kids and their dolls. Xian didn’t even know what one was and at age 3 we were walking through the store and he pointed at one and asked “what is that?”. I had to explain to him that some babies don’t get ‘nuk’ (what we call nursing) they get a bottle instead (sometimes it is breastmilk, sometimes formula). And if we are out and they ever hear a baby cry, you can bet the first thing out of their mouths will be “that baby needs ‘nuk’. We want them to know it is a good and natural thing. We also try to promote breastfeeding to our friends and family and anyone else who will listen. We (lactivists like myself) want to make it seem normal and natural, to encourage nursing in public so that people in this country will be come more accustomed to seeing it and maybe realize that duh . . . breasts are for nursing, nurturing and comforting our children. What a wonderful thing that God created!!

Anyway, my reason for this post is because in Spain, they have developed a baby doll for children that nurses. No bottles or pacis etc. The kids actually nurse this baby. It is called Bebe Gloton. I would explain it to you but here, just watch the news clip, you can get a better idea if you actually see it.

When I first saw this I thought . . . it’s about time!! I think it is wonderful!! I mean why haven’t they done this sooner? What is more normal and natural than nursing right? And why shouldn’t our kids have the option of a baby doll that nurses? OK so the flowers may be a bit cheesy, but I assume they work to trigger a response in the doll. But I just can’t understand why are people so bothered by this. Just search around You Tube to see other various news reports, most of them are very negative. I mean what I am seeing in some of these people is shock and embarrassment. They almost seem disgusted and the whole concept seems to make some people very uncomfortable. People are saying it is “inappropriate”, “it is too adult for a child”, or “what is next dolls that have sex?” What the heck? I just want to yell at the TV . . . GROW UP PEOPLE!!! Hello . . . it is a doll, it is teaching kids about breastfeeding and WHY on earth is that too adult of a topic for them? Why do these people think feeding babies is PG-13? Why can't they see through the nursing shirt and realize that this is NOT a sexual thing. If it were then how is this any worse than a little girl playing with her overly endowed Barbie doll?

I can understand people thinking it is a little strange or odd, I mean it is the first doll of it’s kind and most people are probably not used to seeing children pretend to nurse. But nursing is often a natural act for them and something they will initiate on their own with their dolls if that is what they know. Most of my kids haven’t been too into dolls, but Ever loves them and he will happily nurse his babies, which is precious. And I know many, many people whose little girls nurse their baby dolls. Why? Because it is what they know, it is what they see mama doing, it is normal and natural to them and there is nothing wrong with that. Why would we shelter them from something that they view as innocent and normal? There is no reason for them to view it any other way. They learn from us, and if they see us acting disturbed or horrified at the prospect of a nursing doll, or see us refusing to buy it for whatever reason, then what on earth are they going to think about nursing in general?

Ever nursing his baby doll in the bed, much the way I often nurse him

Of course we know many of these things are cultural. No wonder Spain was the first to come out with a doll like this. In other countries they have signs up in the subways showing mothers nursing promoting breastfeeding. Here we are bombarded with formula ads and commercials at every turn . . . after all . . . they are enriched with DHA and AHA and contain Bifidus BL, just like mamas milk (make sure you read that last line with sarcasm). But still, compared to other cultures we nurse our babies very little. According to Anthropologist Katherine Dettwyler PhD http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detwean.html

"It is true that there are still many societies in the world where children are routinely breastfed until the age of four or five years or older, and even in the United States, some children are nursed for this long and longer. In societies where children are allowed to nurse "as long as they want" they usually self-wean, with no arguments or emotional trauma, between 3 and 4 years of age"

We have come a long way since our mothers were told that formula was better than breastmilk. There are wonderful groups like LLL that promote breastfeeding and we are getting much better with hospitals employing IBCLC’s and many striving to become Baby Friendly. And shoot, the AAP recommends nursing for a year or longer. But apparently we still have a LONG way to go if people are so freaked out over a durn breastfeeding baby doll!!

Geez, it seems like we NEED this doll in our country. Who knows, maybe if our daughters are breastfeeding their dolls then they will have a more positive, natural view of breastfeeding when they have their own children. I am doing my part in my own home. I believe in child led weaning, and believe my kids get many benefits from nursing until they wean themselves, both mentally and physically. Piper nursed till she was 5, Xian till 4 ½, Arah till 4 yrs 8mo and I am nursing 2 right now! GASP . . . THUD (that is the sound of jaws dropping, I am sure) Yes, freakish isn’t it? LOL!! Let alone the fact that I have been nursing for almost 9 yrs straight, tandem nursing for 7 yrs straight and have nursed 3 kids for a total of a year of my life. Oh the horror!! Yes I have nursed 2 kids to sleep for bed and for naps EVERY DAY for the last 7 yrs and I am still sane!! But guess what folks, that is natural too, and if I was living somewhere else or even in another time no one would think a thing of it!!

At our house, breastfeeding (be it breastfeeding a baby or pretending to nurse a doll) is as normal and as common as making yourself a sandwich and sitting down to lunch. And if you were to have lunch at our house, chances are I’ll be sitting across the table from you . . . nursing my baby!!


  1. One of my best friends read this, and she shared it on her blog... just thought I would share!
    Isn’t it interesting that the part of the world producing the most pornography and exporting it to the rest of the globe has seemed to lose all sense of the true meaning of the human breast? What a commentary on the sad state of our sexually wounded culture! Breasts have been so “pornified” that we can fall into thinking that even their proper use is shameful. In other words, we have been so conditioned to see a woman’s body through the prism of lust that we find it very difficult to recognize the purity and innocence of breast-feeding.

  2. Wow, that pretty much sums it up perfectly!!! And what bothered me the most were the comments by news people who seem so 'normal' and 'rational' otherwise (well some of them, LOL). I was just shocked to see them viewing this as a bad thing. I just simply cannot relate to that way of thinking (though like I said, they would probably think I was a freak, LOL)
    Oh and I found your friends blog and actually left a comment about her amber post (thought it was ironic because I have been playing around with baltic amber recently).

  3. Hey! thanks for the comment on my blog, Amber Really is the best! if you wantI can send you out a free necklace to try, if you want, email me at rach[dot]fly[at]gmail[dot]com

    Sounds like we see eye to eye on so many things!

  4. I adored this post. The doll is wonderful and I too have seen children pretending to breast-feed their baby dolls. It is such a nurturing, caring and natural thing to see.

    I applaud you in the remarkable job you do in caring for your children and helping other people have the confidence to follow what is normal and natural in extended breast-feeding and child-led weaning. I live in New Zealand and though breast-feeding is well accepted and many mother's feel comfortable to do so in public, only a small percentage are able, or feel comfortable, with extended breast-feeding. I did with my first child, till she self-weaned at two, saying the milk had changed (I was 20 week's pregnant). My second child is 3 and a half and still happily breast-feeds at night and occasionally in the morning - though I am 14 week's pregnant so we shall see what happens! No one knows she still breast-feeds and I feel sad that I should feel embarrassed about this.

    Anyway, keep up the great work! Thanks for a brilliant read.


  5. Sarah, been meaning to pop back on here and encourage you (and say congrats on your pregnancy!!). You know there have been numerous times that I have been in a group of people and they have mentioned extended nursing with negative comments . . . obviously they didn't know me, LOL!! I always cheerfully pop in with the "I'm nursing my 4 yr old, my 2 yr old and I am pregnant" LOL!! (well, that is what I said when I was at dinner with some old friends and I WAS pregnant, LOL). Dh has even done the same thing at work. Their face is priceless, and they are usually really embarrassed. But then they start asking me questions and it helps to clear up misconceptions people have about us 'extended' nursers. And they probably still think I am a freak but ya know what . . . who cares, LOL!!

    Take pride in the fact that you are listening to and respecting your daughters needs. What you are giving her is priceless in it's physical and emotional benefits!! Kudos to you!!

  6. I actually saw the doll on a post on diaperswappers.com before. It does seem different, only because most dolls come with bottles. It certainly isn't disgusting!

    I wish more moms breastfed! It's sad how our culture pushes formula. I do find it a little ironic that in the formula literature, they compare themselves to and strive to be like breastmilk. It really isn't that hard to figure out that babies were meant to get breastmilk!

    Sad too how many doctors make breastfeeding feel inadequate. Ours pushed vitamin supplements, and starting baby cereal early.

    I know it's natural, but koodos for tandem breastfeeding! The logistics of the idea kinda scares me, but am certainly open to it whenever #2 comes along.

  7. When I saw this, I was super happy! I want it sooo bad! Growing up, I didnt have a clue what breastfeeding was until I was 6 months pregnant. Because all my baby dolls bottle fed probably and I didn't know any women who breastfed



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