August 10, 2009

Let's talk about that "breastfeeding doll."

Lisa Belkin writes about "Bebe Gloton," the doll that makes a sucky noise and mouth movement when placed next to plastic flower-shapes that are positioned at nipple level on a shirt to be worn by a little girl (or — I might add — boy):
Dr. Ronald Cohen, medical director for the Mother’s Milk Bank in San Jose as well as director of the intermediate intensive care nursery at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University, told ABC News, “My take is that anything which reminds young girls that their bodies are something other, and more, than sex objects, is a very good thing.” In the next sentence he added: “On the other hand, encouraging young girls to want to have babies at a very young age may not be so great.”
Don't all baby dolls do that?!

Here's video showing the doll — and The Today Show's Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford — in action:

I think it's pretty tame, actually. In any case, little girls (and boys!) who see their mothers breastfeeding younger siblings are likely to put their dolls up to their nipples and pretend to breastfeed. You don't need the additional technology to get that effect. My main objection to the doll is that it is annoying. I'd try not to buy kids toys that make irritating sounds. Leave more to the imagination.

And speaking of annoying sounds... Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford... yeesh!


Jennifer said...

I was beginning to think I was odd. I keep running in to people freaking out about this, and I just don't see what the big deal is. My son did exactly the same thing with random stuffed animals when I was nursing his younger sister - minus the annoying noise, of course.

Anonymous said...

I think this doll is pretty disgusting.
But people have different standards.
For example, I just ate an egg salad sandwich for lunch.
It was delicious. Yum!

Fr Martin Fox said...

I'm curious what the objection is, other than "I don't like it."

Sometimes people think breastfeeding is somehow indecent, something that children should be shielded from.
If that's the mindset, here, that's crazy.

traditionalguy said...

Perfect post for a great Breast Blog. This toy may help train up another generation of mammals willing to breed and raise up the next generation of mammals. No, that does not freak me out.

Ralph L said...

Let's encourage young girls (and boys) to have babies as soon as they can. No waiting 'til you're 38 to produce that one designer child. Mark Steyn would approve.

Donna B. said...

I'm not so sure a baby doll encourages girls to want to have a baby. It's play and like most play is imitating adult behavior.

At what age did you stop playing with dolls? Toy trucks?

Because I don't see a reason for outrage at this doll, I feel justified in rolling my eyes and not buying one for my grandchildren.

Bissage said...

The best thing about Bebe Gloton is the green poop.

While the doll does make some irritating sounds, you can put an end to that with a couple of good shakes.

Oh those clever Spaniards! What will they think of next?

KCFleming said...

Do any of these dolls come with front teeth? My son did. Yowp!

But I would gladly be outraged and horrified by the cultural implications of the breastfeeding baby for a small fee or an Amazon gift certificate. I promise to fume and rant and threaten the end of civilization for an extra 5-spot.

Were I a young boy, I would wonder if the doll could be rigged to gnaw through an electrical cord. That could be a fun experiment.


KCFleming said...

Playing with firecrackers never made me want to grow up and make cherry bombs or M80s.

Mostly 'cause I got caught and had to deny it, even to this day.

Synova said...

"While the doll does make some irritating sounds, you can put an end to that with a couple of good shakes."

Now that is just *wrong*.

(No, I did not LOL... at least you didn't hear me, so there!)

Synova said...

I've got no objection to the doll.

And the idea that dolls teach little girls to get pregnant early is... ugh... yes, if that's so then ALL dolls do it.

Which is stupid.

Because they don't.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'd try not to buy kids toys that make irritating sounds. Leave more to the imagination.

Yes! Thank you!

Daryl said...

So the doll doesn't actually bite and suck on their nipples?

. . .

Then what's the point?

Jenny said...

My daughter "nurses" her baby dolls and thankfully none of them make bizarre noises.

ricpic said...

Little girls don't have to be encouraged to play with dolls and mother them. It is not imitative behavior it is hard wired behavior.
Little boys have no reactions to dolls one way or the other.
Nothing that applies to little girls applies to little boys. They are different critters, all the progressive tripe to the contrary notwithstanding.

Kirk Parker said...

"I'd try not to buy kids toys that make irritating sounds."

I take it you don't do much toy shopping these days, because that requirement really limits your choices.

john said...

Do they make a larger version?


rhhardin said...

``When dusk falls, the little boys are restless under the urge to be several blocks away, playing Go, Sheepy, Go, but the little girls want to be home putting their dolls to bed. Usually at least one of the dolls is ill and needs contant attention.''

Thurber&White, _Is Sex Necessary?_, "What Every Wife Should Know"

Unknown said...

Would that the prudes kindly give things a rest. My daughter at three and four would pull up her shirt and breast feed her baby dolls. No one taught or showed her and no one thought jack about it. She's also wanted to be a mother/nurse/teacher literally all her life. She's a great two of three now.

GrannyClampett said...

Yeah, that noise would drive me nuts. How does Frank Gifford stand it?

Jason (the commenter) said...

It's weird because in a year Althouse will be nursing a baby.

rcocean said...

"Little boys have no reactions to dolls one way or the other."

Really? I used to steal my older sisters dolls and blow them up with firecrackers.

traditionalguy said...

rcocean...You were not raised muslim were you?

JAL said...

Well I left our 2 week old baby in the middle of the king sized bed for a few minutes once and came back in to see her 2 1/2 year old brother sitting on the bed with his shirt puled up and baby sister smooshed up against him. He announced: "I'm feeding the baby."

He called breasts "pluffers."

He didn't need no 'breastfeeding doll.'

Those were the days. Enjoy them, Freeman.

Anonymous said...

Producing breast milk is something women can do only after sexual maturity, sex, conception, and birth. So far, no dolls I know of let children mimic and practice those other important parts of growing up. Maybe that's why it strikes me as a little weird. It's one thing when kids come up with the idea themselves and make believe with one of their dolls; it's another thing when it is designed, created, marketed, promoted and purchased by adults.

chuchi said...

BEBE GLOTON is available on eBay and Amazon. These are the only places you can still get it as the manufacturer is sold out until February