Thursday, July 21, 2011

Controversy Over Teaching Breastfeeding

There is a new doll coming to the United States market which has sparked quite a controversy.  It is the Breast Milk Baby, and its purpose is to teach young girls how to breastfeed.  The girls wear the special shirt/top that comes with the doll.  It has flowers where nipples would be, and the baby doll makes noises when held up to the flowers.  From the website for the manufacturing company, the doll “lets young girls express their love and affection in the most natural way possible, just like mommy!”

This doll is produced in Spain and has been marketed with success all over Europe.  Now that the company is bringing it to the United States, there appears to be a controversy.  Should young girls be taught how to breastfeed?

I’ve been mulling over this question for a couple of days.  I guess I don’t have a problem with it.  While I realize that how and what you feed your baby is a personal choice (and there are many factors which influence the decision to bottle feed), the studies are clear that breastfeeding is best for the baby.

I haven’t done any deep research, but I can imagine that with teen and unexpected pregnancies, one reason that more mother’s do not choose to breastfeed is because they are not educated about it.  While it is a “natural instinct”, it isn’t exactly plain and easy to get the hang of with your first child.

Birth of Elaine Cristin HamiltonI struggled in the hospital with Elaine to learn how to hold her, how to get her to latch, and how long she should nurse on each side.  It took some work and effort, but we did it.  I nursed her for 14 months before she decided she was done.  Nolan latched immediately, easily, and hasn’t looked back!  The pediatrician was shocked that Nolan is breastfed because of how much weight he has gained – over two pounds in his short three week life.

Birth of Nolan Obadiah

I remember that I had been given a bottle sanitizer as a baby gift.  Knowing that I wanted to breastfeed, I returned it to the store for a more useful item.  The lady who processed my return was very opinionated about how I shouldn’t go through that pain to breastfeed when I could just use a bottle.  Perhaps that is the opinion of more women who don’t understand the benefits of breastfeeding, or that the pain goes away with the engorgement.

If we teach young girls now to breastfeed their babies, and give them a head start on learning how you breastfeed, then maybe more of them will stick with it when they become mothers.  That is my opinion.  But what do you think?  Leave a comment…share your thoughts.

th_BFBlogHop06If you are looking for more information about breastfeeding, you should contact your local chapter of the La Leche League, or visit Diary of a Devil Dog Wife.  Marah writes for a Breastfeeding Blog Hop each week, and her posts are chock full of researched information on various topics surrounding breastfeeding.

leftimgAnd if you are/want to breastfeed, be sure to come back tomorrow for a giveaway that will help…a Baby Bond nursing cover so you can feed your baby no matter where you are!


ErinHodge said...

I personally do not see a problem with it for a couple reasons. One, I think that currently breastfeeding is still looked at as gross and not appropriate in public and such. I currently am breastfeeding and just the other day at a restaurant my son got hungry and I had to go sit out in the car to feed him. I don't think that is right. Especially if you have a blanket over you and you cannot see anything. Maybe with these dolls people will just view it as a way to feed a child and nothing more.

Two, we have no problem giving little girls dolls that come with bottles. Isn't this a way of teaching young girls how to feed a baby? What is wrong with teaching them how to breatfeed since that is just another way to feed a child.

I don't know I guess I just do not see breastfeeding as inappropriate so I don't see how this doll would be a problem.


Unknown said...

My daughter has pretend-breastfed her dolls since the day we brought her little sister home. I don't see anything wrong with the doll (although I admit I wouldn't buy it when she can & does use any of her current dolls).

She also verbally encourages me ("My Mommy is feeding me sister! Good Job Mommy!") in public lol. I find it encouraging and refreshing to get that simple little encouragement from someone so innocent and apparently levelheaded :)

Anonymous said...

In my mind, this doll is no different than baby dolls sold with bottles. Critics have expressed concern that this will encourage teenage pregnancy. That seems unlikely given that the majority of teenage mothers don't breastfeed anyway. Should we take away baby dolls and bottles from little girls too to discourage teenage motherhood? Personally I think it's great to finally see a toy that encourages breast feeding, though personally I'll just let my daughter use her regular dolls and her imagination.

Laura D. said...

I look at it from my perspective with my children, and I would buy that doll for my daughter with no second thoughts. I can see how other parents would have a problem with the doll, due to the stigma that comes with breastfeeding (which is incorrect, but still there). But that is the great thing about purchased items, you have the choice to buy or not. I don't see why there is controversy about bringing this doll to the US. It is for purchase, not mandatory. For the parents and children that like the doll, it is available. And for those who do not want the doll, do not purchase it. Plain and simple.

Unknown said...

I don't have a problem with the dolls. First, we as a society see breastfeeding as gross. I think we should nurse our babies in front of their older siblings. We need to remember and teach others it's not just about our right to breastfeed, but it's about my daughter's right to eat. Secondly, if you have a problem with the toy, DON'T BUY IT.

Note: I don't plan on buying this doll, not because I see anything wrong with it, but because my daughter can use her other dolls and "nurse" them when she is older. I don't need to buy a special toy to promote breastfeeding.

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