Social Question

Jellie's avatar

Should little kids have dolls that can be breast fed? (details)

Asked by Jellie (6492points) August 4th, 2011

I read an article today on dolls that can be breast fed. The child wears a bib with flowers where the nipples should be. The child then brings the doll’s mouth to the flower which then moves its mouth and makes sucking sound.

I can’t think why it’s wrong. All I know is that it’s creepy and I wouldn’t allow my child that.

What are your thoughts and would you allow your child it?

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80 Answers

Jude's avatar

It wouldn’t bother me.

Blackberry's avatar

A little too soon lol. It’s like making a doll that teaches them sex moves: what’s the point of teaching that so early? But I’m not a parent so I wouldn’t know…...

tom_g's avatar

Why wouldn’t you let your child do that? Would you let her feed a doll a f*cking bottle?

Aethelwine's avatar

I see nothing wrong with it. There is nothing wrong with breastfeeding. It’s natural.

Exactly @tom_g! A plastic nipple is ok, but a real nipple isn’t?

Blackberry's avatar

@tom_g Well it makes more sense when you say it like that lol.

Jellie's avatar

I understand the concept of a doll that a child can take care of and push in a stroller because care giving comes naturally to kids too. But this is not something I have ever seen children want to do.

tom_g's avatar

@sarahhhhh: “But this is not something I have ever seen children want to do”

What? My daughter did this all the time with her dolls.

tom_g's avatar

NOTE/DISCLAIMER: This topic is a big deal for me, so I will try to keep it civil. Also, I’m surrounded and have been for 8+ years with breastfeeding. My wife is a lactation consultant, so I happen to know my shit.

tranquilsea's avatar

ug, this whole debate centres around the sexualization of women’s breasts. Their primary function is for the sustenance of babies.

I think it’s a great idea.

Aethelwine's avatar

I think if children were taught at a younger age that it is natural, we wouldn’t have so many people who get freaked out over an exposed nipple that is a feeding a child.

redfeather's avatar

It makes me giggle when I see a little kid shoving their dolly up their shirt to feed them like mama does. It’s kinda weird and I dunno about buying it for my kid, but eh.

Jellie's avatar

@tom_g no need not to be civil… it’s just a discussion. Also I’m not against breast feeding period.

@tranquilsea for me it’s not the sexualization at all… I just find it out of place.

tom_g's avatar

Let me rephrase the question: Since we know that not breastfeeding is associated with all kinds of health risks, should little kids have dolls that come with bottles? What if they came with fake cigarettes?

flutherother's avatar

Dolls are for pretending and acting out. They don’t need to be too real. They are for a child’s imagination.

redfeather's avatar

@tom_g are bottles associated with health risks?

tranquilsea's avatar

@sarahhhhh out of place how?

tom_g's avatar

@redfeather – Yes. And I’m not talking about the BPA stuff. I’m talking about not breastfeeding. The science is pretty clear that if you do not breastfeed your child you are putting them at risk for all kinds of problems. Same goes for the mother.

Usually, it’s phrased as “if you breastfeed, you get the following benefits to the mother and child”, but really the flipside is that you are exposing you and your kids to tons of health problems by not breastfeeding.

tom_g's avatar

Also, @redfeather – the types of health risks I’m talking about include higher rates of infection (lung and ear), higher obesity rates, higher diabetes rates, greater asthma risk, score lower on cognitive development tests, etc.
Also, breastfeeding mothers experience lower cancer rates, among other health benefits.

ucme's avatar

I’d have no problem at all with that, it’s just reflecting real life, a good thing when role playing I find.
When my daughter was little & into her dolls, little boy dolls with little boy tails were introduced, they could “pee” & shit…..stuff! I was amused at my daughters reaction, she would hurriedly put a nappy/diaper over the offending pee-pee snake. No harm was ever caused.

redfeather's avatar

@tom_g my kid never took to it and I hated it. I used a pump for two weeks then quit.

tom_g's avatar

@redfeather – We have a very breastfeeding unfriendly culture. There are many reasons – many political and financial. There is very little help available to first-time moms who are breastfeeding. Prior to formula, your child would still have been able to survive because there would have been the support there.

Jellie's avatar

I am all for breastfeeding, really am, I just think you can instill the idea at a later stage too.

It’s out of place because little girls DON’T have breasts and nipples.

Pandora's avatar

@sarahhhhh I know why you would think it creepy. The same way I would find it creepy to see an 11 year old still suckling at moms breast, I would find it creepy to see an 11 year old sucking on a dolls boob.
Plus I’m not so sure about what smaller children understand. I knew a 3 year old who was still being breastfed occasionally by his mom. Everytime he was being baby sat by a female he thought was cute, he would keep trying to put his hands down her chest because he wanted to suckle. It was very creepy because he only did it to the young pretty girls. He would even try with young female cousins who where 8 and 9. We would have to keep an eye on him whenever he was playing with his cousins. I’m sure he is not a perve or anything like that but I think it confused him. He is 6 and normal today. But at the time of his suckling phase, it certainly didn’t feel normal to those who had a little boy grabbing at their boobs.

tom_g's avatar

@sarahhhhh: “I just think you can instill the idea at a later stage too.”

Instill? My kids see breasts in action all the time. They know how kids are fed. That’s it. There’s nothing to instill. If a kid wants to feed her baby, what’s wrong with putting it up to her nipple? Hell, my toddler sons did the same thing. It was cute.

tom_g's avatar

@Pandora – A 3-year-old occasionally breastfeeding is creepy to you? “I’m sure he is not a perve or anything like that but I think it confused him” What confused him? My youngest is almost 3 and he still nurses once a day. He’s just about done. I’ve never seen any 3 year olds trying to nurse on other people. That seems odd, but this has nothing to do with 3-year-olds or breastfeeding.

Jellie's avatar

@tom_g I think we’re talking past each other. Yes, for breast feeding. Yes, for making children comfortable with it.

tom_g's avatar

@sarahhhhh – Sorry. I told you that it’s a hot topic for me. The US is awash in misinformation about breastfeeding, so I am very often on the defensive. I don’t have to be when I am discussing why it is unhealthy to smoke around children. People just get it.
Anyway, I am a bit confused as to why playing that you are feeding your baby the most nutritiously possible – and reducing your cancer risks in the process – has any business being “put off” until some later time.

Nullo's avatar

Yeah, that’s too much for a toy.

tom_g's avatar

@Nullo: “Yeah, that’s too much for a toy.”

Explain.

Nullo's avatar

@tom_g It’s similar to @sarahhhhh‘s case. It feels off. I guess that it feels like an inappropriate or even disconcerting degree of realism. Same with anatomically correct dolls.

tom_g's avatar

@Nullo – Do you think it’s possible that it only feels “off” because we live in a culture that doesn’t breastfeed? Are you uncomfortable at all when you think about the fact that a kid mimicking feeding her baby doll in the most healthy way possible for the doll (and her) makes you uncomfortable?

Nullo's avatar

@tom_g Eh? Where did you grow up? Breastfeeding is pretty much SOP in the family. By adult women, mind you.

tranquilsea's avatar

For all the people who think this feels wrong, how do you feel when you see a woman breastfeeding a baby? Does it make you feel embarrassed?

Aethelwine's avatar

It only feels “off” if you sexualize the breast. That’s the problem with our society. Yay for titty bars, boo for breastfeeding. :/

Jellie's avatar

Actually in the culture I live in, women only breastfeed so it’s extremely normal for me. And it doesn’t embarrass me at all. In fact there’s sort of a taboo on formula and stuff here..

It makes me uncomfortable the same way child pageants make me uncomfy.

The_Idler's avatar

I can’t believe anyone would even consider introducing children to breastfeeding… at such a young age!

As we all know, it is strictly an ‘adult’ activity, and to involve a child is a clear moral crime, which could have severe repercussions on their psychological development, perhaps even leading them to fathom the true natural functions of the human anatomy…. God forbid.

I think we’d all be a lot safer, if we just bought our children sensible toys like this…

tranquilsea's avatar

@sarahhhhh child pageants are horrible to me because they severely objectify girls and, really, do we need to heap any more fuel on the bonfire of objectification?

tom_g's avatar

@sarahhhhh – Specifically what makes you uncomfortable? Have you asked yourself this? Child pageants are awful things and so are adult pageants. I’m curious what makes you uncomfortable with children pretending to feed a baby doll.

tom_g's avatar

@Nullo – Ok, so you were brought up in an environment where feeding babies the most healthy way was ok. Like I asked @sarahhhhh, what exactly makes you uncomfortable with a kid pretending to feed a baby doll? Note: Saying “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer. I would urge you to investigate this further, however, at a later time.

Nullo's avatar

@tom_g Hasn’t my vagueness conveyed that I haven’t put together the words for it?
I’m going to go with, “it’s too mature for them,” but you are free to make up whatever reason best fits your pet theory about me.

The_Idler's avatar

@Nullo So, do you reckon it could make bad things happen?

tranquilsea's avatar

This is a bunch of hoopla for no real reason. My experience with girls is that they are keenly interested in babies: feeding them, changing them, burping them etc. until they reach the age of 8 or so and then they drop the whole baby thing.

SpatzieLover's avatar

My son watched it with me he’s six. He thought it was cute and that little girls would like it because they could be like their mommy.

He thought his friend would like one. He told me he would not, because he likes “Historical American Girls”.

Really, I never will understand all the fuss with breastfeeding. It’s natural and normal. There is nothing sexual about it.

Nullo's avatar

@The_Idler I suppose that it could.

Aethelwine's avatar

@tranquilsea I agree. Our cat just had kittens about six weeks ago. The kittens are still nursing and my daughter (age 7) loves to watch and help the kittens find a nipple on their mommy for them to feed on. It’s really cute how she worries about the kittens being fed.

tranquilsea's avatar

@jonsblond I love that age. It’s filled with inquisitiveness and wonder.

tranquilsea's avatar

Plus have you ever seen a child pick up a doll and the first thing they do is lift up the skirt to see just what is there? Most kids do this and they are puzzled at the lack of anatomy.

Seelix's avatar

I think it’s a great idea. There are dolls that pee and poop, and kids change their diapers. Many baby dolls come with a bottle – some even burp. Kids “feed” their babies, change them, burp them, put them to bed… I’m sure a lot of kids with younger siblings who are being breastfed hold their dolls up to their chests. Why not make a doll that’s designed for that purpose?

The more exposure breastfeeding gets, the less it will shock people who can’t handle the sight of a boob being used for its actual purpose. I think it’s an awesome idea to start children off learning about it.

JLeslie's avatar

I am very pro breast feeding, and it bothers me our culture in the US sometimes give moms a hard time on the topic. But, I don’t see the reason to have a breast feeding baby doll. I am not against them existing, and if there are moms who want to give those dolls to their children, then fine, but I don’t think a doll has to actually pee, and feed, etc. Just me, I like the simpler dolls of yesteryear. A 3 year old cannot breast feed, so they don’t have to breast feed a doll. If they have a baby sibling, they see their mommies breast feed, or other mommies with young children. If the young child wants to feed their baby sibling it would have to be done with a bottle. Why is a fake breast more appealing than just pretending anyway?

tom_g's avatar

@JLeslie – I completely agree about simple toys. We would never buy this doll. It’s crap, uses batteries, and is too limiting. But I completely support it and more importantly – the idea behind it. Any supposed controversy around this gets my blood boiling.

Re: feeding with a bottle, however. Many people don’t use bottles at all. Also, when many kids are playing with their doll, they’re not playing that they are the older sibling. They are playing that they are the mommy. That’s why kids who are exposed to breastfeeding naturally mimic their mom by nursing their baby dolls.

MilkyWay's avatar

This question is a bit like asking whether or not Barbie dolls should be allowed to be given to kids as they have boobs.
I’m not a parent, but I have a 2 year old sister. I wouldn’t have a problem with giving her one of those breast feeding dolls.

JLeslie's avatar

@tom_g Sure, I understand some children are never bottle fed. Also, that young girls are playing mommy when they care for their babydolls. If I had a daughter who really really wanted the doll, I would probably cave. But, I would never go out and pick that doll on my own.

Haleth's avatar

I have mixed feelings about it. Many other people in this thread pointed out that breastfeeding is natural and there’s no reason kids shouldn’t learn about it, and that’s true. But toys that are about gender roles make me uncomfortable.

This doesn’t bother me any more than other types of baby dolls that are targeted at girls, like the ones where you can feed them and change their diapers. If I had kids I’d rather give them building blocks, sports stuff, art supplies or toys that are more open-ended.

JLeslie's avatar

@Haleth That is what I grew up with. I didn’t have dolls until later when I asked for one. I had one Marie doll, as in Donny and Marie. I never owned a Barbie doll. I don’t remember having a baby doll; maybe I did have one? When I was a little older and started liking girly stuff I got a big barbie head that you could put makeup on and do her hair.

Haleth's avatar

@JLeslie Right, same here. My favorite toys as a kid were this neat building set with all these rods and wheels, a hobby horse, and this ratty old stuffed bear. Plus we had tons of arts and crafts supplies around and we were always making and collecting things. For some reason I love the idea of the Marie doll. :)

tom_g's avatar

@Haleth: “This doesn’t bother me any more than other types of baby dolls that are targeted at girls, like the ones where you can feed them and change their diapers. If I had kids I’d rather give them building blocks, sports stuff, art supplies or toys that are more open-ended.”

Now that is a legitimate objection in my humble opinion!

We don’t do many non-open-ended toys in our house. It’s legos, blocks, crafts, etc. However, my kids have their dolls. My sons carry around and care for their dolls as much as my daughter did. My sons are mimicking me.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Here’s my response w/o reading any of the above answers (though I will go back and do so, as soon as I can) – if you are going to have dolls for the purpose of socializing girls into ‘proper’ femininity which so clearly centers around motherhood and caretaking of others, then the breastfeeding doll is no worse than any other doll out there for girls because, at least, it shows something normal and it’s good for little girls (or any kid) to think of breastfeeding as normal…otoh, if you think many examples of dolls are offensive to the intelligence of your female (or any) children, then you’re not going to dislike the breastfeeding doll any more than you already don’t like other dolls. Now, would I allow my sons to breastfeed their dolls? Sure. When my oldest was 3, he saw me breastfeed my youngest and wanted to breastfeed too. He asked me if he was ever going to, I said that generally speaking, people who are born with his bodies do not grow into people who are able to breastfeed in the same way as women.

JLeslie's avatar

@Haleth My grandfather owned an arts supply store (although he closed it down either just before I was born, or when I was very little) and was an artist. My grandmother was an English major and school counselor, also into the arts. My father when I wanted to be a cheerleader in third grade said, “why not go out for the football team.” not because he was a sports person, he never played, and he never watches on tv, but because he did not want me to limit myself to “girl” things. The women in my family did care about fashion, but it kind of goes along with the art thing, clothes as a thing of beauty, rather than a specifically gender related thing. I guess the toys all went along with how my family thought, I just never put it all together until seeing what you wrote. Thanks! :)

Pandora's avatar

@tom_g Wasn’t saying a three year old breast feeding is creepy. Its creepy when they try to breast feed off of everyone else. He was told that only mommy has his milk. At 3, children know who is mommy.
What I said was that an 11 year old suckling on a dolls boob would be creepy. They play with dolls as well.
I don’t see this so much as what is natural or not but what can become creepy or silly to put on a doll.
You wouldn’t put a penis on a male doll and yet that is natural. You don’t see Ken with a patch of chest hair or pubic hair and yet that is natural. You don’t see Barbies with a patch of hair or vagina and yet that is normal.
You don’t see old age Barbie with age spots, varicose veins, or cellulite or a pot belly and yet all those things are normal as well.
You also don’t see teddy bears with fangs and claws and yet that is normal. Is it really necessary to use a doll to tell a child breast feeding is normal. I’ve seen children see moms breast feeding and think nothing of it.
So why a breast feeding doll?

SpatzieLover's avatar

Doll play for young children is mimicking @Pandora. It’s quite normal for boys to mimic breastfeeding to their dolls/teddy bears when they’ve been breast fed. I’ve never found it creepy when witnessing a child play mommy.

Seelix's avatar

@PandoraWhat I said was that an 11 year old suckling on a dolls boob would be creepy.

The doll is a baby doll which “feeds” from the child who’s playing “mommy”. The child doesn’t suckle on the doll’s breast.

tom_g's avatar

@Pandora – Wait…what? I’m not following. Most dolls come with a plastic bottle. This is for the child to use to feed the doll. Why not allow dolls that pretend breastfeed? Isn’t that how babies are really fed? I think it’s shit, like I mentioned above – kids just nurse their babies even if the doll doesn’t have batteries and do this. Imagination is great. But I don’t get the exception or controversy.
Also, “You wouldn’t put a penis on a male doll and yet that is natural.” – I guess you don’t hang out in my circles. Anatomically correct dolls are pretty popular. My kids have them and showed no interest in them.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Without reading all the comments, because I’m sure there’s a lot of arguments going on for crap’s sake, I’ll just say that I would be fine with my kids having a doll that breastfeeds from a pretend nipple. When I was nursing my youngest daughter, my oldest would sit next to me and nurse her barbies. It was cute.

Pandora's avatar

@Seelix Ahhhh, that makes a little more sense. LOL I was wondering how anyone would be ok with children sucking on a baby doll.
Still slightly strange but at least it makes sense.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Haleth If your child asked for a doll would you give him/her one? I had all sorts of dolls growing up. I also loved to play with race cars and trucks in the mud. I also had blocks and all the other art supplies. I was exposed to everything. It wasn’t like I just had dolls dressed in pink because I’m a girl.

keobooks's avatar

I wouldn’t mind my daughter pretending to breastfeed a doll. if she has a sibling, she’ll most likely learn that’s the way to feed babies, so she’ll try to feed her own babies that way. I am a bit insulted some people talking about exposing their kids to breastfeeding as if there is something wrong with that. If I have a second child, i’m not going to hide in my own house so my daughter can’t see me feed her sibling. That’s ridiculous.

I wouldn’t buy the doll though. I don’t like toys that take out the imagination and do all the playing for you. A kid doesn’t need a fancy electronic fake nipple. They can just hold the doll up to their chest and go at it. This toy offends me the same way the Harry Potter Quidditch brooms offend me. I think it’s sad they made an official broom that does all the wooshing sounds for you. I want kids to break into the broom closet and and get a few real broom and go nuts with their energy and imagination.

martianspringtime's avatar

Even as a kid I wasn’t into very realistic dolls – the peeing, pooping, talking ones – so unless my kid asked for it, I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to get one for them. But there’s definitely nothing wrong with it, and I think it’s actually a really good thing what with the way breastfeeding has been made into some kind of ‘vulgar’ thing instead of a natural, healthy one.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think that everyone who is uncomfortable seeing a young child pretend to breast feed thinks breast feeding is vulgar. Or, that everyone who thinks it should be done discretely thinks it is vulgar. Personally I am for a woman’s right to breastfeed in public, but I think care should be taken to do it somewhat discretely. I just think some people are being too extreme about it, too black and white, making assumptions about people. Breastfeeding is an adult act, some people find it odd to see young children doing adult things with their bodies, even if it is a totally natural thing for adults. They have a picture of how children should behave, and deviations from that feel uncomfortable to them.

tranquilsea's avatar

@JLeslie I tried to cover my kids’ heads and they hated it and would yank the blanket off. So my option was to stay home for a year or care much less what people thought of it.

tom_g's avatar

@JLeslie and @tranquilsea – Not trying to play mod here, but public breastfeeding is a great – but different – topic. I was tempted to jump in on this one, but we discussed this a little here.

JLeslie's avatar

@tranquilsea It would not even bother me if their heads are not covered. On a different Q someone talked about practically pulling their whole shirt off just because she should be able to if feeding her baby. Taking your breast out to feed your baby can be done in a discrete way, even if their is not a blanket involved. The atitude of the mother probably comes through in the action. Not that she should feel embarrassed or badly in any way for feeding her baby, just not have the atitude of screw all of you I am feeding my baby, just because a few ridiculously conservative, ignorant, loud people make a stink about public breast feeding. For anyone to suggest a mother can’t go out because she has an infant child is ridiculous to me, and she should not have to sit in a hot car or small bathroom to do it.

tranquilsea's avatar

@tom_g I was just pointing something out and this is social and it is related.

JLeslie's avatar

@tranquilsea But, in a restaurant, if a mom has the option she can ask to be seated in the back or in a corner, rather than the window seat at the front, so if it does make others uncomfortable she has shown some respect for the restaurant and the patrons, whether she agrees with them or not. Don’t you think? Or, fuck ‘em all?

tom_g's avatar

@JLeslie – Ok, I’ll bite (even though I said I wouldn’t)...

@JLeslie: “Or, fuck ‘em all?”

Even the most hardcore breasfeeding activists (lactivists) I know – believe me, I know sooo many – are discrete. Why? Because most people have a certain modesty. That said, are we really discussing a problem with immodesty in this country with regards to breastfeeding? Certainly we hear discussions among conservative christian circles about revealing clothing the “kids” are wearing these days, etc. That’s always gone on.

But is it really appropriate to bring feeding a baby into this discussion of how much of a boob should be showing in public? Believe me, I understand that you are saying that some people have a problem with seeing part of a naked breast. Maybe not you, but some people. Sure, some people do. Some people have problems with many things. But feeding babies? I’m not sure the offended people should be considered here. Am I saying “fuck ‘em all”? Well, kinda. Yes. We have a serious health crisis in this country. Many of the things that are of huge concern for the CDC, AAP, etc are things that can be minimized by increased awareness, support, and acceptance of breastfeeding. Encouraging a more puritanical attitude towards healthy feeding is not the solution.

There are plenty of areas that call for compromise and consideration of other’s fragile feelings. This is not one of the areas, in my opinion. The stakes are too great. And to be honest, “fuck ‘em all” does seem appropriate here.

JLeslie's avatar

@tom_g I am only talking about when the mother has an easy option. I feel pretty sure @tranquilsea would be discrete by my definition. She thought I was asking women to cover up the babies and their breasts completely, I’m not.

tom_g's avatar

@JLeslie – That’s cool. I’m sure we’re all probably all on the same page here regarding what is right. It’s probably all in the details of how to go about it that differs. While some might lean towards thinking the woman should cover her baby, I lean towards thinking that the offended should cover their eyes. While some might lean toward a nursing mom trying to find some hidden table somewhere, I lean toward the offended trying to find a table with no view of anyone else.

People will always be offended about something. It’s their problem – especially when the thing they are offended by is healthy and natural (breastfeeding, interracial couples, homosexual couples etc).

JLeslie's avatar

@tom_g Not far down the answers on this Q it turns into a discussion about breast feeding in public. You can see my answers there, and other comments by other jellies. I think you will be interested.

JLeslie's avatar

@tom_g I think we basically agree. I agree people can look away. I think they should give her “privacy” with her baby anyway, no one need be staring at her.

WilliamHigh's avatar

I have seen that many kids are playing with dolls and taking care of their doll like their mother do. But I never saw that kids are having dolls who can be breast fed details. But it would could done by many kid as they saw their mother is feeding to small baby same like that they also want to feed their doll nothing but just playing the role of mother of doll.

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