Booby Trapped: Breast-Feeding Baby Doll Stirs Controversy

Is the breast-feeding doll a great idea or just gross?

News that a Spanish toy company is bringing its breast-feeding baby doll to the American market has stirred up a storm of controversy. Breast-feeding proponents say the Breast Milk Baby could encourage more U.S. women to take up the practice. These supporters say feeding baby dolls from bottles encourages little girls to think that’s the “normal” way of providing nourishment, and could be one reason for our persistently low breast-feeding rates. (Nationwide, only 13 percent of us are still exclusively breast-feeding as our kids turn six months old.) Opponents say the doll, which makes happy gurgling sounds when held to either of two flower appliqués on a halter top sold with it, is creepy and gross. (Bill O’Reilly, for one, thinks it’s inappropriate.)

Me, I fall somewhere in between the two. I’m generally in favor of anything that inclines children—and women, and men—to look at breasts as utilitarian objects, a means of nourishment rather than a sexual stimulus for which bigger is always better. I was disheartened by recent news that though our rates of face-lifts, liposuction and nose jobs fell over the past decade, breast augmentations are up 39 percent. Yet I can see the point of view of critics who say having girls nourish their “babies” via flower falsies doesn’t exactly get the breast-feeding point across. Why can’t they just yank up their t-shirts the way Mom does?

If you’re not yet one of the augmenters but have been thinking about it, you might be interested in the $2.99 BreastDecide app for your iPhone or iPad, which lets you learn all about different procedures, explore breast anatomy (in any location—even while riding the bus!) and find a local doctor. There’s also a FaceDecide app, if you’re contemplating having your eyelids lifted or nose redone. Sigh. The only good news is that neither is selling as well as SpineDecide, ShoulderDecide or KneeDecide. So I’m not quite ready for SuiCide.

What do you think of the Breast Milk Baby? Tell us in the comments below.