Friday, August 07, 2009

Grab the Lanolin!

How many baby dolls did you get as a child - or buy for your own children - that came with a bottle so you could "feed" it?

Now a toy maker in Spain has put out the Bebé Glotón, an infant doll that is made to promote breastfeeding as a natural act. Your daughter (or son?) can strap on a halter top that has little flower pasties at the nipple area. The doll makes sucking motions and sounds when it is brought up to the flowers.

It's kind of an interesting idea. I mean, I'm not a fan of ANY toy that makes noises (notice is always either the childless friends or the ones with bigger kids who give you those) and I'm not about to give my kid a top with fake "nipples," but it is cool that a toy maker would create a product like this.

In Spain.

Because in the U.S.? It would never fly. When you talk about anything that contains the word "breast" it automatically becomes sexualized. How many of you breastfeeding moms have ever gotten the hairy eyeball from someone - often an older woman - for nursing your child in public? It's so odd to me. I mean, you're FEEDING YOUR BABY, not engaging in some sort of twisted sex act.

Actually, the only problem I have with the doll is that it's not necessary, in the same way I didn't buy my kids a play kitchen with a stove that makes a sizzling noise. I'm about imagination, and my kids did just fine "nursing" Anakin and Padme.

As expected, the doll has generated outrage from those fine, morally upstanding citizens of this great nation. Some of these comments on this blog make me laugh, especially one of the first ones where someone thinks a five year-old is too young to know what a breast is (WHA? Makes you wonder what she tells her child to call that hole where that yellow liquid comes out!) or when nursing is equated with pooping on a restaurant table.

This just goes to show - once again - that as much as we're beaten over the head that "breast is best" and our baby is going to grow up to be sickly, dumb and maladjusted if we DON'T breastfeed, the reality is nursing is not fully supported in our culture.

Not by employers, businesses, public places, law enforcement or, perhaps saddest of all, other women.

I'm generalizing, of course, but really, we all have stories about being made to feel that our need to feed our baby - which, I believe is one of if not THE most important job description that we have as mothers - is somehow inconvenient at best and disgusting at worst.

How else to explain why a bunch of women, in conjunction with The Breastfeeding Promotion Leadership Committee in New York City felt it necessary to have an annual nursing caravan on the subway last week. Their purpose? To raise awareness and pushing for a breastfeeding "bill of rights."

I try to be respectful in public. I have my nursing cover, but if I forgot it, like I did at the county fair yesterday, well, I just tried to be discreet as possible. The idea that women "whip it out" it just hilarious to me. Trust me, we don't want our boobs flapping in the breeze, but we do need to get it into position for our baby to feed.

At home with my family, then, well, yes, the kids see my breasts every day. They've seen their brother scream and cry and then, suddenly, become calm once he latches on. They've seen him drift peacefully off to sleep while engaged in his favorite activity. They know it's how he eats, how he is comforted.

The lessons? Our body is not something to be ashamed of. Babies grow bigger and stronger from the food a woman's body can provide. It's completely natural.

They don't need a doll to teach them that. Their mom is enough of a role model.


Janine said...

I am TOTALLY pro breastfeeding, but that doll makes me feel weird! I would much rather my kids use their imagination on breastfeeding their own dolls/action figures versus a doll that does it for you.

Jen C said...

I read those comments from the blog you linked to.

I had a long diatribe I wrote. But I think I shall just say, some of those people's ideas are mind boggling. Truly.

Holly said...

Haven't read the blog comments or watched the video but had to laugh out loud at "boobs flapping in the breeze" because some BF women do, in fact, seem to enjoy letting their entire boob hang out. Case in point: my youngest sister with her artificially enhanced breasts. BF'ing her infant at my parents' home last weekend, in direct view of brothers-in-law, she dropped the strap of her nursing tank and let her entire boob dangle with baby sucking on the tip, and occasionally latching off to reveal the whole breast, nipple and all. I have NO problem with nursing in public (and was known to nurse my child at the Thanksgiving table in front of the ILs, even), but there's nothing wrong with a blanket or nursing cover, KWIM? Sorry for the rant...

Cheryl said...

Holly - I'm sorry, but that made me giggle! Maybe your sister is just trying to get her money's worth? ;)

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