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August 10th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Nursing a Headache? Breast-Feeding Doll Draws Fire

OK, I need your opinion.

A Spanish company is making headlines with the creation of Bebé Glotón, a doll that simulates breast-feeding. According to the instructions, little girls strap on a halter and hold Bebé Glotón to their chest. And a gluttonous baby he is! He wails, and his lips move as he makes sucking sounds. Some advocates say the toy shows little girls that breast-feeding is a healthy, natural, beautiful way for moms to bond with their infants. Others argue that allowing a young girl to have a nursing doll will encourage promiscuity.

So what do you think? They have kicked women off of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace because they posted pictures of themselves breast-feeding, saying it was not appropriate. Now there is a doll for little girls mimicking the act. Should that go the way of the pictures, or is it OK?

Bebé Glotón isn’t available for purchase yet in America, but if it were, would you buy the doll for a young child? Is this an educational toy, or a provocative piece of plastic? Let me hear your thoughts!

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138 Responses to “Nursing a Headache? Breast-Feeding Doll Draws Fire”

  1. Maddie says:

    Well I think I read every comment here and had a good laugh. Some of these comments are worst than the doll!
    When I first looked at the video of the doll nursing, I thought, oh how ridiculous
    to put this on the market, not because I’m against breastfeeding, I did breastfeed my three boys and I also let them play with doll but this one wouldn’t of done at all.. I suppose someone will have something to say about that too..But just for your record they are fine nurturing fathers. They do change diapers and bath their children and feed them…
    I think the comment that surprised me the most was the one from Anna on August 17th.
    Do you really think this will teach a child to be a sacrificial mother, as you put it. I don’t think you’re a mother, well at least I hope you aren’t with that attitude.
    When we give birth we are responsible for our children but this doll will not teach that to a child. At most I don’t think it will hold a child’s attention for very long.
    And Anna, no parent forces their children to play with anything, I hope they get to choose what they will play with and for how long.
    Parents can you imagine your child sitting in a corner pretending to breast feed for over an hour? Not..Too ridiculous of a notion, Anna, weren’t you ever a child?

    Children learn by seeing and it’s a natural thing to breastfeed. I personally believe we should do it in a modest fashion because we’re not animals.
    Young women who will take prenatal classes, will learn about the benefits of breast feeding then if not from their parents first.
    This doll will be good as a collectors item if you leave it in the box where it belongs, it make a good conversation piece.

  2. Annie says:

    Dr. Phil,
    I have one question. Why does a “child” need to “experience” how to take care of a “nursing” baby? I thought we developed in stages for a reason. Although we are a civilized society, when we see an exposed breast we are not thinking of a nursing mother. Let’s get real. Kids have always been known to take things, on their own, to the next level. They may start with the breast vest, than toss that aside and start removing their own clothes and before you know it, it’s no longer a doll suckling. I just think we introduce some things to our kids when they really aren’t mature enough to understand it completely. Breast feeding, although a natural thing and should be thought of that way, is still something that an adult takes part in, not children.

  3. April says:

    I think it is very appropriate. It teaches responsibility, as well as what to expect when they are a mother. I think they should market these as part of home econonics. As for it being a boundary line, a mother can also use it to bond with her daughter while she is breast feeding her daughter can simulate it and feel apart of that “special time” that mommy shares with the new brother or sister and will not feel so left out.

  4. Noel says:

    I would not purchase this doll for my child. I don’t think it’s necessary for children to experience breast feeding, as they’ll have plenty of time to learn that once they are older. I also feel that it brings too much attention to the breast at too early an age.

  5. Chrissy says:

    I’ll start by saying that there is nothing wrong with a child imitating a mother who breast feeds but this doll is creepy. The suckling thing, just going way too far. I don’t think that you should go pay extra $$ for a doll that is marketed as a breastfeeding doll. Children just imitate what their mothers do so if you breastfeed then your child would more than likely want to breast feed their baby dolls. I bottle fed my daughter and my whole family bottle feeds so my daughter only knows how to feed a baby with a bottle. A friend of mine was breastfeeding her little son and her older daughter came out with her favorite stuffed dog, lifted her shirt just enough and put the dog up to her like she was breast feeding it. It’s just imitating her mother, nothing wrong with that, it’s how children learn things, by watching their parents.

    I like April’s response, it is a great way to bond with their daughters. Still don’t think it’s necessary to buy a doll just because it is marketed that way.

    Annie and Noel- that is what dolls are for, is to play mommy. If mommy breastfeeds then they too will want to breast feed their babies (dolls) Bottle feeding is something a adult takes part in so is it wrong to for a child to bottle feed their dolls? Children will imitate what they see even if you don’t buy them this or any doll, they’ll use whatever stuffed animal as I had said above. It’s about playing out the everyday events that their parents do. That’s why we have play kitchens, fake phones, play houses, tool benches and bubble blowing lawn mowers. That is the exact reason why we have a such thing as a baby doll, is to play a mom like your mom. If mommy breastfeeds then so will the little daughter to her dolls, it’s just play.

  6. Jean Benson says:

    Well, now I’ve lived long enough!! Good grief! What will come next? Little girls nursing their dollies is revolting. Let them be children for heaven’s sake and stop this foolishness. I nursed my babies and am all in favor of children being taught what breasts are really meant to be used for without shame but now they’ve gone too far to get that almighty buck!!

  7. Chrissy says:

    Annie says:
    August 17, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Thank you, that is my thoughts, it’s playing! That is why we make toys for children!

    Though I do have to add that bottle/formula feeding vs breastfeeding no longer makes a bit of difference once a infant develops their own immunities which is about 3 weeks. No, it doesn’t make them smarter, my daughter is 2 years old, knows her alphabet, knows what sounds each letter makes, can count to 20, is learning Spanish and Chinese, and can read simple words like hat, nose etc. No, it doesn’t make them healthier, my daughter has never had to go to the ER, never had to be taken to the DR for an unscheduled visit, only had many 5 or 6 runny noses in her almost 3 years on this earth, and has never had a high fever. No, this does not make a difference in bonding with your child stronger. My daughter and I have had an incredible bond since the minute she was born (I could go as far as say at least my bond to her was since I got that positive pregnancy test)

    So please, not just Annie but anyone else that made those ‘facts’ apart of your argument. Don’t say that it’s the BEST way to feed a child, like those who formula feed is less of a caring, loving parent. It is the best way for YOU, you ask not to be bashed for your choice in how you feed your child, I ask the same for the choice I made to formula feed my child. I give you the respect, I do not say my way is right and your way is gross. It’s your choice and it’s your business, I honestly don’t care if you breast feed sitting next to me or what not, just don’t push any holier-than-thou attitude that you are a better parent because you breast feed.

  8. Susani Sacca says:

    This just grosses me out on so many levels.

    I think (Dr Phil) by you even having this on your blog and bringing attention to it your probally helping this manufactor sell like over a million more dolls.

    Yes there were alot of good points here and when I first started thinking about my own exerpiences with dollies I recall the betsy wetsy, and given the “doll” food cleaning number 2 also. Back like 38 years ago..xox

    Ok Ill be the first to admit it I have issues so to me THIS DOLL is just plain old YUK and I am not going to change my mind. I respect others thoughts too but this is just my small voice here.

  9. Von Saunders says:

    First of all, thanks for bringing this issue up. I disagree with Susani that you should not have posted about it because your post will help them sell dolls. This is a relevant issue and discussion of it, before it comes to the U.S., is good for everyone.

    In general, I don’t think this doll promotes any inappropriate behavior. Young girls already change their dolls dirty diapers, feed them “formula”, and burp them. Breast feeding is just as natural and just as appropriate to emulate as any of those other bodily acts. Saying that children will turn this into something inappropriate is an understandable concern, but that risk exists with current dolls on the market (for example, making betsy wetsy “pee” on your little brother/sister).

  10. Why are we in this day and age wanting our children to grow up so fast? Breastfeeding is an adult act that children do not need to worry about or really know about for a longtime.
    They may look at this as fun, and cool and want to have babies at a younger age. It’s fun to play mommy but no one wants to be one before we are ready. We should not have to explain about milk in breast before it’s age appropriate either.(what ever age parent feels is right)

  11. Christa says:

    Why is breastfeeding an “ADULT” act, but Bottle feeding is not????

    Oh, because breasts are for selling CARS, JEANS, BEER…….

    that’s right. Silly me, breasts are for ADVERTISEMENTS…..NOT BABIES!!!

    Heaven forbid we teach young girls that breasts are for feeding infants!!!! Yikes! We MUST be sure to teach her what they are REALLY for……to make men buy cars, of COURSE!!!!

    Go to any book store and look at the magazine section. Women showing way more breasts than a nursing woman would, and who gets more flack???? The nursing woman. There is SOMETHING WRONG HERE!!!!!!!

    This is not a man’s issue….this is a WOMAN’s issue and the way WOMEN view breasts. Women ALSO see them as PURELY sexual and not at ALL functional. If we are to move forward in nourishing babies the proper way….we must, as women, overcome this stereotypical 1950’s shaming of what God MADE BREASTS FOR IN THE FIRST PLACE!!! NOURISHING INFANTS!!!!!!

    I think the doll is a little odd. My girl was “nursing” her baby all on her own, mimicking me nursing her brother…..no “special” doll required.

  12. Susani Sacca says:

    WOW WOW WOW Christa how angry are you lady but a hold on it will ya?

    You are all the way on the other side eh?

    This is NOT a man’s issue or just a WOMAN’s issue..

    This is a persons issue and ya know what? Some of us people in our lives didnt have a MOMMA to watch. Or such a lovely safe home or as DR PHIL says such a safe place to land. LIKE YOUR DAUGHTER DID.

    Some of us in our lives have been sexually abused as small children and all of our lives have been completely and utterly screwed up by this whole process of life
    so next time you want to spout your truth

    OPEN UP YOUR EYES AND WIDEN YOUR LENSE I assure you MADAME THIS GOES FAR BEYOND CARS JEANS AND BEER.

    One out of every 4 children in the USA in one form or another have been sexually abused, Physically or spirtually abused at onetime or another. Sometimes once, sometimes for years and years.

    People on this blog are all entitled to there opio/ but to water it down to such a limited view as yours quite frankly made me puke inside my mouth this evening.

    Is this really the limited thought process of the AMERICA Woman in 2009?

    I think and HOPE NOT. WE ARE NOT THIS STUPID!~
    WOOH I must go now and take a shower…

    YUK FACTOR 100 and I am still shaking my head!

  13. Esme says:

    Why didn’t they make proper nipples on the thing? Why is it flat and not breast-shaped??
    I don’t see why girls should get a cooking set but not a breastfeeding baby set. The sound alone irritates me enough to never have a child really, ‘t should work for children as well.
    And please do give it to boys. Maybe they’ll take some care to not impregnate a girl.
    Oh, and to let children see their breast as functional baby feeders in stead of ’something you have to put silicone in to be man-catchers’ is a good thing.
    Children learn adult behaviour by copying, so let them play ‘mommy and daddy’ if they want to. Including breastfeeding. But please something more realistic…
    And about inappropriate, what about barbie the blonde haired impossible to recreate body and such?
    I hope your daughter rather builds huts an makes spears or plays with lego anyway.

  14. Debra says:

    What in the world are people thinking!!!!! What ever happed to normal.
    It has been known that women have experienced orgasms by breastfeeding. Totally do not agree.

  15. Laura says:

    Ok- to remind everyone- this is not a place to voice your childhood trauma. This is a place to simply state your opinions on the doll in question. Please reign in your comments and try not to take everything so seriously so this blog can reach the desired intention. Also, please respect all reader’s comments. Thank you.

  16. Llavern says:

    I’m 56 years old. I nursed my two children, and my daughter nursed her two daughters. My experience has been that children mimic what they know. My daughter nursed her dolls, and my granddaughters nursed their dolls. They didn’t have bottles, and wouldn’t know what they were for anyway. They lifted their shirts and put the doll on their “boobie” and cradled them just as they had experienced.

    I agree with the thought that we should show our children that breasts are for something other sex. And Debra, I NEVER had an orgasm when I was nursing. I had “let down” which could be painful and the sensation of your uterus clamping down after giving birth and first nursing was one of THE most painful things I can remember. And it was always fun when the baby forgot their manners and chewed instead of suckled.

    The idea of the doll is alien to us, but it isn’t terrible. It is only odd because we’ve lost the connection with our bodies. Feeding an infant has become a multi-billion dollar industry rather than an act of nurturing. I think that it would be wonderful to encourage more women to nurse. We’ve killed so many babies in third-world countries because we’ve encouraged the use of formula in areas where no clean water is available. It would have been better to encourage the mothers to drink the formula and then nurse their babies.

  17. Wendy says:

    When reading or hearing about something that makes our children grow up faster than they need to is appaling. Why is it that a doll, a plaything, should even suggest such a concept? With all the many pressures that our children are facing in this day and age, we are now going to add a plaything that mimicks an idea that they have no idea of being able to understand? I do not know where any manufacture of toy could possibly think that our children should even be introduces to this concept. As a mother of two girls, one haven been a sexual abuse victim, I find this idea so way out of left field that the manufacturer should be shot. There is no reason that this idea should be introduced or addressed to our young children.

  18. Christa says:

    I think “shooting the manufacturer” is a little harsh. I was a victim of physical abuse, and you don’t see me asking manufacturers to ban baseball bats.

    My point is that the natural function of breasts are breastfeeding. By allowing your abuser to have this kind of control over your view of breasts is very unhealthy and in the end you are letting them have the control…by hindering YOUR concepts of the world.

    ***There is NOTHING sexual about breastfeeding!***

  19. Andrea says:

    Yes, the doll is a little weird. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a child “breastfeeding” a doll. Any small child with a nursing baby at home is mots likely going to try it at some point. Kids mimic what they see; that’s why parents need to be so careful with their own behavior! As for the “civilized” society and “sexual breasts” comment, I simply have no words. In “uncivilized” society, breasts are generally seen as what they are: mammary glands. What is used to feed babies. I don’t think it says much for our “civilization” that we can’t get beyond our own myopic prudishness to see the human body as a tool rather than something dirty or purely sexual.

    As for women having orgasms while breastfeeding, I’m certain it has happened … but NOT to the majority of women and it is NOT common, and whether it happens or not, breastfeeding is STILL not a sexual act.

    No wonder our society is so screwed up that such a simple expression of motherhood can be interpreted as perverted.

  20. Sabrina says:

    I breastfed my son. If I’d had a daughter instead, I’m not sure I would by this for her. If she had a younger sibling who I was nursing, I would consider it.

    To me, these posts & the very idea of this doll highlight the differences in cultures. In America, there are still issues attached to b/f in public. Whereas throughout most of the rest of the world, it’s seen a natural (heck, they have full-nude beaches in many other parts of the “civilized” world, it’s not a big deal – but we Americans have hissy fits about a topless bar/beach/ad). I don’t think a b/f doll will ever come to America unless special-ordered, but the inherent concept I find acceptable – the child is mimicking what she’s seeing, and someone is seeing a way to make a buck.

  21. Michelle says:

    I think the doll is ridiculous; I think breastsfeeding is best if you can do it. I, myself, did not…but I do think it’s best. I won’t go into why I didn’t at the time, but there were reasons.

    Debbie SanGabriel….your post was very judgmental. People are simply sharing their thoughts here…you can choose to do so or not. Personally, you said EVERYONE ….ALWAYS….. overreacts. Sounds like a gross exaggeration (overreaction??) to me! ;)

    Jane….you commented to Vince. It’s my belief that Vince’s post had nothing to do with yours…I went back and reread it and I didn’t see anything that referred back to your post. My apologies in advance (truly) if I was looking at the wrong post and missed it (the one directly after yours by Vince is the one I was reading.)

    Sorry, All…just had to get those couple of comments out! I’m not great with not sharing my OWN opinion! ;)

    Definitely think the doll is way over the top and agree with the “leave it to the imagination” re: little girls/boys who would play with it, etc…but each to his/her own! :) Michelle

  22. Jen says:

    I probubly would not buy this doll for my child, but I wouldnt mind them playing with one. My daughter has pretended to breastfeed her dolls. It is normal play for a child.

    Breasts are not sex organs. There is nothing sexual about breastfeeding. It is a pretty basic concept that most children who have been around babies are familiar with.

    I do think that selling dolls with bottles for feeding sends the wrong message to kids. This is not the way most babies receive nourishment. Again, breasts are not sex organs, they are designed to nourish an infant!

  23. msday says:

    Ok, let me lower the boom again. In Italy, they think nothing of whipping it out on a bus, public place, men, etc to feed the baby. No cover, zilch. I am not the type to breastfeed, it’s just not for me and when I had my daughter, I had to push my individuality and right to choice against Italian nurses and doctors who felt it was the only way, and the right way. That said, this is still a traditional woman stay in the home, take care baby, cook pasta type of place. That doll, although made in Spain, conforms to the nature of their society. Unfortunately, I don’t think it is a good fit for America. In fact, I really can’t stand dolls. Why, because it almost seems as if we are grooming young girls for the soul purpose of motherhood/marriage. I would much rather a book and a chemistry set.

    Also, for those who think dolls teach a child to be a caring mother. Take this example; my grandmother purchased a tender love and kisses doll for me, when I was seven. My mother had a whole set of medical encyclopedias and a spare medical bag. Needless to say, the mechanism was safely removed according to the pictures in the book. Today, I am trained to save lives and married to a doctor.

  24. Cassandra says:

    This is not the first time I have seen this doll, and even with some time to reflect, I cannot say I am anymore comfortable with it.

    The reality is, breastfeeding is an inherently adult act. You cannot breastfeed unless you have given birth, whereas theoretically anyone can hold a baby and feed it a bottle, change its diaper, etc. As a result, I look at this doll and I do see it rushing little girls into adulthood. Moreover, I see it contributing to an already pervasive trend of younger and younger girls wanting babies because they are unable to break that mindset of seeing them as playthings. Now they are being groomed from an even younger age to believe they are equipped to take care of them, when clearly “Bebe Glouton” cannot hope to replicate the difficulties associated with actually breastfeeding a child.

    While I understand the need and desire to promote breastfeeding, I truly feel that any prospective mother who wishes to try breastfeeding doesn’t need to have had a doll to encourage them.

  25. Margarita says:

    I don’t think it’s a “provocative” toy (just look at it), but I don’t think it’s really appropriate, I mean, the are just kids, they have to play, and enjoy their lifes as kids. (There is no need to “worry” them with responsabilities they will have to do, when they grow up)
    I think they don’t need to know how to breast feeding at that age, they will learn how to do it when they have to (when they have a baby), i’m not totally against, but I think it’s not useful for girls at that age, and I don’t think they will learn how to do it right with a toy.

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  29. I see no problem with this. Why are people so touchy about breasts? We all have them, and it’s not like it’s using it for something indecent.

  30. Sari says:

    I am so excited about this doll and can’t wait to buy one for my daughters. I believe that breastfeeding is best and should be done for as long as mom and baby are comfortable but striving for the first 1-2 year mark.

    My daughters already pretend they are breastfeeding their baby dolls because they see me breastfeeding my youngest daughter. To them it’s natural and just the way it’s done. I think this doll will just add a more realistic feel to their play.

    Kind Regards,
    Sari Harrison

  31. Jennifer says:

    My daughter pretended to breast feed with her own dolls after seeing me breast feed her younger brother. I think that we as parents need to educate our children on what breasts were made for (boys and girls). That is how children learn, by our example. I don’t think I would buy the doll just to educate my child on breast feeding. I don’t feel the need to buy it, girls can use any doll to pretend to breast feed a baby. We just need to teach them.
    My son is 6yrs old now and he pointed at my breasts and asked why I had them and I told him, they were for feeding babies. I told him that he and his sister both drank mommies milk and it helped them grow big and strong. He smiled and went backed to playing. I also told them both that sometimes mommies can’t breast feed and that they drink a special milk formula in a bottle.
    There are alot of people uncomfortable with the subject of breast feeding, beacause breasts have been exploited as sex objects. So I can see how the doll would upset some people. I think their heart is in the right place. People just want to protect children. The world has become a not so good place for children, from tv, to radio, the internet, to people out and about, they constantly see bad examples and it alters their(children) thinking about things….too many things.

  32. Phyllis says:

    IN response to April and the daughter doing it the same time mommy and the new baby are nursing. How is a boy to share in that “special time”? You going to hand him a can of beer and the tv remote?

  33. Susanne says:

    I think the doll is great – there are hundreds and hundreds of dolls on the market drinking milk from a bottle. Finally there is a counterpart out there! It’s been sad to see how many people see breastfeeding as something awkward and weird, something they’re embarrassed by… while it’s the most natural thing in the world! It’s a strange society where sex is sprung at us from every street corner, every commercial, every magazine… our senses are so used to seeing sexual content in everything these days that it “weirds us out” seeing boobs used for their actual purpose: breastfeeding! Because, dear gentlemen, THAT is what they were made for – not as nice squishy toys for you, but to feed your children!
    So why is a breastfeeding doll even worth a discussion at all? Children have always breastfed their dolls – they imitate what mothers do. That’s the way they learn. So the only new thing about this doll is that it makes sounds – nothing new either – and doesn’t come with a bottle. If the company would sell the same doll making the same sounds while drinking from a bottle, no one would look at it twice.
    So what exactly is it about breastfeeding that bothers you?

    PS: Facebook deleting pictures of breastfeeding women is simply ridiculous. But that’s another story. Or is it?

  34. Tara says:

    as a pediatric nurse for a major childrens hospital in an area of the united states with one of the highest infant mortality rates and the population is not culturally comfortable with breastfeeding in public, or private despite the world health organization and American academy of pediatric recommendations of the benefits of breastfeeding to both mother and child. I believe this is a beautiful and positive way to teach children that breastfeeding is normal and positive!
    Kudos to this forward thinking company!
    Yes I would gladly buy this for my daughter!

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  36. J says:

    First of all to call breastfeeding an “act” is crazy!!! As if it is crude or offensive. Seriously, only in OUR culture would breastfeeding be considered anything but natural, nurturing and unoffensive. My days of nursing in a restroom are LONG gone. If my baby needs to eat, I get my nursing cover out and nurse him. That’s what any bottle fed baby would do, right? Not to mention the comment about the doll being provocative. Maybe it is a good thing that there is finally a toy to encourage children what breasts were really meant for, instead of all of the images that they are bombarded with to make them think that they were only meant to be sexual and provocative and that they were only created to entice the opposite sex. I would allow my daughter to have a doll like this in a heartbeat! Although she does not need one, since she already pretends to nurse her baby dolls as it is. This just makes me crazy!

  37. Audrey says:

    I think the majority of you are probably mothers. In this day in age, when the world is already overpopulated and the high percentages of teen pregnancy, abortions, and of course all the children abandoned to garbage cans and hospitals…to see so many women approving of such a disgusting toy, well it doesn’t really surprise me. I mean look at yourselves…you go on popping out more kids from your already useless vaginas because you can’t fill your pointless lives with anything else. Why haven’t any of you adopted children? Have any of you ever even considered being a foster parent? You all spout all this humanitarian “bullshit” about how the toy is “natural” and harmless…when in reality you all are just as fucked up as the next person. American society is disgusting. Obese, consuming, selfish people who can’t look beyond the border and see that the world is shit. Why would you want your daughter enslaved to such a thing? You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Thank God, I have never been selfish enough to have children. When the time comes for me to think about adopting or fostering a child from the already millions of abandoned children here in America, the last thing on my mind will be toys that place a woman on her back, pregnant and barefoot…not to mention, spineless (cause we all know most of you women got pregnant to keep your man anyway). Instead, I will do my best to nourish them into intellectuals who see the world the way it truly is. This toy will do more harm to the psyche of that young girl then you can believe. Free your daughters from these backward chains and don’t support such an ignorant piece of plastic.

  38. Why are people so worked up about a doll? I hope its because they take offense that what is normal for us to be teaching our children, could potentially be being taught by a doll. The doll is not teaching a child anything that its own human mother should not have taught her own child…that breastfeeding is the normal, natural and standard way to feed a human baby.

    The first time I saw my daughter “breastfeed” her dolls, I knew her pristine impressions of healthy human mothering behavior were not one bit tainted by a pharmaceutical and an agenda. At three young years this kid knows more about the simplicities of motherhood than my bottle-fed self did when I decided to breastfeed her as an adult.

    As breastfeeding rates rise back into the “human normal” levels, don’t be surprised if every doll which is pretend-fed by a child is breastfed.

    Laura Gruber
    International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
    San Antonio, Texas

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