Dolls that breastfeed and the lies lactating women tell: What do you think?
Today was day 1 of my new semi-regular gig on a local radio show. While I have a lot to say about the show itself -- the host is also Boston-bred, lives in my community, yet we share very little of the same opinions -- we'll save that for another day. I want to discuss today's topic.
Move over hoochie Barbie and your scantily clad counterparts, there's a new doll on the market...
That's right, this little baby gets her milk from 8-year-old girls.
Am I buying it for my daughter? Probably not.
But do I feel like it's the worst toy to hit the shelves? Uhhh, no. Especially not when you can grab yourself a trio of Jersey Shore dolls three aisles down or ruin your daughter's body image with one of several Monster High dolls (I don't even want my husband around those trashy broads).
The host, let's call him Joe, was concerned that the doll would introduce breastfeeding to girls way too young. As if the same girls wouldn't see a real live person -- whether it be a relative, friend's mom or stranger -- feeding her own child? Besides, let's just say that the doll was the first time a child saw anything relating to breastfeeding... is that the end of the world? "Yes Susie, that is how some moms have fed their children since the beginning of time." The end.
Then, there was the one caller (who breastfed her children until around 3 and a half years old) who called the lactation-obsessed babies "unnecessary." Of course they're unnecessary! So are 90% of toys and games out there today. But, in my opinion, if a mom can privately breastfeed her preschoolers, who are we to judge that another mom might want to buy a doll that emulates breastfeeding? It could maybe come in handy when the mom has to spend 20 hours a day feeding baby brother or sister, making the older child feel neglected. Just sayin'.
But the comment from a Web watcher (because yes, there is streaming video happening during this radio show) is the one that really got me. After I made the point that we also have dolls that emulate peeing and pooping, Berta commented that those bodily functions would actually deter a girl from wanting a baby, but the "natural" act of breastfeeding creates a bond that would encourage them to have a baby.
What the WHAT? Sure, breastfeeding is a bonding experience. But do we really think that little girls even understand that? And do you really think they would then go have sex in order to get it? But what bothered me even more about her comment is yet another 'breastfeeding is easy and natural' declaration.
Sure, I breastfed two of my kids. But it was anything but natural at first! I remember the excruciating pain... how I felt like a cow and how weird it was... and how, for months, breastfeeding pulled me away from family parties and the ability to be in public without having to leave or get scowled at. And did I mention how painful and awkward it was at first?
I think it's comments about breastfeeding being so natural and easy that does women a serious disservice. How many women have thought that, 'If this is supposed to be so natural, I must be the only woman who is absolutely miserable and must be doing it wrong.' As if a new mom needs more of a reason to feel like she's failing. And of course, once she's feeling truly defeated, she gives up breastfeeding entirely. And you know what happens then... everyone and her mother, who weren't there to honestly support her, is suddenly on a tirade, judging her for giving up and accusing her of not doing what's "best" for her baby.
Which brings me to my question...
Do you agree that breastfeeding comes naturally and easily to women and their babies? I want to know!