Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Breast Milk Baby Nursed on Today


Kathie Lee and Andy Samberg with The Breast Milk Baby (video clips below)

This morning on Today, Kathie Lee pulled out the controversial petaled top and nursed her Breast Milk Baby on air, highlighting to viewers the innocent manner in which this breastfeeding doll works. While her co-host, Hoda, came at the subject with less admiration (using the world "weird" more than once), Kathie Lee made a number of clear and valid points in favor of children's normal mothering play - part of which involves the natural feeding of human babies. She says:
Nursing your child is the most natural thing in the world. Men don't believe it, but that really is the reason God gave women breasts - it is for the nurturing of your children.

[As for the dolls:] It's play. I've been to Europe a lot. And in Europe they have a very different attitude toward breastfeeding. They whip 'em out anywhere they are to feed their children, and I think that's a healthy thing. Here, you can grab a woman's breast or booty anywhere, but heaven forbid the mother try to feed her child. I think we really have things kind of screwed up.

I don't think there is anything wrong with teaching your child how to nurture a baby someday.

What's the difference between
[this and] playing with a Barbie who is fully 'matured' if you know what I mean...?
At first, when Bebé Glotón was released (2009) and some lactiphobic persons were in an uproar about the doll, I found it slightly peculiar, albeit laughable. Were people really this offended by a doll that mimics the normal feeding of a human baby - an act that is entirely beautiful, basic, and deserving of celebration and seeing, even by other 'babies' themselves? But this year, when the U.S. market version of the doll - The Breast Milk Baby - hit store shelves, we saw an even more frightening backlash against the suckling little doll. Maybe it is in part because we are so incredibly nipplephobic in this nation, while at the same time being extremely erotophobic, sexist, degrading - even of women by women [see: Female Chauvinist Pigs], all the while grossly confusing the nurturing, vital (for health and normal development) act of feeding our young vs. using (or abusing) the female breasts for non-essential means. (1) Really, the outcry surrounding The Breast Milk Baby mirrors a deep societal ill - one that reflects and impacts the psychological wellness of our adult population. The doll itself, however, does not phase or negatively impact our children.

Would I spend $100 on The Breast Milk Baby? No, probably not. My two year old nurses his (yes, his) babies just fine via imaginative play without the fancy petals, moving mouth, overly-hungry-cries, or hefty price tag. But, if someone gave my child the baby as a gift would I be put off and scared about what it may do to his developing psyche? Absolutely not. In fact, the more breastfeeding - of both real human babies and toy dolls - that children see, the better off they will be.

What other species would possibly negate and criminalize the normal feeding of their own young? What other mammal (defined as such due to our need of mother's milk) would ridicule children's play that imitates the most tender, most vital, most mothering act there is? By doing so, we are, in essence, committing species suicide - killing off our own, through the slow, painful death of degeneration, disattachment, and illness (acute and chronic), generation upon generation. (2, 3, 4) If our children cannot break free from this absurd state of lactiphobic, disattached parenting, their own youth are in for even bigger problems. When breastmilk and nursing are no longer at the center of the mother-baby relationship, all else built upon that crucial time in life is constructed on unsteady ground. (5, 6, 7)

So, kudos to you, Kathie Lee. For standing up in defense of play that imitates something many gently parented little ones the world over dearly love and need: the feeding of babies close to our heart.

video

Related Reading:

Bebé Glotón: The Breastfeeding Doll

Bye-Bye Baby: Bebé Glotón SOLD OUT Worldwide

**Win a Free Breast Milk Baby** (May Contest)

Nursing a Costco Receipt

Breastfeeding Resource Page (books, websites, articles)

video

Notes:


1) Levy, Ariel, (2006). Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture.

2) Gerhardt, Sue, (2004). Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain.

3) Heller, Sharon, (1997). The Vital Touch: How Intimate Contact With Your Baby Leads To Happier, Healthier Development.

4) Palmer, Linda, (2009). The Baby Bond: The New Science Behind What's Really Important When Caring for Your Baby.

5) Small, Meredith, (1999). Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent.

6) Grille, Robin, (2006). Parenting for a Peaceful World.

7) Liedloff, Jean. (1986). The Continuum Concept: In Search Of Happiness Lost.



31 comments:

  1. I wish they had this when i was a kid!!!I think its awesome!!! Nothing wrong with kids pretending to be their #1 role models, and its the best introduction to them and a early start on not only whats NORMAL but what is healthly for babies, so I think its a great doll!! Kudos to Kathie Lee for standing uP!!

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  2. Celeste I completely agree with you.

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  3. Andy Samberg kinda resembles Brendan Fehr

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  4. I am currently pregnant and have a seven year old. This would be great for us to do together...her with the play doll and me with the real baby. I think this would help her understand what is going on and to feel a part of it somewhat. Maybe my husband would even like to try! :)

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  5. Yeah, I was in a first aid class not long ago. Now, my first ever first aid class, I was 14, and there was one other girl in the room... they actually got after me for playing with the baby doll. I even carried one around that I got one Christmas when I was like 11.

    Anyway, most recently I was in a room with some of my fellow Early Childhood Education classmates, and about 98% of us cuddled the baby dolls intended to show how to perform first aid & CPR on an infant... some even tucked the doll's arm under theirs as if holding the baby's cheek to their chest. I was like, YES! I belong! I've found my tribe! :D

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  6. Thank you Kathie Lee for commenting so eloquently on why there is truly nothing wrong with a doll that mimics a baby nursing. Also for sharing your own memories of your own nursing relationships with your babies. We need more of this positive support in our popular media. Breastfeeding is not only good for mamas and their babies but also for society as a whole.

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  7. I want to thank Kathie Lee for putting this out there. I hate that all dolls come with bottles or big boobs that sexualize them. It's nice to know there is an option for a doll that does what nature intended so my daughter can see it. I automatically throw out baby doll bottles when she gets a doll from someone because we breastfeed in this home and I don't want her to think bottles are normal.

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  8. Children mimic what they see. They grow up with a mom who bottle feeds? They bottle feed their dolls. They grow up with a mom who breastfeeds, they also breastfeed their dolls. The natural part isn't even the breastfeeding part, it is the part where a child naturally mimics the behaviors they see around them. They pretend play. THAT is completely normal AND natural. No different than pretending to cook in the kitchen because they see their parents do that every day.

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  9. Breastfeeding is THE only normal way to feed babies. Medically formula is "artificial milk" AND if a little girl mimicking breastfeeding is "sexual" then my three year old is totally a pervert. Breast is normal and best for babies, and I would like my kids to mimic that just like I want them to mimic my healthy eating habits, active life style and respect for the earth.

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  10. Breastfeeding is completely natural and the way we were meant to feed our babies. Period. It is the far superior nutrition for a baby. I can't imagine any of my children not knowing that Mommys feed their babies with their breasts. It is the most natural thing in the world, hence the reason babies are born with the rooting reflex.

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  11. Just a reminder... If breastfeeding is something that is sexual and not appropriate for children to witness or imitate... Baby dolls with bottles are simply baby dolls with dildos.

    Most places in the world breasts are NOT seen as sexual, there was a very large study on this a while back which asked men of many cultures what parts of the woman's body was sexually attractive. The butt, vulva, thighs, were common responses. Breasts only ranked as a sexual part of the body in a few.

    God forbid a child pretend to use her breasts for their appropriate purpose before they get dressed up and dance to a song on the radio cupping them or shaking her chest mimicking the objectification she sees all around her...

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  12. Thank you for featuring the Breastmilk Baby. It seems that some people forgot that we did survive as a species before the invention of artificial human milk. I am glad to see a trend in going back to what is natural and fostering in our children the idea that breastfeeding is normal, natural and healthy.

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  13. every little kid with a nursing sibling mimics nursing their dolls - its so sweet!!

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  14. For those against a nursing baby doll, are you also against all mimic/pretend play? Play kitchens, play tool sheds, playing of 'house', the feedings of babies using bottles, the changing of baby dolls clothing and diapers? How about boys and girls dressing up as nurses, doctors, lawyers, firemen/firewomen, police officers? For those who think breastfeeding is just like sex, do you see a bottle being just like a penis?

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  15. Judging by the comments of most of the nipple phobics on the Kathie Lee and Hoda page, they tend to think this doll might encourage teen pregnancy or even earlier pregnancy. That it will encourage pedophiles or perverts to get the wrong idea about a child. It's not a breastfeeding doll that encourages promiscuity and indecent behavior, it's the overly sexualised teen stars on ads, music videos, the DISNEY channel and the social acceptance of such a disgusting display that makes it seem like sex=cool. This breastfeeding doll places normality on the natural act of feeding your baby. It encourages nurturing and care. I for one, would love to raise a child who plays with their dolls like it was one of their own.

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  16. Thank you, Kathie Lee, for being a voice of reason regarding this breastfeeding doll controversy. The fact that there's even a controversy to speak of speaks volumes of how screwed up this country is when it comes to the way we perceive breastfeeding. Breasts are NOT sexual objects! Women have them for one reason: to feed their babies. No one has a problem with little girls playing with baby dolls. They are, in essence, pretending to be mothers. Well, breastfeeding is at the foundation and core of motherhood.

    Why is it OK for little girls to emulate all other aspects of motherhood, but not actually feeding her baby the normal way? Why is everyone saying we may as well just give little girls an anatomically correct set of dolls and let her play sex, when those types of comments are never made about regular old baby dolls?

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised at some people's reaction. We live in a country where womens' bodies are viewed as being solely for the use (abuse) and enjoyment of men, sex is horribly distorted via hollywood and the ad and porn industries, and we've been duped by the formula industry into believing that formula feeding is equivalent to breastfeeding, such that breastfeeding is seen as just an option, not the norm.

    Everyone who feels so strongly that it's inappropriate for little girls to pretend to breastfeed a baby (yet, you're OK with her pretending to bottle-feed a baby) need to go protest that push-up bra being marketed to 8-year-olds.

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  17. Breasts are for feeding babies. Breast stimulation is def not necessary for conception or sex! However they are necessary for normal feeding of a newborn...so what is their primary purpose? Feeding!

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  18. To all breastfeeding doll haters: Breastfeeding is the most natural thing for a baby. I find it odd that society can have hundreds of commercials on television sexualizing a woman's body but when it comes down to using a women's breasts for what they were INTENDED for, people get creeped out. That really bothers me. God gave women breasts to feed their children with. There is nothing unnatural or disturbing about this.

    I'm tired of this Similac nation - give the baby a bottle to shut them up. No, take the time to nurse your child and do the right thing and the best thing for them. Babies who nurse are proven to be more intelligent and healthier. There is nothing wrong promoting breastfeeding to children. It helps them understand what makes a boy and a girl different and WHY a woman has breasts to begin with. Those who think the doll isn't 'right' need to grow up.

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  19. Well said said Melody! I would have said the same, but am sick of banging my head against the wall trying to get people to understand that formula is really a huge health risk and many of today's health issues can be clearly linked to bottle feeding. All I feel I can do anymore is just feed my son well (3 years old last Friday and still breastfeeds to sleep). Thanks for putting yourself out there!

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  20. Agree, my daughter, who I nursed for two and a half years, will be walking across the stage this Saturday at University of Wisconsin, to accept her Bachelors Degree in Education. And those who think its disgusting - have they tried to drink a cup of that soy based smelly sh**?

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  21. i was about to say that this doll isn't even available in the states but i just checked Amazon and they have it backordered until November for $118. nuts! Like it or not that is just crazy to me.

    but yes I agree breastfeeding is natural and we should promote it. I don't think anything is wrong with it - its not like the toy has big 'ol boobs hanging!! Watching KLG with the doll it looked like little flat flower like nipples - that is so funny because I'm currently breastfeeding and that is NOT how it is!! LOL

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  22. Yea! I missed yesterday's show, but thanks for the shout out for Breastfeeding! For those who breastfeed, a doll to "demystify" or normalize what is completely natural (and preferable for the healthiest start to life) is refreshing!

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  23. Showing dolls only drinking from a bottle is "just wrong". Why is this the "normal" when we are not designed to feed our children this way?

    Do we shield our child's eye from a nursing animal at the zoo? Is that wrong, too?

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  24. Hoda isn't a mother, so it is harder for her to understand. I think that is the problem, people without children making judgments on things they simply do not understand.

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  25. Someone on the KL&H page made a comment about the need to teach our children manners. It is true, and the 2 concepts go hand in hand... when you breastfeed, a child's needs are met with compassion and love. Children fed in this manner generally have better temperaments due to the emotional and nutritional benefits of human breast milk.

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  26. i LOVE andy samberg! i thought it was so cute and sweet to watch him gently cuddle the baby doll. it didn't seem like he was making fun of the doll. in a way i think he was making fun of people who thought it was weird. it's so nice to see men being supportive of breast's utilitarian functions. so now i love him even more! ♥♥♥!!!

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  27. Wow, I did not see the segment, but my opinion of Kathie Lee just went up! I would probably not buy the doll myself just because my kids already "nurse" their less expensive dolls, and I think it is great that they are learning that it is how you feed a baby.

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  28. It's nice to see for once that they don't make you associate babies to bottles. :D

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  29. Gah, I have to agree with Kathie Lee on something! Anyway, even if not for this doll, children will pretend to nurse stuffed animals and things like that. My sons have even done it.

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  30. I (still) think the doll is a silly gimmick (since we don't nurse our babies over our clothes, nor do my kids need a *special* toy - they nurse every doll and animal they have!)....

    BUT I do applaud Kathie Lee for her statements. If only more people would "sell" normalcy...

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  31. Oh wow, I've never really been a big Kathie Lee fan but I think I love her now! That was great! I still think the doll is silly only because we don't buy dolls that require batteries. My girls "nurse" their babies with their real boobs and a little imagination.

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