We’ll soon see endless TV commercials about the hottest toys for your holiday shopping list.
But one new doll is raising eyebrows for how it mimics a very natural part of motherhood.
It’s called the Breast Milk Baby.
It has sold millions in Europe, but only 5,000 in the U.S. last year.
Its makers hope their second attempt here is much more successful–now that they’ve got more support and endorsements.
There are dolls that crawl. Dolls that go to the bathroom. Even one that gives birth.
But the Breast Milk Baby, made by Berjuan Toys, is feeding some controversy.
Children slip on a little top with petal appliqués at the nipples, which have sensors that set off a suckling noise when the doll’s mouth touches it.
We showed some moms the doll in action at Wash Park in Denver.
“I understand the concept of teaching children about nursing and raising awareness…But I think that’s something you learn in your environment [rather] than a doll bought at a store,” says one mom of three kids.
“I think it’s a good thing to promote breast feeding. I have a niece who is 2 years old with a new baby brother. She was doing it with one of her dolls,” says another mom.
A child therapist says the doll is more than a toy–it has adult-like implications.
“Are we preparing young girls to think of motherhood long before their maternal instincts, so to speak, kick in. And are we planting a seed that’s not quite ready to be there?” says Dr. Larry Curry.
Other critics say it sexualizes children.
But the U.S. spokesman for Berjuan Toys says the dolls promote nurturing skills they’ll need some day to raise their own children.
“It’s not an adult activity that needs to be hidden. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a natural, wholesome way to feed a baby. And if our dolls help people become more conscious of that as they grow up that would be good for babies, good for mothers, good for our community,” says Dennis Lewis.
The dolls come in eight versions and recently won a Dr. Toy Best-of-Year Award.
You can’t buy them in any U.S. store, but they are available on the company’s website.
They’re offering the $89 dolls at half-price right now.