Little girls of a certain age like to play mommy. They like to have dolls that do all kinds of things real babies do. They like to comfort them when they cry. They like to change their wet diapers. They like to feed them.
Well, apparently the *way* some little girls like to feed their dolls is causing consternation on this side of the pond, even though this particular doll is not available at brick and mortar stores in the States, yet. It’s a Spanish product called Bebé Glotón.
This baby doll does not come with a bottle. It comes with a cute little halter top with flowers positioned where a little girl will someday have a woman’s breasts. That’s the offending top, right there. ->->->
I think the problem for Americans might be that there is a sensor embedded in the flowers that allows the baby to suckle when brought close, like a baby would if it were nursing. Many baby dolls also are equipped to do this when you put a bottle in their mouths. Some complain this is inappropriate; that it somehow sexualizes little girls. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas affiliated pediatrician Chris Dreiling spoke with Matt Thomas and I today on KRLD about the controversy.
Whether you buy your little girl a Bebé Glotón, or not, is completely up to you, of course. Heck, I wouldn’t buy this doll ($120? Really?). Little girls who were nursed or have seen younger siblings nurse will likely put any old doll up the their shirt to imitate mommy feeding a baby. Little girls who’ve only seen babies bottle feed will likely bottle feed their dolls. My daughter alternately nursed and bottle fed her babies, just as she was alternately nursed and bottle fed.
However, I think the fact that this children’s toy upsets people is important to note. The outrage over the fact that the doll even *exists* is misplaced and, frankly, disconcerting. I don’t see how a little girl pretending to nurse a doll is growing up any faster than a little girl who pretends to feed a bottle to her doll. In the end, both little girls are likely going to burp their dolls, then change their dirty diapers.
Having been through that phase with my own real, live baby doll, I can tell you (and if you’re reading this article, you probably also know this, from experience), there are few things that are less sexy.
ETA-Since reading Oana’s comment I’ve poked around a bit. If we want to talk about sexualizing girl children, let’s not talk about a little girl pretending to nurse her baby, an asexual act by definition. Let’s talk about the Abercrombie & Fitch padded, push-up bikini top targeted at the under-ten set. I understand they’ve withdrawn this item in the face of intense criticism, but what, what, what? Speechless.
BTW, if you are pregnant and have not yet experienced the joys and challenges of keeping your infant nourished, no matter how you do it, Pea in the Podcast has a couple of audio shows you can listen to on your computer of your iPod. There is one on breastfeeding and one on bottle feeding, and info from both should help you if you choose to combination feed (some human milk and some cow’s milk formula). I hope you find them imformative and useful! -b