04 March 2013

Finally! An opinion on the breastfeeding doll...

I want to start off by saying - I don't know how to feed a baby using a bottle! The NICU nurses all had a good laugh at that when they handed me my breastmilk in a bottle to feed Little C and I sat there in a totally confused state. Here I have an almost 3 year old and haven't the slightest clue how to give a baby a bottle. But why would I? Bottles were for DH or my mom to use when I wasn't available to feed. If I was there, I didn't need a bottle.

That being said, when the drama over the breastfeeding doll first hit the internet waves, I really had no opinion. (Shocking, I know) I guess I really didn't see why we needed a doll specific for breastfeeding since a girl could just mock breastfeed any doll, but I also though people who were infuriated by it had too much time on their hands. I really didn't think anything had to be said - the doll was what it was.

That has all changed since having my second daughter.

You see, traditional baby dolls all come with bottles. You can even buy extra bottles on their own as accessories. I have never pitched a fit or marched on my high horse about people buying Miss O bottles to go with her baby dolls. As someone who never played with baby dolls myself, I simply accepted it as part of the business.

Once Little C came along, however, I found myself at odds with Miss O over feeding time. The poor kid could not understand why I wouldn't feed the baby. The baby was going to starve. Why couldn't she, Miss O, help feed the baby? I was a TERRIBLE mother. Hence, I ended up in the middle of a largely one-sided conversation about breastfeeding with a rather irrational 2 year old. Thankfully, Miss O is quite wise and, upon close observation, finally accepted I was, in fact, feeding the baby and the baby would not starve due to my lack of parenting skills.

Suddenly, I realized why a breastfeeding doll wasn't all that bad an idea. In fact, if I have to accept society's passive aggressive attempts at showing my daughter how "natural" bottle feeding is, then I think the rest of society should have to accept a doll that encourages something MORE natural. I now appreciate that there is a product out there that demonstrates the other side of the feeding-fence and would eliminate the need for me to explain away the bottle. Why am I explaining away a bottle anyway? Why am I forced to explain to my daughter why I don't use bottles? Shouldn't it be the other way around? Shouldn't we have to explain the situations for using a bottle? Or, at the very least, live in an equal-opportunity world?

For those who think a breastfeeding doll is sexualizing young girls, I challenge them to consider how they feel about bikinis for babies. Heck, they should consider how they feel about giving young girls dolls with bottles. If the act of caring for a baby doll is not sexualizing a little girl (and I think most rational people would agree it is not) then the act of feeding a baby is not sexualizing either. Pardon me, but I firmly believe if you support baby dolls with bottles you MUST support baby dolls who breastfeed, especially if, as a nursing mother, I am to support your right to choose bottles.

Basically, what this all boils down to is that we've now included our daughters in our "mommy wars." Don't we have anything better to do?

As a proud mama, I would like to add that this morning, Miss O nursed her baby C doll, "just like mama." Well done, kid, well done.

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