Breast is best … for dolls

SEX, periods, masturbating, the birth process… all natural rites of passage for most. But do children need to role play such things? No.

So, I feel, it should be with breastfeeding.

Breasfeeding is natural and I fully support women who won’t be locked up in the public loos to do it. But do children need to pretend they’re breastfeeding their dolls?


It makes me a bit sad though that I, and probably the majority, feel this way. Perhaps this underlying denial of the natural is what makes the fight for women’s rights to breastfeed in public so much harder.

If we lived in a society where public breastfeeding didn’t cause others discomfort, then we’d probably have no problem with “Breast Milk Baby”.

I breastfed both my children (not always successfully) and while I was confident that I was part of a “sisterhood” and sticking it to society, I also preferred being in a private parent’s room to feed and I did use a muslin wrap to cover up when a man was in the room.

What’s strange is that, in all the time I’ve spent in a room full of mother’s all breastfeeding, I don’t remember EVER actually seeing a nipple!

Perhaps the mere suggestion of bare-breasted women fiddling with their areolae is enough to make some weak at the knees, but I bet any mum intent on feeding a cranky, hungry or tired baby had better things on her mind than playing peek-a-boob with passers-by.

Power to the people and all that, but I found babies fed much better in private where I wasn’t tense I was being watched, or specifically ignored (and judged) by others. For non-mums, it’s best to relax if you want your milk to “let down” .

Would I have fed my children more satisfactorily if I wasn’t subjected to a social stigma? And, as I said earlier, would I feel differently about my children mimicking breastfeeding if there wasn’t a general air of disapproval for public feeding?

 Just as childbirth is natural but not pretty, breastfeeding is natural but not everyone needs to see it. And certainly we don’t need to see kids pretending to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding is not creepy, but that doll? That’s creepy.

Watch the clip, see what you think…

And if you’re still here… here’s a funny breastfeeding, “breaking the stigma” video clip starring none other than Barbie. Because, you know, those torpedo-shaped bazoombas are completely real.

 And yes, you did see Barbie breastfeeding while sitting on a toilet. Hmm.


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amber Miller
    Apr 04, 2011 @ 11:54:10

    Oh my God, that video is horrendous. I agree, it is very creepy. When I was breastfeeding my son, my five year old daughter often pretended to breastfeed her dolls. I am the biggest prude alive, and it was extremely embarrassing, but it felt so wrong to tell her to stop. So I put up with her putting pillows under her shirt pretending to be pregnant, as well as feeding her dolls. But there is no way I would ever buy her something like this. Barbie is the only one who can breastfeed twins and make it look glamorous. I am just glad she got that ring on her finger before reproducing…


  2. Glowless
    Apr 08, 2011 @ 16:26:09

    I don’t have a problem with children pretending to breastfeed. I don’t think role playing breastfeeding and role playing masturbation or sex fall in to the same category.
    Thanks for linking up to FYBF, I’ll be interested to see all the comments on this one, it can be such a divisive subject!


    • petajo
      Apr 10, 2011 @ 23:32:30

      I know – I did think I could get a lot of angry responses, but thought I ought to be honest with how I felt. Getting a lot of measured rebuttal – and who can ask for more than that?!


  3. Louisa
    Apr 09, 2011 @ 08:52:39

    Oh wow! I think you’ve done a good job of expressing your opinion respectfully here and thinking about why you feel the way you do. I’ll try to do likewise. I am thankful to be able to breastfeed, comfortable doing it in public and at the same time conscious of not making others feel uncomfortable by doing anything to ‘flaunt’ my freedom. I am always really happy to let children get up close and watch what’s happening when feeding as I feel it’s a powerful and healthy way to change the stigma in society; letting kids know that it’s normal and it’s not sexual. I’ve always loved the responses of children (even boys of 7-8yrs) who are just WOW that baby is EATING. Likewise I have no issue with my daughter pretending to feed her (many) dolls just as she pretends to bath, feed, cuddle, dress them etc… it’s part of the very normal child development process of copying the things their parents do – just like the days she goes off to “work” are normal.

    I think your awareness as to the cause of your discomfort is helpful but I wish you hadn’t put this in the same category as sex & mastubation which are both sexual acts. Periods & childbirth are also part of the reproductive world. Breastfeeding is not sexual.

    I’ve written about this a bit on my blog and if you’re interested you can see some of the posts here:

    Definitely unexpected reading for me tonight 🙂


    • petajo
      Apr 10, 2011 @ 23:38:41

      Thanks Louisa, I know there’ll be plenty of people who feel differently which I can understand. I, too, let my son be “involved” when I was breastfeeding my baby daughter. He watched and wanted to be close, and I didn’t want him to feel excluded (he was still very young). But I did feel uncomfortable, that’s just me, I guess. I know breastfeeding isn’t sexual, but my breasts have spent more years being sexual objects than as food sources. I actually had a breast reduction in my early 20s to stop them hurting my spine and to be known as someone other than “the chick with tits”. So perhaps I’m more sensitive on breast issues than some!

      Thanks again for your honest feedback and for not raking me over the coals!..xx


  4. katesay
    Apr 09, 2011 @ 09:07:30

    I have photos of my older kids breastfeeding their dolls when they were little. I treasure these pics because to me it was just part of our daily life that they were mimicking, as they would pretend to cook and play house.

    The big difference to me is that my kids were exposed to breastfeeding daily, they still are. To them it’s just part of life with a baby the same as changing nappies. This is their normal.

    They are not exposed to sex or masturbation nor should they be.

    Interesting post, I’ll be watching the comments too 🙂


    • petajo
      Apr 10, 2011 @ 23:45:18

      Thanks Kate – it’d be nice to say it was my “normal” here too, but sadly I had plenty of dramas breastfeeding (premmie baby and breast surgery in my 20s). Perhaps I shouldn’t have put it in the same category as sex and masturbation, but hindsight is a marvellous thing! I secretly (perhaps not so secretly now) love that your son was there when your baby was born. Which is weird, given my prudish-ness on breastfeeding dolls. That is an experience he’ll have for life, and a lesson many men won’t have before they become fathers!


  5. katesay
    Apr 09, 2011 @ 09:09:50

    I shoul probably add, my 7yo son was present for the homebirth of our baby and found it an amazing experience. And I know full well that that’s outside the comfort zone of many too 😉

    I guess I just hope that my kids see these processes as normal things that our bodies do 🙂


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