If you have kids and you’ve breastfed in front of them, chances are, your toddler mimics.
Now a Spanish doll, under the guise of teaching little ones that breastfeeding is normal, is trying to capitalize on lactivism.
Problem is, the Bebé Glotón makes breastfeeding seem more unnatural and strange than a natural human process. One commentator, MSNBC’s Dr. Nancy, went so far as to say it “set back feminism 150 years.”
Here’s how this little glutton feeds:
- A girl, theoretically, puts on a halter top.
- The halter top–no joke–features pasties meant to represent nipples.
- The gluttonous baby cries when it’s hungry.
- Girl puts baby to “breast” to feed it. Glutton baby sucks loudly while she nurses.
- Once baby is full and you pat its back, it lets out a large, disgusting belch.
Here’s my problem with the doll: putting on a special shirt hardly teaches a kid about breastfeeding. No, I don’t think it sexualizes breastfeeding any more than a poster featuring a toddler pretend breastfeeding does. (Stop sexualizing natural processes, and you won’t see it this way, folks!)
I also don’t believe it sets back feminism. Encouraging natural processes, no matter how weird the campaign may be, isn’t anti-woman or anti-feminist. If our progress as women is so fragile that it could be shattered by some freakish toy, we’re in big trouble, ladies.
However, wearing a halter top with pasties is not natural. It’s not the normal way to feed a hungry infant. The doll’s sounds, the pasties, the age group targeted in the commercial? All wrong.
And the silly doll is simply encouraging parents to buy more “stuff”, and plastic stuff at that.
Let your kid put her own favorite baby doll up her shirt and “breastfeed”. The mimicry–the interest–that is normal.
Hat tip: I first saw this on Thingamababy, and was reminded of it when a horrified friend sent me a link to Jezebel’s story.
How about an objection to the fact that the breastfeeding dolls name is Baby Glutton? Breastfeeding is not gluttony? That is one of the most offensive names I have every heard. Dolls that piss are not called Bebe Incontinent.
Cate Nelson says
My Spanish is rusty; out of practice for a few years, and it’s been over a decade since proper lessons. But what I’ve read at other sites it that “gloton” is actually an endearing term for little ones in Spain. I should have addressed this in my post, but then I wouldn’t have received that awesome comment!
I totally agree. My kids (boys mind you 😉 have no problem nursing regular old stuffed animals and cloth dolls we already have…no need for more plastic.
I don’t really get the halter top. Why wouldn’t they just hold it to their chest? You know-good old imagination! lol
Maybe I’m insensitive or something but to me it pays a homage to the closeness between a Mother and a child.
I don’t know how many repititions of the “act” would happen before the little girl gets bored of using the doll that way.
If you want to get a little paranoid. Imagine you bought one of these dolls for your daughter.
Later on, at a play date with a number of little girls, your daughter pulls out this doll and they all take turns with it.
Just as the last girl is getting her turn, in comes one of the children’s parents and this parent is one of those crazy drama people.
Just like the nut jobs who think this is some kind of perversion and they would never purchase the toy, imagine if they came to pick up their child and they saw them doing that?
1001 petals says
I think the haltar top contains sensors that tell the doll to start nursing.
I don’t understand what the big deal is with this doll.
I don’t see the big deal with the doll. I think my 2 yr. old would LOVE this doll. I’m not saying I’m running out to get it, but I think I get the attraction to it. Yea, your children can just use any doll that they have, but it is cute that it makes those extra noises to accompany pretend nursing play.
And yea, it’s odd that you put ON a halter to nurse, but that’s gotta be where the sensors are. My DD would love the suckling noises to accompany her pretend play. Also, we all know that BF babes don’t need much burping, but it’s a cute addition.
Yea, don’t really get why people are freaking out about it. But then, I’ve extended nursed two kids, as have my mama friends, so maybe BF-ing has become totally normal to me (in fact, bottle-fed babies surprise me more at this point!).
Okay…this comment is coming from a person who breastfed until her child self weaned at 4.5 years of age.
I personally think this doll is great. I most likely wouldn’t buy it, as I’m on a mission to NOT buy stuff, less is more, and all that, but I’m really excited to see a breastfeeding doll.
It is soooooooooo confusing to my child that all her dolls come with bottles and such. Her grandmother has a doll that makes those same noise using a bottle. My child would understand this doll so much more. She would get that the halter top is to give her “na na” like mama. She would NOT think it strange, and either would I.
Cate Nelson says
Okay, Corey. I can get that. The bottle-fed baby doll versus breastfed baby doll. Get it. I understand.
But most toddlers I know do this on their own, without more “stuff”.
And what I’ve been wondering: Hasn’t the technology gotten better at ALL in the 25 years since I had a noise-making doll? This sounds no better than the babies I had as a kid. When, according to Sharon above in the comments, they should have been called “Baby Incontinent.” 😉
Cate Nelson says
Oh–and maybe I should have posted this IN the blog, but I fully support breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding. I consider myself a lactivist.
But not so sure that setting aside creative, imaginative free play for an instructional doll is the best for kids.
When I was a kid, I so enjoyed being a kid and having parents who handled all the grownup stuff. I played with dolls but at a kid level. This is too much to put on a little girl who is not sexually mature, emotionally or physically.
It might be good to use the dolls in high schools to show girls that age what they would get into if they got pregnant. Make them stay in a room by themselves with this doll for four hours and they’ll move on from early sex real quick!
I thought I did comment that I wouldn’t buy it because I believe less is more…so I am in agreement with you on that. and my daughter does do this on her own, but I do like the idea of this option being out there for breastfeeding families. 🙂
regarding Terry’s comment about it being too much to put on a little girl, I doubt anyone would buy this for their child unless they already had interest in breastfeeding their other dolls and such.
This is bazare, and not age apporpirate! I have a child that age, and it is sad what we will do in America to sell,sell,sell!! This doll is crazy, and I laugh at the people who are actually going to purchase it.
Cate Nelson says
Did you read my blog? I’m not against it for any other purpose besides that the doll itself IS creepy. It’s a crap toy. It’s more “stuff”.
I don’t think is sexualizes breastfeeding. I don’t think it’s bad for girls. I just think it’s a POC toy.
Let your children pretend to breastfeed on their own, without more plastic electronic stuff!
I am a lactivist, as you would see if you read my blog history. (Or follow me on Twitter, which has been wonderfully fun in the lactivism dept this week.)
Ife, I could direct you to someone truly in need of “shaming breastfeeding” help, but I won’t post that link here, because there would be some serious head/desk action going on, and I don’t want to cause injuries. (Seriously!)
Ife B. says
One of my sisters sent me this link to your article which also prompted me to write one of my own for my column.
This doll and what it’s simulating is not creepy. Women breast feed their infants all the time and older siblings observe and mock behavior. That’s a natural part of the learning process. The doll’s design is not overly detailed which makes it fine for a child to have in my opinion. Stop the shame on breast feeding!
Perry Peck says
So if they can make a buck they will sell anything with no thought about being right or wrong…
the BEBE GLOTON ( BREASTFEEDING DOLL ) is available on eBay, Amazon or http://www.bebegloton.us
bad news BEBE GLOTON the breastfeeding doll is almost sold out there are a few left on eBay and Amazon but the manufacturer said that sells went through the roof this month and he won’t have more available until February.
Love this doll! My only suggestion would be to put the play bra on UNDER clothes, that would be more realistic anyway. Also, I don’t like the flower “nipples” but, hey, I didn’t design it! If I had, it wouldn’t have needed a receptor, it would just have been activated by positioning, and it wouldn’t have been as loud.