Friday, November 9, 2012

Breastfeeding doll

Every so often someone stumbles upon the infamous "breastfeeding doll" and throws a fit about it. For those of you who don't know, the doll is a baby that makes sucking noises while you nurse it. Any child with a breastfed sibling can attest to the fact that when they were younger, they tried to nurse their dolls, GI Joes, imaginary friends, what have you. I know that my younger sister and I spent many mornings watching cartoons, sitting in our rocking chairs or bean bags, nursing our dolls. It's all about normalization. If you try to make breastfeeding awkward and shameful, your child will grow up thinking that it's a weird, dirty thing to do. Someone I know posted on Facebook that she didn't want her child to ever play with this doll because it would blur the line between when that "act" is appropriate or inappropriate. Fun fact: It is NEVER inappropriate to feed your child. It is NEVER inappropriate to comfort your child. It is NEVER inappropriate to make normal things just that--NORMAL. We aren't supposed to shame our children when they are learning to use the "big boy/girl potty" lest they associate using the toilet with negative feelings. Doesn't it seem like making our children feel weird when they're just trying to feed their babies is ultimately a bad thing? We don't need anymore generations of parents under the impression that formula feeding is as good as breastfeeding. There are studies upon studies upon studies showing the shortcomings of formula and the perfection of breastmilk for babies. If we all know that breastmilk helps prevent all kinds of terrible illnesses and diseases (including diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers), it's time to recognize that the "battle" between breast and formula is unnecessary because it's not a lifestyle choice. This is a public health issue.