A controversial new doll is leaving some parents wishing for the good old Cabbage Patch days.
A Spanish toymaker known as Berjuan has developed a breast-feeding doll that comes with a special halter top its young “mothers” wear as they pretend to breast-feed their “babies.” The halter top has daisies that cover the little girls’ nipples and come undone just as easily as the flaps of a nursing bra would.
The doll — called Bebe Gloton, which translates as “gluttonous baby” — makes sucking noises as it “feeds.”
Like many other dolls, Bebe Gloton can cry, signaling she wants more milk.
Although many health care providers promote the benefits of breast-feeding, parents around the world have criticized Berjuan, saying the idea of breast-feeding is too grown-up for young children — and may even promote early pregnancy.
“That’s not cool,” Lori Reynolds, of El Paso, Texas, told KFOXTV.com. “No, I would never get that for my child.”
But other moms said they support the product.
“I think that it’s great that people want to have a doll that promotes breast-feeding,” said Rose Haluschak, also of El Paso. “Most dolls that are purchased come with a bottle. That is the norm in society, an artificial way to feed your baby.”
Dr. Manny Alvarez, managing health editor of FOXNews.com, said although he supports the idea of breast-feeding, he sees how his own daughter plays with dolls and wonders if Bebe Gloton might speed up maternal urges in the little girls who play it.
“Pregnancy has to entail maturity and understanding,” Alvarez said. “It’s like introducing sex education in first grade instead of seventh or eighth grade. Or, it could inadvertently lead little girls to become traumatized. You never know the effects this could have until she’s older.”
Alvarez said breast-feeding reduces childhood infections, strengthens maternal bonding and increases the child’s immune system. But introducing breast-feeding to girls young enough to play with dolls seems inappropriate, he said.
“What’s next?” wrote Eric Ruhalter, a parenting columnist for New Jersey’s Star Ledger. “Bebe Sot — the doll who has a problem with a different kind of bottle, and loses his family, job and feelings of self-worth? Bebe Limp — the male doll who experiences erectile dysfunction? Bebe Cell Mate — a weak, unimposing doll that experiences all the indignation and humiliation of life in prison?
“Toy themes should be age appropriate. I think so anyway.”