Friday, May 4, 2012

Shave the Baby?

Two of my good friends recently had a beautiful baby boy.  I went to the hospital to meet the little guy, and while visiting, the conversation somehow turned to a children's doll called "Breast Milk Baby."  I found the idea fascinating, so I did some Googling and found that this doll was a point of controversy about a year ago.  This is how it works:  The child puts on a top that has fake nipples with sensors.  When the doll's mouth comes in contact with the sensor, it makes a suckling noise.  I've inserted the promotional video from the doll's website below.

I'm trying to piece together how I feel about this doll.  The makers of the doll argue that it is appropriate and necessary because it explains what mommy is doing when she breastfeeds, and because it encourages little girls to make the decision to breastfeed in the future.

I myself had a "Baby Alive" doll when I was little.  It cried and ate and pooped.  I tossed the doll around, occasionally gave it a bottle of water, and refused to change its diapers.  Had my "Baby Alive" been a real baby, CPS would have taken it away within hours.  I don't think the doll had any profound impact on my future parenting decisions.  At least, I hope not.

My issue lies not with the idea behind doll, but with the flowered nipple bikini top, and the doll's cost of $69.99.  It is simple cost/benefit analysis.  I have no problem with a little girl imitating mommy and pretending to breastfeed their baby doll, or stuffed Elmo, or the family dog.  I just don't think it's necessary to spend 70 bucks on a doll made specifically for that purpose.  And while breastfeeding is a natural and beautiful thing, so is sex, and we don't target toddlers with dolls used to directly influence their future sexual decisions (i.e. baby doll condom accessories to encourage future safe sex).  That's because toddlers are not equipped to make such decisions, nor should they be.  (I'm sure some will argue that all toys are used to influence the future decisions of toddlers.  I'm not getting that philosophical).

Overall, I think this toy is harmless and depends on the personal preference of the parent.  There are certainly legitimate arguments for the practicality of "Breast Milk Baby," unlike "Shave the Baby," which has no practical value whatsoever.

I sure as hell don't want to encourage my future child to bring a razor blade near their baby sibling, even if my hypothetical second born does show up with a curly red under-beard and matching fur shinguards.  

I can shave my own baby thank you very much.


  1. I think I want--nay, need--Baby Shave the Ginger. That and a few beers would make for an interesting night.

    1. Shave the Ginger. Such a classic party game.