I first heard about the breastfeeding doll, which seemed to be causing quite an uproar in the parenting communities a while ago, and whilst I probably wouldn't buy the doll I didn't see the problem with its concept at all.
Yesterday it was featured on this morning, and daybreak UK morning television shows, the comments that followed these shows on the facebook pages shocked me, the comments were things such as:
'the doll will lower girls self esteem'
'its just creepy'
'teaching children things like this will increase under age pregnancies'
even some people going as far as to say 'you may as well let your children watch porn'
Breastfeeding is something I think gets seriously bad publicity, it seems no matter how you go about bringing it up in the media it always gets slandered, everyone shuns away from it and there are always people eager to say how sexual it is, or creepy or such like.
Its such a shame, when people say a doll 'sexulizes' young girls or 'makes them grow up too fast?' I disagree on both... a doll for a young girl is NOT making her too grown up, and Breastfeeding is NOT sexual... its terribly sad that anything breastfeeding related gets dismissed as 'an awful' invention.
I do understand not everyone can breastfeed, and a doll isn't telling you everyone should, its simply putting the other option in as much view as bottles, defending breastfeeding is a very very difficult thing to do because every time someone comments positively they get told they are being inconsiderate to those who were unable to breastfeed, which in turn mean positive breastfeeding gets absolutely no publicity or defence and that's why breastfeeding rates are so low.
It seems the breastfeeding doll is branded awful and creepy, sexualizing our girls and making them too grown up, yet their is no comment when popstars prance around in skimpy clothes singing songs which girls copy that are far from angelic!
Or boys get action men figures with guns to play with.
To say knowing about breastfeeding when young will lower self esteem is crazy, if anything it will give a girl confidence, she will be more aware that her body is not just a show for the male population, to say it will increase under age pregnancy is even worse, a breastfeeding doll is a role play toy, all children like to act out adult lives, dolls have been around for ever and just because you 'breastfeed' a doll will certainly not increase underage sex!
The main concern seemed to be that people simply thought children 'shouldn't know about these things!'
I breastfed all three of mine, and yes all my children know that mummys make milk, they all breastfed their dolls, and all hopefully have enough confidence and knowledge to not come across with such disillusioned views of breastfeeding when their older, but with the rate of breastfeeding at a all time low, even if they do manage to hold on to the view that it is ok to breastfeed and that a womens body is amazing for so many more reasons than to please a man, it will be a tiny drop in the ocean of those who are so anti breastfeeding, for whatever reason, be it simple uneducation, or resentment because their experience was not a positive one, whatever it may be there are far more children growing up without a positive impression of breastfeeding unfortunately the figures will continue to lower.
some interesting facts and statistics...
According to the World Health Organisation, which strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, breastfeeding reduces the risks of breast and ovarian cancer later in life, and helps women return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster.
According to a survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics in 2005, 35 per cent of British babies were being exclusively breastfed at one week,
21 per cent at six weeks, only seven per cent at four months and three per cent at five months.
3% at 5 months... and that is the reason that a breastfeeding doll is instantly frowned on.
Is it just me who is shocked and saddened at that figure