Beware of the Boobies

A breastfeeding doll is heading to the US after making a splash in Europe.

Don’t read this if you are easily freaked out by breasts.

Apparently, people can be really freaked out by breasts. Breasts can be titillating (deliberate word choice), but can also inspire panic and fear. Admittedly, panic and fear is not generally prompted by viewing of a Girls Gone Wild: Mardi Gras New Orleans Special! No, apparently, panic and fear are natural, visceral responses to a breast’s natural and visceral use, i.e. to feed a small person.

As you’ll recall, my husband J. and I will have our first anniversary this fall, but had our first child two weeks ago (it was a blissfully efficient honeymoon). So we’re pretty fond of each other and all in that newlywed, making-other-people-kind-of-sick way. We went out last night and had a lovely time. Driving home from the movies last night (it is going to be a rude awakening when the baby nurse leaves), I said to my husband, “You know, I get the strangest feeling that lately, you’re vaguely scared of my breasts.”

“What makes you say that?” he asked. Note: no denial. After some hesitation, he said, “Well, yes…I’m a little scared that they’re going to blow.”

“Hon, they’re breasts, not hand grenades,” I told him. But I could see where he’d make that mistake. Thanks to breastfeeding, the girls have turned into full-fledged Amazon women. They are fierce ladies who don’t want to be contained by any regular bra. Instead, they’re bound up into snap-and-trap-like contraptions that could be oddly erotic, in a dominatrix-y way…except for the fact that they are SO not.

The dichotomy between hot boobs and breastfeeding boobs is a gap that is approximately as wide as the Grand Canyon. Nursing is not erotic. And if you venture the opinion that it is, I have one Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump that will prove you wrong. My 6-year-old son came downstairs after being tucked in one night, only to find the woman formerly known as his mother on the couch, with bottles and suction materials poking out from a KKK-esque bustier she was sporting, nipples poking out of the eyeholes. His eyeballs nearly fell out of their sockets. Whatever bad dream he came downstairs to address, I’m pretty sure I topped it.

So that’s why I sort of understand the shock at the newest breastfeeding doll for little kids who want to be just like their Mommy. Two million Breast Milk Baby dolls have been sold in Europe already, and they’re coming to America. The doll, called Bebe Gloton, is made in Spain and comes with a halter top that the kid wears to nurse the doll. The halter has two little sensors where the nipples would be, and the doll, battery-powered, makes sucking sounds when its mouth comes near the ersatz nipple.

The “controversy” around this doll is whether it is “appropriate” for little girls to pretend to be nursing. According to Bill O’Reilly, this toy somehow forces girls to “grow up too soon.” Hmm. I’m not sure why this doll is controversial, while letting your 8-year-old walk around with the word “JUICY” on her ass is apparently totally okay with people.  I feel there are bigger battles to fight than this one.

Girls playing Mommy is a game that goes back to when kids had non-plastic toys that didn’t require batteries. I’m still not sure that a kid really needs a $70 doll that simulates breastfeeding in order to pretend…isn’t pretending a situation where less is more, when the ingredient of imagination is added?

What I really want to know is, when those little girls are pretending to breastfeed, do they have their teddy bear stand in for an older sibling, and say, “I’ll help you in ONE SECOND, Teddy…how many times do I have to say that? I need to feed your sister now! Be patient! Goddamn it, is that the phone ringing? How am I supposed to do EVERYTHING around here?”

Jordana Horn

Jordana Horn is a contributing editor to Kveller. She is a journalist, lawyer, writer, mother of five (pregnant with her sixth), travel aficionado, and self-declared karaoke superstar. Before her life got too crazy, she was the New York correspondent for the Jerusalem Post. She has written for numerous publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Forward and Tablet. She has appeared as a 'parenting expert' on NBC's TODAY Show and FOX and Friends. She enjoys writing about herself in the third person and, one far-off day when everyone is in school, hopes to get back to work on her novel.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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