Does breastfeeding doll cross the line? - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Does breastfeeding doll cross the line?

(RNN) - Baby dolls now talk, move and even wet their diapers. But the latest one, called the Breast Milk Baby, takes dolls to a new level.

The doll simulates the act of breastfeeding, and is expected to hit U.S. stores very soon.

The child owner of the doll wears a halter top that holds two flower sensors where nipples would be. The sensors activate a suckling response in the doll when it is placed in contact with the flowers.

"Rag Dolls, Rubber Dolls, Black Dolls, Walking Dolls, Over proportioned Barbie Dolls, Talking Dolls, Tiny Tears Doll, Betsi Wetsy Doll, Baby That A Way, Anatomically correct dolls, pooping Dolls, Breast feeding Dolls, what's next ... Copulating Dolls? Just how far will the public let it go?" asked Alice Rigsby in response to a post on Columbus, GA's WTVM Facebook page.

The doll's manufacturer, Berjuan Toys, based in Spain, said in a news release they are committed to bringing the doll to U.S. markets after seeing high sales in Europe.

The company said it has generated more than $2 million in sales since the doll was first released four years ago.

Dennis Lewis, spokesperson for Berjuan Toys, told CNN the toy simply teaches nurturing skills.

"There's absolutely nothing sexual about breastfeeding," Lewis said. "It's good for mommies, it's good for babies, and it's good for society."

The doll is being criticized for "over sexualizing" young girls and for sending the message that it's OK to become pregnant at a young age. Child psychologist Ari Fox sees no reason for alarm in those regards.

"If anything, the doll might be one outlet for girls to identify with their mothers and explore their feelings about being a woman," Fox said. "At an age where children do not have the verbal and cognitive capacity to speak about their feelings and reflect the way most adults do, fantasy play is their form of expression. Through play, children explore and make sense of their internal and external world."

Supporters of the Breast Milk Baby say the toy could help eliminate the breastfeeding taboo.

"Breastfeeding in public in our society is still taboo, and if this will help get rid of that taboo, I say yes," Barbara Ball said to Charleston, SC, station WCSC. "I breast fed all of my four children and breastfeeding mothers should be supported, not made to feel shame for doing it. Breastfeeding and sex are two totally different things. The society mores needs to change so as to not associate a breastfeeding mother with sexual connotations."

But critics think it forces kids to grow up too fast.

"I absolutely know breastfeeding is the very best start a baby can receive. However, this 'toy' exposes girls to emotional and physical information at an age when they aren't yet ready to process the complexities involved," Dancin Dave said to WAFF in Huntsville, AL.

Fox believes the Breast Milk Baby is just an outlet for exploration, and while not being directly harmful he says it is not necessary to have a doll of its kind.

"The imaginative minds of many young children can engage in rich fantasy play without such a realistic aid, but I do not think such a product is detrimental," he said.

The doll is available in both genders and three different skin colors. The Breast Milk Baby is not cheap. It costs about $90.    

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