August 7, 2009

Parents wary of breastfeeding doll

Some U.S. parenting Web sites have criticized a Spanish doll that simulates breastfeeding as inappropriate and a possible contributor to early sexual activity.

The parenting groups said the Bebe Gloton doll, which comes wearing a halter top with detachable flowers over the nipples for simulated breast-feeding, is not appropriate for young children and could promote sexual activity at too young an age, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Friday.

However, some breastfeeding advocates have come to the defense of the doll, which is not yet available in the United States.

Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, said Kathy Poehlmann, a co-owner of Be By Baby, an alternative parenting store in Chicago. It's not a sexual activity. It's the act of feeding a child.

Loretta McCallister, a spokeswoman for breastfeeding support group La Leche League International, based in Schaumburg, Ill., described the doll as very cute.

Little girls always want to do what their mommies are doing, and many of our mothers have told us -- even before this doll -- that girls would just take (their own dolls) and put it skin to skin to pretend to do the same thing mommy does, McCallister said.