Adults have been preparing little kids for adulthood in wacky ways for generations. When I was in grade school, I had to coddle a bag of sand for two weeks, pretending it was my baby. My friends had to take care of an egg, making sure not to drop and break it.
Now, a Spanish company is bringing a breast-feeding doll for kids to the United States. The Breast Milk Baby works by making motions and suckling sounds when a sensor in its mouth gets close to a flowery halter top the child wears while “breast-feeding.”
The doll has already seen success in Europe, generating more than $2 million in sales for its maker, Berjuan Toys, since the doll was first released in Spain four years ago.
But the reception in the United States has been mixed.
Berjuan Toys’ U.S. spokesman, Dennis Lewis, told BlogPost on Monday that reactions to the doll have been 75 to 80 percent positive stateside.
“Once people sit down and think about it, there’s nothing controversial about it,” Lewis said.
Some of the support has come from breast-feeding advocates, who say the doll helps children learn about how to feed a baby in a natural way.
But parents interviewed by “Good Morning America” were split on the issue.
SNL comedian Andy Samberg played with the doll on the “Today” show, joking “I found this little lady backstage and she seemed starving so I’m doing my duty!” Some parents didn’t find it all that funny.
And on a recent episode of “The O’Reilly Factor,” Bill O’Reilly criticized the doll, saying, “I don’t like it. . . . There’s a lot of harm being done to children.” A guest on the show agreed, saying, “It grosses me out.”
“I guess ‘fair and balanced’ doesn’t go for baby dolls,” Lewis said of O’Reilly’s reaction.
Berjuan also responded to the criticism by making a parody video that joked: “Although this appears to be the showroom for a respectful toy manufacturer with over 40 years’ experience creating quality children’s toys, in reality this is the top-secret underground headquarters for [a] subversive organization.”
The doll will appear at U.S. retailers after being presented at a trade show in Las Vegas next week.