In case you missed them, there were two unsettling breast- feeding stories in the news this past week: one, that a woman in North Dakota has managed to avoid jail time but had her baby taken away from her for breastfeeding while apparently drunk, and the other, that a Spanish toy company has come out with a doll called “Bebe Gloton” (Baby Glutton) that little girls can pretend to breastfeed using a halter top with flip-up daisy pasties.

I usually don’t post news stories here unless I have a point of view on them. I’m just not sure what my point of view is on either of these stories. Certainly a mother who is blotto should consider pumping and dumping, but 1) it is not expressly against the law to nurse while drunk, 2) the police said she “seemed drunk” but did not administer a blood test, and 3) for this transgression, this woman has lost custody of her baby for six months. And counting. As far as the doll goes, the people who are saying this doll might “speed up maternal urges” and promote early pregnancy are, I think, wackadoos. On the other hand, I would never buy a doll that makes sucking noises and burps, and I think there is no need for a breastfeeding doll, since children who see their mothers nurse come up with the idea of nursing their dolls on their own.

As you can see here.

I think what both of these stories have in common is the prevailing idea in American society that breastfeeding is altogether ooky. This despite the insane pressure pregnant women get to nurse their children. I think those cops walked in and saw a mother breastfeeding and slurring her words, and they just arrested her, because there’s just something wrong with that picture. Same thing with this doll. “It’s just…weird,” the Fox and Friends gang concluded, and even though I nursed three children, I have to agree with them. Most of us, to one degree or another, still have breastfeeding hangups. That’s the conclusion I’m drawing here. Anyone else?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Mollie August 10, 2009 at 2:11 pm

I think you're on to it when you say "I would never buy a doll that makes sucking noises and burps, and I think there is no need for a breastfeeding doll." The idea of children pretending to bf seems sweet and unobjectionable to me. But the doll is creepy, and I think it's the accessorizing that makes it so. Especially since there's no need for it. But then I'm pretty firmly convinced that children's toys should not do the playing for you — and dolls, especially, should not literally tell you how they want you to play with them. This doll (like the ones that wet themselves or whatever) seems to do away with creativity — the creativity that makes it possible, for example, for Cooper to pretend to bf his Cabbage Patch.


JoJo August 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm

I agree with Mollie. If your child decides to pretend breastfeed on their own that's fine, but a doll that is made specifically for that just creeps me out.


Shannon Alban August 10, 2009 at 4:57 pm

I am on the fence about the drunk breastfeeding. Was it a good decision? Probably not. I seriously doubt that she did any harm to the child – she couldn't have been THAT drunk. Lord knows I slur after one glass of wine! Does she deserve to lose custody of her child for it? Absolutely not! But maybe there's more to the story, a history of her bad decisions perhaps, that I am missing.

I agree with the other ladies who commented on the creepiness of the doll. I'm not quite sure why it's so weird. But, I definitely think that girls these days (teens) are lacking compassion and kindness – no doubt a failure of our society – and maybe this doll could give young girls that seed of nurturing, caring, and compassion that they need LONG BEFORE they become mothers.


Roxane B. Salonen August 11, 2009 at 1:05 am

Amy, I posted about this too, after it came to my attention from a reader of your blog (thanks), and have had some great discussions on my blog. Same conclusions there, from all pro-breastfeeding folks. One of them said she felt the dolls made breastfeed seem mechanical. Another said that the whole thing about bf is that it's natural, and this makes it seem like more of an artificial, contrived sort of thing. It was interesting that despite that all those who commented were for bf, none seemed excited about the doll. I can kind of see the intention, but, I'm afraid it will be a flop if they can't even convince us! 🙂


Amy August 11, 2009 at 1:07 pm

from my friend Sarah:

That is what is a bit funny about the drunk breastfeeding lady 1) How many raging alcoholics or drug addicts actually choose to breastfeed their babies – very few I say and 2) And after a full summer day with 3 children and zero help, a glass of wine at night becomes almost necessary and 3) Ask any breastfeeder – that stuff is pretty valuable, and you have to be pretty lit to actually pump and dump…. SO by the transitive property, should I have been arrested at some point over the 2 years and 3 months of my life that I have been breastfeeding? probably, but we won't tell anyone that.


Hillary @ The Other Mama August 12, 2009 at 1:48 am

I think the issue here with the drunk is breastfeeding in public… which should NEVER be done.
Wait. Just kidding. Completely joking. Just wanted to see how many hater comments would follow. I have bf 2 kiddos- many times in public and fewer times after a glass of wine. I'm with the other commenter that there's got to be more to that story. Was she beating the child while nursing him/ her? That's wild.
And the doll is just weird. I'm gonna have to call it like I see it.


Anonymous August 12, 2009 at 5:01 am

"Since when is breast-feeding while drunk a crime? If she had been bottle-feeding her baby, no one would have bothered to check what was in the bottle. You can do a lot more damage by mixing formula wrong."

I found this quote on another site somewhere and it is so true! Maybe she was sluring her words because she has a 6 week old and just got beat up? I look back at pics of me with my newborn and I look drunk or drugged in all of them! Too bad the president wasn't a breast-feeding woman..she could step in here. LOL

I think the option of having a doll that breastfeeds is fine. If you think it's weird don't go out and get one. I almost wanna buy one cause they are so controversial and might be worth a dime some day after they get taken off the shelves! My daughter won't have one, but I guarantee I have friends who would probably be all about the doll.


Marketing Mama August 16, 2009 at 5:41 am

I think pinning something like careless parenting on that mother makes more sense than the whole bf while drunk thing – but I don't know enough about it to really say.

I posted on the breastfeeding doll on my blog, too, and I think it's odd – even though you could call me a lactivist. I think anything that promotes breastfeeding is generally a good thing – but I think this baby with the strange mechanically moving mouth is just f-ed up. My kid, like yours, naturally mimicked me breastfeeding with one of his dolls — much better in my opinion.


thedoctorisin September 1, 2009 at 12:30 am

Ok…. I agree with the Fox and Friends crew…

There I've written it, and I will never, ever write that sentence again!


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