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"Controversial" doll promotes breastfeeding

by Aimee Keenan-Greene

The Breast Milk Baby Doll, from Berjuan Toys of Spain, is coming to America.

It is marketed to parents and children as a model to teach and encourage girls to breastfeed.

The doll is packaged with a special cloth top the child wears showing her where to place the baby against her chest to nurse.

According to the company website, "The Breast Milk Baby will revolutionize our nation's attitudes to good infant health, while letting little girls share in the wonder and magic of motherhood."

The doll will appear at U.S. retailers after being presented at a trade show in Las Vegas next week.

Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. The US Department of Health and Human Services, the World Health Organization, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all agree breast milk contains antibodies that protect infants from bacteria and viruses. Breastfed children have fewer ear, respiratory and urinary tract infections and have diarrhea less often. Infants who are exclusively breastfed tend to need fewer health care visits, prescriptions and hospitalizations resulting in a lower total medical care cost compared to never-breastfed infants. Breastfeeding also provides long-term preventative effects for the mother, including an earlier return to pre-pregnancy weight and a reduced risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer and osteoporosis. 

Protection from SIDS, lower obesity rates, fewer allergies, higher IQ's - many studies support a wide range of breast milk benefits. 

The Nation Conference of State Legislatures  says, forty-four states have state laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 70 percent of mothers start breastfeeding immediately after birth, but less than 20 percent of those moms are breastfeeding exclusively six months later.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants be exclusively breastfed for approximately the first six months of life and continue for at least twelve months and thereafter as long as mutually desired by the mother and child.

Additional Resources:

Breast Milk Baby Doll: Clever or controversial?