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My Toddler Wants to Breastfeed Her Dolls

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When it comes to my daughter playing with dolls -- should I draw the line at breastfeeding?


Momlogic's Andrea:
Watch out, La Leche League ... you might have the world's youngest little solider to add to your ranks. My three-year-old daughter is just crazy about breastfeeding. No, I'm not breastfeeding her anymore. Hell, no. I quit at three months. But she's WAAAY into it.

At any given moment, she's pulling up her shirt and pushing her doll's plastic mouth up to her tiny chest. "You drink out of my breasts, baby," she lovingly tells Jella, her fave doll. (Don't ask where that name comes from...we have no clue.)

I guess it's kinda of my fault. I'm always playing back her little life to her. "You used to live in here," I tell her, pointing to my now flabby stomach. "You used to drink milk from these," I say, pointing to my saggy breasts. Then we laugh because it seems so strange to us now that I actually supplied four-course meals from body. These days, I barely have enough energy to cook instant Kraft Macaroni and Cheese --- and that's from a box.

Now breastfeeding is her favorite game. She whips her shirt off faster than those misguided teens in a "Girls Gone Wild" video. She hasn't done it in public (yet!) and frankly I'm a little nervous she's going to becomes the first-ever toddler wet nurse at her preschool.

I'm being very serious here ... should my daughter be allowed to "breastfeed" in public?

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34 comments so far | Post a comment now
anony February 17, 2009, 10:01 AM

To George and Sanity: You should learn to read more carefully. I did not say that there was anything wrong with this kid’s behavior. The mom who wrote this post seems to not be sure how to handle it and is asking for suggestions. That was the point of her post. What I said was that the child should be taught that mommies breast feed with modesty and that not everything mommies do are things that little girls get to do. This is an example of how to explain to a toddler why they can’t do something that the parent isn’t comfortable with. She could add that when the kid is all grown up and has a baby she will get to breast feed then. For example, when my kids were little my 3 yr old wanted to change my 6 month olds’ diapers…. did I let him… of course not… but I did let him hand me the wipes and sprinkle the powder…. You should also notice that I said that this behavior is “perfectly natural”. And GEORGE no one has compared a little girls chest to that of a grown woman. What has been said is that modesty needs to be taught. The reason for that is because when they become teenagers we don’t want them running around putting half nude photos of themselves all over the internet. So YES modesty needs to be taught and I say at every opportunity, My suggestion for the mom to put a body suit or tank top on her kid will help in teaching modesty. Just like when parents put shorts under their girls dresses because they lift their skirts or insist on wearing dresses/skirts at ALL time, even on the jungle gym. I suppose I could have suggested teaching her to use a blanket but that would be encouraging a behavior that this mom may not be comfortable with or extending a behavior that may otherwise pass. By the Way, I breast fed both of my kids for nearly a year each…. they went from boob to cup and never used bottles so yes I nursed everywhere we went, but I did so with modesty, covered up, and when at restaurants I requested a table away from the crowds if possible and at other public places if my baby had the need for feed I never had trouble asking where I could find a private corner to nurse if I couldn’t find one myself. So to both of you I think if your reread the post and comments you will see that the poster did indeed ask for suggestions and the commenters gave suggestions based on their experiences. No one is right or wrong here even though we all have different ways to handle this type of situation.

Mom of 2 February 17, 2009, 10:44 AM

Yes, I think this is fine also. the magic of play with children is usually based on grown-up reality, getting them ready for the real world, ie. playing house, playing in job roles etc… this is a natural point of having a baby so why be ashamed of it or letting your child play doing it? Americans are so hung up on everything being sexual. Breast feeding is NOT sexual!

anony February 17, 2009, 11:22 AM

hmmm that’s interesting… my entire comment didn’t post… so here’s the rest of it: …… and at other public places if my baby had the need for feed I never had trouble asking where I could find a private place to nurse if I couldn’t find one myself. So to both of you, I think if your reread the post and comments you will see that the poster did indeed ask for suggestions and the commenters gave suggestions based on their personal experiences. No one is right or wrong but we do all have different ways to handle this type of situation.

Missy February 17, 2009, 2:36 PM

Am I the only one who thinks this is creepy? My mom actually breast fed me and my sisters for 6 months. Then I breast fed my son for 3 months. I believe in breast feeding, I just don’t think a child should be imitating it.

anon February 17, 2009, 2:38 PM

I think it is inappropriate. I would tell her that it is something mommies do, not little girls. That is not teaching her to be ashamed of her body, but rather teaching her modesty.

Michael February 18, 2009, 4:21 PM

“Modesty” is relative. “Creepy”? Certainly not! What is it about this question that’s really bothering some people? I guess they also get upset when someone lets a little girl play at the park shirtless, or lets a baby play at the beach nude. To answer the actual original question, please consider just what is it about your daughter’s behavior that upsets you, and deal with that aspect of it. I don’t think the play-nursing is the real issue.

Cheyenne Rhodes February 20, 2009, 1:12 AM

I am a 14-year-old Goth/emo girl, and I have a doll of Glen from “Seed of Chucky” that I bottlefeed, but I nurse him privatly because when you’re 14, it’s not “cute” to nurse your dolls.

TG February 23, 2009, 4:15 AM

All children play at what they see adults doing, eg cooking, driving, shopping, playing with dolls (babies). All of this is an important part of learning to be an adult later on.

Breastfeeding dolls is definitely not creepy or inappropriate as some have suggested. Would you be upset if she was bottle-feeding a doll? Yet really, when you think about it, bottle-feeding is actually not ‘biologically normal’ behaviour for mammals, which is what humans are.

If you make a big deal of it and make her think something is wrong or shameful about it, which it is not, then you may have the potential for some warped thinking to develop. Leave it be, it will be the game she enjoys for now, and later, she’ll probably be playing dress-ups or cubby houses.

MacBump February 24, 2009, 8:39 PM

ITA with “TG”. We don’t get upset about kids pretending to drive cars around (which would be *dangerous* if they really got behind a wheel with a real key and managed to get it started and into drive), or about them pretending to cook (which again, could be very dangerous). Let’s not make this into more than what it really is: a child learning from appropriate adult behaviour and nursing her “baby”.

Reuben March 18, 2009, 8:09 AM

You feed your kids Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese?

Hhuirivc June 24, 2009, 5:50 PM

2IdFCF comment4 ,

Sayah February 1, 2010, 12:11 AM

I don’t see any problem about

*Big Mama* March 15, 2010, 10:28 PM

Sure, why not. It’s a natural part of motherhood. And if you’re not pro-breastfeeding, then give the child a bottle and let her bottle feed. It will only become a big issue if we as parents make it a big issue. Children are naturally curious and don’t have the tainted perceptions that we as adults have.

darcy April 15, 2010, 9:39 PM

ew breast feeding is disgusting

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