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Center for Health Literacy Promotion Blog

Breast Milk Baby reveals nation’s low health literacy

The Nation & World section of my morning newspaper reports, right next to the story re civil war in Syria,  on a doll that is making TV conservatives squeamish. The Breast Milk Baby makes suckling sounds when it touches sensors sewn into a halter top that comes with the doll. A Fox news commentator thinks we  “don’t need this kind of stuff”.  It’s hard to say what “stuff” he’s worried about. A father says it’s “creepy”; maybe his daughter could play with the doll at home, but not on a play date or in public.
Somehow these men think breastfeeding has something to do with sex.  So the doll’s suckling sounds are  “too mature” for little girls who want to grow up to be mommies. Apparently, dressing up the buxom Barbie doll in a cocktail dress and heels for a date with hunky Ken is a better way for “kids to be kids” and for little girls to envision their future and understand the purpose of breasts.
From a health literacy standpoint
Critics of Breast Milk Baby are showing a  very limited ability to understand and use information for health. Breastfeeding, exclusively in the baby’s first six months, is recommended by virtually every health authority on the planet as the healthiest way to feed a baby with benefits to both mother and child over their lifetimes.  
Breastfeeding is only X-rated in the minds of some adults. Let’s think about what we want to teach our daughters and what we want to protect them from. What is it we want to protect ourselves from by banning a breastfeeding baby doll.
Good News
If you are not ‘creeped out’ by the thought of little girls learning that breastfeeding is normal, healthy and health-promoting; if you believe breasts are engineered primarily for feeding babies, and if the sound of suckling does not distract you beyond rational thought, you can order Breast Feeding Baby online at half-price. She is  more culturally competent than some of her critics; choose a doll with one of eight names, skin tones and facial features.

Breastfeeding is best.
Your milk is made for your baby. It contains the right amount of all the nutrients Baby needs.  As the baby’s needs change, your milk changes, too. Mother’s milk is easy to digest. It is always ready, clean and just warm enough. Breastfeeding creates a special bond between mother and baby. Breast fed babies have fewer infections and allergies than bottle-fed babies. And their brains develop faster.
Italie, Leanne, Associated Press, Breastfeeding baby doll: creepy or groundbreaking? 11.8.2012  
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