I found this photo of myself as a child yesterday:
My first thought: “That is a massive scrunchy.” My second thought: “I’m bottle feeding my baby doll.”
Perhaps to retaliate from our anti-breastfeeding culture many women decide to become anti-bottle feeding as a response.
I have friends who will not allow their children to have dolls that come with bottles. They will throw away the bottle that comes with the doll, and some have even purchased the “The Breast Milk Baby” for their children.
While some people may think it is extreme, it does make logical sense to me. Our kids have such a disadvantage to having a successful breastfeeding relationship with their children because of Western societies anti-breastfeeding views they will be bombarded with their entire lives. Taking out bottles as play for a child would give your child and early foundation of breastfeeding as biological normal feeding for a human.
However, if your child wants to bottle feed his/her baby and you’re unsure what to do to- I don’t think you should burn those toy bottles just yet.
This photo of me as a child reminded me of how much I enjoyed playing with my dolls and toy bottles. Children are extremely perceptive. I knew that my dolls were not real. I understood my own desire to become a mother one day, and it would be different than playing with dolls. I also LOVED playing with my dolls. My favorite part was “feeding” them with their bottles. I had dolls that would cry until they received their bottle, dolls that would “drink” water and urinate afterward (changing a doll’s wet diaper was really exciting to me), and bottles that would have disappearing milk and orange juice in them as you turned them upside-down. The simple pleasures of a child, right?
I always believed that I would breastfeed my children, even as a child. My bottle feeding dolls did not confuse me. I always have had strong positive memories of being breastfed by my mother, then when my sister had her baby I developed another positive view of breastfeeding by watching how she cared my my niece ( my sister is fourteen years older than me and had her first baby when I was nine years old). I learned from them why they valued their breastfeeding relationships with their children. If you don’t want to let your kids play with bottles, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. However, don’t think that a plastic doll and bottle will change any thoughts on parenting you have instilled in your children, through example or conversations.
I want my boys to know there are many healthy and acceptable options in life. Even something as simple as the explaining pumping/formula feeding/breastfeeding and why each option can make sense depending on the family is important to speak to them about early on. If they choose to have children one day and end up bottle feeding their babies (out of educated choice or because it is the only option available), they hopefully will have been taught to feel no guilt or shame in caring for their children the best way for their families.
With that being said, the plastic bottles get to stick around in our house. However, bottles are not the desired means of feeding dolly as of late: