The first I had heard about the release of The Breast Milk Baby Doll was from this (hilarious) blog post by Mom-101 on the subject. Sure enough the local news posted a facebook comment and here come the crazies. Really, should I be surprised?
What did surprise me was a number of people who were clearly breastfeeding friendly, and yet still concerned about "promoting breastfeeding at such a young age". That my friends is entirely the point.
So long as we whisper about it, scoot our youngsters the opposite way of a nursing Mother, or side step their innocent questions about what she's doing we will never overcome the stigma that surrounds breastfeeding in this country. If we want breastfeeding to become the norm, then we as a society have to treat it as normal!
People need to put aside their personal sexualization of a woman's breast and understand that to young children they are not sexual objects. It is a much easier concept for children to grasp that breasts are made for feeding baby humans then it is for many adults. We don't hide nursing calves or kittens from our children, why should it be any harder to explain that a Mother is giving her baby milk. When we stop being embarrassed to explain breastfeeding to our children we can begin to change the perception that it's naughty, sexual, or inappropriate in public into the understanding that it's normal.
My children are all quite close in age, around 2 years apart from each other. I couldn't have kept my children from seeing me nurse if I had wanted to, and I'm not sure why I would have wanted to. Someone always needs Mom to wipe a bottom, pour a drink, or wipe a nose and they don't really care what you are doing at the time. I'm sure I explained the feeding the baby milk process at some point, but I honestly don't remember specifically how it went down. I'm sure I explained it matter-of-factly in a way they could understand, the way I've explain a thousand and three other things to them. The kids have always just known that is how you feed a baby, because that is the reality they live in. They fed their stuffed animals and baby dolls this way because that's how Mom fed their baby brother or sister. It was never a question and never an issue. There was nothing sexual about it because they had no knowledge or concept of sex to begin with. It is simply their normal.
If more adults treated nursing Mothers as normal we could pass a healthier attitude down to our children and leave all this controversy behind us. Until then, we still have people who think a toilet is an appropriate place to feed an infant.