Of all the weird debates parents get into, the one over little girls breastfeeding their baby dolls is always sure to get heated. AND always sure to leave me wringing my hands. Alert the media! Call out the National Guard! You guuuuuuys, it's time to freak out!
Or not. You know, we could just be rational about this.
Little girls -- and little boys for that matter -- tend to have two main role models in life. Their mothers and their fathers.
This -- not some push toward gender-specific play -- is why kids play mom and dad on the playground. It's why you don't need to buy your kid a specific "breastfeeding baby doll" for her (or him) to experiment with breastfeeding their little toy.
Moms. Dads. Puritans.
Kids the world over sometimes "breastfeed" their dolls.
And I'm here to tell you it is absolutely normal. It's a sign that they pay attention to the world around them and they're trying to imitate what they see. Mothers in particular should be proud of their little nursers. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
A kid who puts baby doll to breast is really trying to say, "Hey, I want to be just like Mom!"
Here's what they're not trying to say: I think breastfeeding is sexy. I think I'm sexy. I want you to pay extra attention to the fact that I have nipples. I am emotionally unbalanced and in need of therapy.
You wouldn't think any of the above if a child was, say, putting a diaper on their baby doll, would you? Feeding the doll a bottle?
How about if a child was swaddling a doll or burping a doll? Singing a lullaby to their doll or trying to put a onesie on the doll?
Those are all things we do with babies, all things kids do with dolls because they've seen them done with babies. And so it is with breastfeeding a baby doll.
The only one who's sexualizing the act ... is you.
Think about it.
What would you do if your daughter was breastfeeding a baby doll? Would you care?
Image via jansos/Flickr