As a breastfeeding Mom, when I first heard about The Breast Milk Baby I was excited! The value of a doll that mimics breastfeeding (an activity that nursing Moms participate in throughout the day) is unmeasurable. As an Occupational Therapist I can see the value of this doll not only for play, but also as an educational tool to nursing Moms, their support circle, and Moms who plan on nursing.
While pregnant with my first son, I often wondered how I would breastfeed him; What it would look like, how I would hold him, and if I would be good at it. The Breast Milk Baby could have helped me achieve confidence in these areas. He/She can be used to help teach nursing positions, and with realistic cries and mouth movements, could have given me an idea of what nursing my son would be like. The doll comes with a halter that has two flower petals, when he/she starts to cry placing the mouth by the petals stops the doll's crying and triggers a nursing pattern including suckling noise and mouth movement. He/she can then be placed over your shoulder for burping! Amazing! Watch Video here.
With a very long and well researched list of the benefits of breastfeeding for both infants and Moms, I was shocked to see negative feedback in the United States about The Breast Milk Baby. One example can be found here. I believe that a lack of education and personal experience with the wonderful nurturing act of breastfeeding has lead some to think this way, however I'm very lucky to have found myself surrounded with fantastic breastfeeding Moms from organizations like the La Leche League, a breast feeding support and educational group that may very well have a local chapter near you!
"The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months of age and continued breastfeeding for at least 2 years, along with the timely introduction of adequate amounts of complementary foods..."(1). With such strong support for breastfeeding, it's no wonder The Breast Milk Baby received the Dr. Toy Best of Year Award! After reviewing this wonderful product, I'm convinced that once you see this doll, it's impossible to do anything except embrace him/her. He/she would make a perfect gift for your child, tool for education, and wonderful addition to Hospitals and Birth centers. The Breast Milk Baby is very accessible for purchase, and is carried by retailers such as Amazon.com.
I thought I would introduce The Breast Milk Baby to friends and family to get their reactions. He has been a big hit! One Mom said "My daughter has already been breastfeeding her dolls for years" (S.H., 2013). Another Mom said "This doll is great, I would love to have one for my daughter to help get ready for the birth of her sister!" (C.K., 2013). My sons love Jeremiah, and although they don't breast feed him, they quickly incorporated him into their play group and my toddler intuitively placed him over his shoulder for comfort when he began to cry.
Occupational Therapy, a profession which practices under a document known as the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process , helps individuals in every aspect of their daily lives. All of the Areas of Occupations highlighted in the Framework can be seen in the Occupation of breastfeeding, both for the Mother and many also for the nursing infant or child. Not only does breastfeeding impact daily activities for the Mother and nursing infant or child, but also for the circle of supporters that may include spouse, Grandparents, friends, and other siblings. Learn more about Occupational Therapy from our professions' organization, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). The AOTA provides a place for Occupational Therapists, Occupational Therapy Assistants, consumers, and other persons to gather, and to learn. AOTA also hosts an Annual Conference that functions as the hub for new research and networking for practitioners.
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