A breastfeeding baby doll which makes suckling motions and noises has hit the American Christmas toy market.
The Breast Milk Baby, which is prompted to feed via flower-shaped sensors sewn into a halter top at nipple level, aims to educate little girls on the subject of motherhood.
The $89 (£55) doll is the product of Berjuan Toys, a family-owned Spanish company.
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Breast Milk Baby is the brainchild of Berjuan Toys
Literature for the doll states: "Little girls need to learn to breastfeed.
"The Breast Milk Baby lets young girls express their love and affection in the most natural way possible, just like mommy!”
Despite the company’s best intentions, under 5,000 Breast Milk Baby dolls were sold last year, AP reports, prompting a 50% online discount in time for the holiday season.
Berujan Toys’s US spokesman Dennis Lewis blames a "phobia" for breastfeeding.
He said: There’s no doubt about that. The whole idea is that there’s still some taboos here. They’re difficult to justify and difficult to explain but they’re out there.
“You mention breast and people automatically start thinking Janet Jackson or wardrobe malfunctions and all sorts of things that have absolutely nothing to do with breastfeeding.”
The company has blamed poor sales on a 'phobia' of breastfeeding
The company's online literature is somewhat evangelical on the benefits of breastfeeding, adding: "[It] isn’t just a wonderful practice for the health of the infant.
"Mothers who breastfeed are more likely to return to their former weight before childbirth, and have a reduced risk of breast cancer and osteoporosis for the rest of their lives.
"The Breast Milk Baby helps mothers and children get the most out of life, while spending less time and money at the doctor’s office!
"The Breast Milk Baby will revolutionize our nation’s attitudes to good infant health, while letting little girls share in the wonder and magic of motherhood. Shouldn’t they be ready for a healthy future?"
Breast Milk Baby has had a mixed reception so far. "I just want the kids to be kids," said Fox News's Bill O'Reilly, adding: "And this kind of stuff. We don't need this."
Sandi Wendkos Olds, author of The Complete Book of Breastfeeding, disagrees.
She said: I think it's a very cute toy. I think it's just crazy what Bill O'Reilly was saying that it's sexualising little girls."
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