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Controversial Breastfeeding Doll to Be Sold in US

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The Spanish company Berjuan, which makes a baby doll that children can pretend to breastfeed, will be selling their product in the US beginning at the end of July, news sources are reporting.

ABC News reports, "The doll, which comes with a special halter top with two flowers positioned where nipples would be, makes suckling sounds when its mouth is brought close to sensors embedded in the flowers."

The product is controversial in some circles.  From ABC News:

"I heard people talking about it but, honestly, I thought it was a joke," said Ilina Ewen, a writer for Deep South Moms and her own blog Dirt and Noise.

"There are just things that I think kids are too little to understand," she said. "Let kids use their imagination and play with a doll and not deal with what it can do... There's no need to turn it into something that's anatomically correct. Not at this age."

Berjuan defends its product by arguing that it allows children to explore and imitate a natural part of their parents' connection with them:

"Breast-feeding is completely natural," Cesar Bernabeu, director of sales and marketing for Berjuan, wrote in an e-mail to ABCNews.com.

Bernabeu said the toy allows children to imitate their moms -- a natural part of growing up.

"We realized that the reaction was so positive with the girls when they were imitating their moms and saw that they react to the doll like it was a little sister," read Bernabeu's remarks, translated from Spanish. "Their faces of happiness said it all."

Child development experts are torn on the toy's value:

"My take is that anything which reminds young girls that their bodies are something other, and more, than sex objects, is a very good thing," said Dr. Ronald Cohen, medical director of the Mothers' Milk Bank in San Jose, Calif.

"On the other hand, encouraging young girls to want to have babies at a very young age may not be so great," said Cohen, who is also the director of the intermediate intensive care nursery at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University.

(image via: http://www.lilsugar.com/)

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