The dolls that teach kids about childbirth and breastfeeding

Photo: supplied
Photo: supplied 

Growing up in Brazil, Milia Simelli recalls that baby dolls only came with bottles. Now as a working doula, she is seeking to normalise breastfeeding and childbirth with her range of handmade dolls.

Simelli noticed that while there were childbirth education dolls in Australia, they didn't adequately represent diversity such as body and breast shapes and sizes, skin and nipple colours.

Her dolls also have customisation options such as puffy toes and ankles and popped belly buttons, as well as dolls covering the different birthing experiences, including c-section and VBAC.

Breastfeeding baby dolls attach to the mother doll's breasts which are made from a snap-on-style clip.

She says it's a great way to prepare children for the arrival of a sibling.

"[The dolls are] a great choice for expectant families to prepare kids, explaining how the babies come into the world."

She adds, "During playtime, your children will be able to help the mama doll give birth vaginally or by caesarean, help with breastfeeding and carefully investigate the placenta and umbilical cord."

The dolls are also useful for doulas and midwives who, "... wish to show the magic of birth to children, parents and the whole family using a lovely doll."

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Simelli started her Etsy shop selling the dolls when she posted a doll she had made in a Facebook group for doulas and midwives. After receiving many positive reactions, she was encouraged to sell them, and within just a few hours she had her first order.

Photo: supplied

Photo: supplied

Speaking to Essential Baby, Milia says, "It's been a long road since then. I have created many dolls, but even though their main characteristics are the same, each one of them is unique and special, with different hair styles and outfits."

She also thrives on the feedback.

"The feedback that I receive from the families is amazing," she says. "They say that their kids love their dolls and every now and then I receive photos of kids playing with my creations. I also have families returning to order another one as a gift for their midwives and doulas."

Photo: Milia Simelli / Etsy

Photo: Milia Simelli / Etsy

Another great reward for Milia comes from people who are worried about talking with thier children about childbirth.

"Some people have concerns talking about childbirth with their little ones, but when they see me using the doll and using appropriate language to talk with them, they engage and start loving the idea."

She adds, "... their eyes sparkle with joy and they keep asking to do it again."

"They want to help the baby to be born and help with breastfeeding. It really makes my heart warm just to talk about it."

Photo: Milia Simelli / Facebook

Photo: Milia Simelli / Facebook