I wasn't really planning on getting Marion a doll (she already had some stuffed toys/animals), but changed my mind when I realized baby dolls might be better at pretend play. I also thought having one would give her a better idea regarding having a baby around the house since her promotion to "little girl" and future status (hopefully) as "Achi".
So I looked around for dolls. I did not want to get her a blonde and blue-eyed doll. I wanted one that looked a bit more real, but not too real that it pooped or needed to be fed. I find it so odd that, um, there's no diversity among the dolls sold in the stores here. All the dolls are Caucasian! I was about to compromise and just get her a doll with black hair (but with fair skin and big round eyes) until I found a way to get her this Corolle Calin Yang doll (via my mom's check-in luggage).
I like this doll. It's easy to clean and has a soft torso. The product description on Amazon says the eyes open and close. It does not. I wish it did so we can better pretend to put it down for a nap. Our doll doesn't have a name so she's just "Baby". It's just the right size for Marion, too. :-)
The first thing Marion did when she saw the doll was to yank off the headband and replace it with the owl clip. Sometimes she'll have Baby sit on her lap, guide Baby's hand (or foot) to point out to different things in the book while she "reads". But her favorite thing to do is to undress Baby and check the (nonexistent) diaper.
Here are some "realistic" dolls and my thoughts about them.
Down Syndrome Dolls
Nice idea but c'mon I think they can improve the hair and outfits!
Midge is Barbie's friend who is married to Alan. They already have a son and are expecting their second child. The pregnant belly with a baby tucked in it is detachable.
Nice! Except for the price tag.
The Breast Milk Baby
"All Breast Milk Babies come with a special flowered halter top which activates the dolls suckling mechanism. When you bring the baby up to the flower “nipple” its mouth moves and it makes a realistic suckling sounds."
One time Marion and I pretended to switch roles. I was Baby Yen and she was Mommy Marion. So Mommy Marion stroked my hair and gave me a kiss. Baby (the doll) was with us, too. When I suggested that Baby wanted milk, Marion brought the doll to me to nurse. I reminded her that she was the mommy, but she just gave me a puzzled look. I brought Baby to her chest and that's when she cradled Baby for a cuddle.
It didn't really bother me to have Marion pretend to nurse the doll, but I have to say I'm on the fence when it comes to this doll. I think it's because I'm really just not too crazy about dolls that make sounds or do "real" things like poop (and in this case suck). I do not think this encourages teen pregnancies (or the other arguments against this doll), but I think little girls can learn to breastfeed in the future if they see more adults doing so.
The Childbirth Education Doll
She is anatomically correct, as is her newborn son! Her embellishments include a wedding ring, earrings and necklace and her son has a tiny belly button, made with a real button to which the umbilical cord attaches.
Since this doll is anatomically correct, you could actually demonstrate the baby coming out of the mommy doll. (Check out the seller's photos here). I haven't decided at what age it would be appropriate for my kid to know *everything* so I'm not sure about this one. :-)