Guest Author - Nicki Heskin
If you are looking for a cute gift or toy for a breastfeeding mama and baby, be sure to check out Auntie Jill's Breast Plushie. The Breast Plushie is basically a soft little "stuffed breast" with a little smiley face and a microsuede "nipple." They are handsewn by Auntie Jill and sold through Etsy, which is an online marketplace for independent sellers of handmade items. Here's a photo of mine!
The product was initially designed by Auntie Jill for a mom who wanted to see if would offer some assistance in weaning. I asked the creator if there had ever been any feedback that kids actually nursed on the Plushie. She hadn't heard that there was
it's really meant just to offer support in the way of being a comforting item a sort of "very familiar" lovey!
Aside from it just being a fun and creative idea, I like that the Breast Plushie gives nurslings a stuffed breast for play. I mean, why not? Babies and children are given all the time toy bottles, stuffed animals, doll strollers, etc. When the breast is such a central factor in a young nursing child's life, why shouldn't they have a Breast Plushie?!? My kids seem to really like just adding it to their stuffed animal collection and haven't seen it as odd in the least.
Nice features include the silky soft fabric, the sweet little sewn on face (no buttons or swallowable or scratchy pieces) and super-cute microsuede nipple. Auntie Jill's website indicates that she'll customize by skin tone on request. The Plushie is all fabric I asked what the form of the nipple was made from, since we should all be vigilant in today's manufacturing climate of what are babies are mouthing, and she said it is simply rolled microsuede (the same fabric the nipple surface itself is made from. It's also machine washable and dryable, and still looked like new when I tried it out.
My only slight concern is that this isn't the best toy for kids to play with along with other kids. The microsuede is pretty absorbent, and so if toddlers mouth it, as they are prone to do with toys, (especially this one!), it holds onto the drool and saliva pretty good. So kids sharing it between them would be swapping quite a few germs. So you might want to put it away when little friends are coming over. My daughter hasn't actually "nursed on it" she does like to carry it around it her mouth though, which is pretty cute!
The Breast Plushie really is a cute little gift item. I think it would be especially appropriate for a shower or baby gift for veteran breastfeeder having Baby #2 (or more), since they have already many of the "basics" and would appreciate something a little more creative and fun (and supportive of breastfeeding). You can also feel good about buying handmade items and supporting an independent craftsperson.
You can find the Breast Plushie here for only $20, plus $2 shipping in the US ($3.50 elsewhere), with shipping discounts for multiple items.