Betty Strachan, a mom herself, created breastfeeding Barbie dolls to support other nursing mothers

By Julie Mazziotta
Updated December 02, 2020 03:22 AM
Credit: Betty Strachan

After she faced discrimination for nursing in public, stay-at-home mom and custom doll maker Betty Strachan created a breastfeeding Barbie doll to show that nursing is just a typical part of life.

“It’s a completely natural and normal thing to do. There’s no other way to put it,” Strachan, 28, tells PEOPLE of her efforts to help the Normalize Breastfeeding movement. “Women were given the amazing gift of being able to carry and nourish children and being shamed for doing so is just wrong.”

The Brisbane, Australia, native says the idea came to her when she started modeling dolls after friends from her parenting support group.

Credit: Betty Strachan

“They’re all lovely and supportive women, and a lot of them are strong advocates for breastfeeding,” she explains. “So I put a baby in the doll’s arms and mimicked a breastfeeding position with an old figurine I had, and breastfeeding Barbie version one was born.”

Strachan posted photos of the dolls online, and other moms immediately wanted one of their own. She’s since created a few more that quickly sold out on her Etsy page, and plans to keep going.

Credit: Betty Strachan

The doll-maker recounts how she became a passionate advocate for the cause. “Like a lot of young mothers, I was already conditioned to believe that breastfeeding in public was something to be ashamed of and shied away from doing so in public,” she says. “I remember one occasion when I was out shopping with friends and my oldest who was about two weeks old at the time became fussy. The shopping center we were in was very busy and the parents’ room they reserve for taking care of babies was too full to sit and feed there, so I was left with no other option but to do it standing in the secluded corner of a store. Even then, the disgusted looks I received from passers by were quite jarring and marred the experience for me.”

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But Strachan is optimistic that the stigma surrounding breastfeeding will start to change.

“I think and hope that with time, people will grow to accept that it’s a normal and natural thing,” she says.