Affordable Fetal Model

Two things to know about me:

1. I love dolls.

2. I love bargains.

For quite a while, I’ve wanted a realistic baby model to use in my birth classes. My ideal model could be used both for demonstrations of fetal positioning in the pelvis and also for demo’ing newborn care and possibly breastfeeding. Most fetal models sold by CBE supply companies range from $60-150. I usually use a Bitty Baby doll to demo newborn care and breastfeeding (a third thing to know about me is that my love of bargains makes an exception when it comes to American Girl dolls. I have an embarrassing number of AG dolls and vast quantities of accessories. I’ve had this Bitty Baby for over 10 years, I didn’t buy her to use in class). In my knitted uterus, resides a cute little baby doll I bought at Target for $5. Neither of these dolls works at all for fetal positioning or with my demonstration pelvis.

Look at this cute baby!

So, imagine my delight when I found a nearly perfect model newborn at Kmart yesterday while my son was picking out his birthday presents. I named her Sasha AND, get this, she was $20. In a bonus twist, unlike 99.9% of the dolls in the store, she did not come with a bottle! (There is a bottle pictured with a different doll on the back of the box.) She did come with a little cloth diaper, a onesie, a band to cover her cord stump (yes, she seems to have one, but it could just be a dramatic “outie”!), a little outfit, a hat, and socks. Called La Newborn (nursery doll), she is made by Berenguer.

Legs and arms straightened out a little

The only drawback is she is not very flexible and so would be hard to use comfortably for things like practicing putting on diapers. Her fairly flexed permanent body position does make her absolutely ideal for use for fetal positioning and even for swaddling or babywearing practice. I originally planned to take her arms and legs off to fill with plastic pellets to add weight, but I’d don’t think I’m going to bother. While nothing near the weight of a real baby, she is made from good quality vinyl.

After looking these dolls up various places online, I’m now thinking I should have bought the remaining one or two that they had at K-Mart. They don’t seem to be widely available for the $20 price.

This morning, my older son helped me take all kinds of pictures of my new toy—I mean, teaching aid!—today (yet another of the many benefits of having an 8 year old in the house!). So, this is a photo-heavy post!

See what I mean about well flexed for fetal positioning information?!

And now my Christmas pelvis gets in on the demo…

If the demo pelvis had a coccyx joint, the baby would fit perfect through. As it is, her head does get stuck on it (good teaching moment about the importance of active positions for birthing!)

Bitty Baby Noelle and Target Baby are less than impressed with this interloper…

Alaina helps take care of baby Sasha…

For sizing purposes—while I think she appears to be the perfect, realistic size when held up to my belly as a fetal model for positioning, when held in arms, she is more the size of a preemie baby (maybe a 31 weeker or so). She is about 15 inches.

Lann wanted me to take this one—“make them guess who’s the real baby!!!”—conveniently, Alaina closed her eyes for this picture, making identification of the real baby even trickier…



Edited to add, Baby Sasha later experienced an unfortunate accident and had to be replaced. See Fetal Model Update post for pictures.

13 thoughts on “Affordable Fetal Model

  1. Super cute! I’m going tomorrow to see if my kmart has them. My sister in law is 34 weeks tomorrow I bet she’d be thrilled to see what size her baby is approx. Its so hard to imagine whats in there when you can’t see it. I’ve had 4 and every time shocked that HUGE baby was inside my belly. No matter how big I thought my belly was!

  2. I have some great breastfeeding and babywearing models that had cloth bodies with inflatable inner liners (to feed them so they can pee???). I cut them open and filled them with rice so that they have a more realistic weight. Mine weigh 7 lbs now and it is so much easier to teach mommies to manipulate them into new positions for feeding and wearing.
    Thank you for sharing this!
    -Mandy

  3. Just wanted to say that the interloper picture is hysterical. (Also? Bravo on finding such an affordable doll! I’m often struck by severe sticker shock whenever I check out childbirth ed products. Not that they’re not EVER worth the money. But still…)

    • Thanks for the clarification! I didn’t have my tape measure handy when I was writing about it (I also forgot to think in terms of crown to rump length vs. total length).

  4. Pingback: 2011 Blog Year in Review « Talk Birth

  5. Pingback: Fetal Model Update | Talk Birth

  6. Haha! So funny! I love the last picture! So hard to tell. 🙂
    This is neat. I’m considering buying a pelvis, but unsure if I can find the proper baby to fit through.

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