Mothers feed and bathe and even take the doll to the toilet, says model maker.
Replica silicon babies are being birthed from artificial wombs, bathed and fed as part of doll therapy. One look at the tiny fingers and toes on these lifelike babies and it is hard to say they were made in a studio from clay and silicon.
In 2012, Lenique Orsmond from Pretoria started her business, Breathless Moments, when she started making replica newborn babies from clay and vinyl.
“My main aim was to provide mothers who lost their babies to stillbirth with a replica baby as a form of comfort.”
She has since joined forces with funeral parlours where she offers her doll therapy services. As Orsmond’s technique developed, she started making use of silicone to give her the desired effects. She first sculpts the basic shape of the baby’s body with clay before pouring ecoflex 00/10 to 00/20, which is a soft, skin-like silicone, into the mould to complete the baby.
“Each baby is handmade to each client’s specific size, look and gender.”
The babies are used as doll therapy. Most women that buy babies from her have either lost a baby in a stillbirth or are women who cannot birth children.
“Some of the clients birth the babies. The babies are closed inside a silicone replica womb. When the baby is born from the womb, the mother cuts the umbilical cord and cleans off the fake blood and mucus from the baby. The women bath and feed the babies, too,” she said.
“The natal range of babies is fitted with artificial veining which makes it possible to feed the baby and for the baby to urinate.”
The artificial veins also make it possible to put drips in the baby.
“Real baby formula is fed to the dolls and later flushed out of the system with water for the baby to urinate.”
One of Orsmond’s clients has purchased 30 replica babies within a year. Orsmond said she loved her job not only because she loved working with her hands and with clay but also because of the reaction of the clients.
“The happiness those women express when they get a doll – priceless.”
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