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The origin of reborn or lifelike dolls began in the 1990s. Women were seeking dolls with more realistic characteristics and began turning to artists to fulfill this desire.
But what are some reasons people were looking for lifelike or reborn dolls?
What is the purpose of reborn dolls?
Some of the most common reasons people get reborn dolls are for therapeutic benefits, role-playing, or collecting.
So while some may turn to reborn dolls for help with anxiety, depression, grief, loss, or other difficult emotions, many just appreciate their beauty and the joy that they bring.
Thanks to the easy access and growth of social media, many reborn owners share their dolls and meet other people with similar interests as them on Facebook groups, YouTube, or Instagram.
Continue reading to learn more about each of the most common uses of reborn (realistic) dolls and hear some common questions from others interested in this space.
Reborn Babies for Grief and Loss
According to the well-reputed magazine Psychology Today, “grief is defined as the acute pain that accompanies loss”. This emotion is one that many associate with vast dramatic occurrences such as death.
Grief takes place on a spectrum of severity which is different from person to person.
Grief or loss is a difficult emotion to deal with and those who suffer from grief often experience comfort with the use of a newborn doll.
Some examples of people who may find comfort in using a reborn include women who have chronic fertility issues that may leave them unable to bear children, women who have experienced miscarriages or stillborn babies, or people who have lost a young child or baby.
Loss or grief may also be less severe and still have a lasting effect on a person. For example, in the case of empty-nesters.
A child moving out or heading off to college can have a lasting effect on a parent who no longer has children in the house.
Reborn dolls are comforting to a person going through any of these situations.
While there are not a ton of scientific studies done on the changes in the brain when experiencing a “baby high”, there is no doubt that holding an infant brings about a sense of calmness, satisfaction, or even euphoria.
Because reborns look so realistic and sometimes are true to size and weight, they too can result in a rush of dopamine in the brain and cause a person experiencing grief to improve their mental state.
They often times fill a void that no other type of therapy has been able to fill.
Reborn Babies and Their Role with Mental Health or Illness
Anxiety and/or depression are other diagnoses that the use of reborn dolls may help with.
Many reborn owners say that these baby dolls help them deal with the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Doctor Gail Salz had a segment on the Today Show highlighting the use of these dolls for depression and anxiety.
She highlights that many are critical of the use of reborn dolls, while at the same time these same people often turn to unhealthy emotional practices like denial to move through their emotional problems.
She emphasizes that it is completely possible to understand that the reborn doll is not real, while still utilizing the doll for comfort.
Those with more severe mental illnesses may not be well-equipped to care for a real newborn but he or she is worthy of experiencing the positive emotions that come from it.
By using reborn dolls, patients, caregivers or families may see an improvement in their overall mental state from the positive effects they get from caring for these lifelike dolls.
Use With Alzheimer’s & Dementia
There have been numerous studies, including those conducted by the National Institute of Health that have demonstrated the efficacy of reborn dolls for treating Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
In these studies, patients who experience negative emotions such as frustration and agitation showed a marked decrease in their difficult emotions with the use of the reborn dolls.
They smiled more and seemed to be processing their mental state with more ease.
In another study published in Frontiers in Psychology, it was demonstrated that among residential patients in a nursing home setting, wandering and oppositional behaviors were reduced. These patients also communicated more openly with the nursing home staff.
These benefits have a direct positive impact on the well-being of patients, caregivers, and facility staff.
Many people have reborns because they love to role play with them. Because these dolls are not real, role-playing is where people let their imagination fly.
There are many different scenarios and activities that can be re-enacted with a reborn.
From feeding, changing and buying clothes, changing diapers, rocking, bathing, even having them use a pacifier are all different things you can do with a reborn.
Anything you do with a real baby you can reenact with the doll.
Some people go as far as to take their reborns out in public and integrate them into normal social situations such as a walk through the park or grocery shopping.
Some people begin their journey with reborn dolls because they value the artistry that goes into creating each and every doll.
Many times, these dolls are kept in boxes to help preserve them and are rarely changed, played with, or interacted with.
Because these dolls can be very costly, collectors dedicate their time to preserving their beauty.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are reborn dolls made of?
Reborn dolls are generally made of materials that simulate that of a real newborn.
These dolls are often made of silicone, a silicone composite material, or vinyl.
Check out our article discussing silicone vs. vinyl dolls to learn more about this.
Where can you purchase reborn dolls?
Reborn dolls are available on the general retail market and can be purchased through online vendors.
There are also sites and Facebook groups dedicated to the adoption, or resale of these dolls from one owner to another.
There are many reborn doll scammers out there, so please do your research and ask questions before you make this lofty investment.
Are reborn dolls safe to use?
Reborn dolls are made of materials that are completely non-toxic and safe for handling.
They are considered safe to use for both adults and children (with proper supervision) and, in fact, reap an amazing amount of mental health benefits along the way.