Racheal Ambler and “Natalie” at home in Murwillumbah.
Racheal Ambler and “Natalie” at home in Murwillumbah. Blainey Woodham

Meet the baby maker

RACHEAL Ambler will happily sell you a baby with a birth certificate for a few hundred dollars online.

She is one of a growing group of women who call themselves baby makers and use the internet to sell babies that are guaranteed to be disease-free and will age gracefully.

But there's nothing dodgy about this. It's part of the "reborning" craze where dolls are made to look and feel like real babies.

And the vinyl dolls bear an uncanny resemblance.

"I made one that was the size of a one-year-old and had it sitting here on the floor and my husband... came in here to do the dishes and he thought that our son had gotten up," Mrs Ambler said.

A room in her Murwillumbah house has racks and benches covered with paints, tools, sponges, limbs and heads.

"I've been doing it for about 17 months now... I've made over a hundred dolls.

"I reborn whenever I get a chance because I love babies and it's a good way to surround yourself. I mean they are perfect babies, they don't spit up they don't have to be fed or burped."

For a mother of three children under the age of three who runs a sandwich shop with her husband, it is surprising Mrs Ambler finds the time needed to make the dolls.

"To root a head is a minimum of 72 hours (as) every single hair is rooted in one or two hairs at a time," she said.

"Every little crease is painted... It can take a minimum of 20-30 layers to bring a doll to life."

Mrs Ambler said she paid attention to the tiniest details and painted veins and birthmarks on the skin and even milk-spots on the babies' noses.

"I'm lucky, I've got a 14-week-old baby so I've got a live model at the moment," she said.

"When my son was born I just looked at him for hours. And that's why I used him for all the detail."

Her customers gladly fork over the $450 or so per doll for a variety of reasons.

"You've got the very small minority that have lost babies unfortunately," she said.

"And I've only done a couple of memorial babies but I've had lots of enquiries."

But also for babies that have never existed.

"(A lady I know) has two daughters that just won't give her grandkids.

"This is the next best thing for her to have the reborn babies."

And Mrs Ambler said she enjoyed making the babies as much as her customers enjoyed owning them.

"I don't make much out of my babies, even though it's really time consuming.

"I just love what I do."

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