Why would an otherwise-competently made film include a creative decision this bad? In a since-deleted tweet, Sniper screenwriter Jason Hall explained:
hate to ruin the fun but real baby #1 showed up with a fever. Real baby #2 was no show. (Clint voice) Gimme the doll, kid.
It’s easy to empathize with Eastwood’s plight, but he should serve as a cautionary tale to future filmmakers: Never cast a plastic doll as a baby. Even if real babies are a pain to work with, don’t do it. Even if it’s getting late in the day, don’t do it. Just go the Twilight route and cast a CGI baby instead, or — even better — just write the baby out of the scene. How integral could it be? It’s a baby. Just don’t use a doll. Anything is better than dolls.