Bunny is four years old. I weaned her when she was 25 months old. I didn’t nurse her
quite as long as I would have liked, but she was definitely an extended nurseling. When
she weaned she was far beyond just speaking full sentences. She had started to develop
her long term memory so I wondered if she’d actually be able to remember
breastfeeding. After we weaned, I’d ask her sometimes if she remembered. At first, she
did, but as the months passed, it seemed to fade from her mind and she would look at me
like she wasn’t sure what I was talking about. There were times when I’d see her
breastfeed her dollies and I was sure she remembered. By the time Baby Bear was born,
though, she claimed no memory of it at all. I was sad that this was the case because
honestly I was just curious what the experience felt like. Also, I wanted her to be able to
take that pleasant memory with her—as I was sure it can be nothing but pleasant and
In the meantime, my breasts have always fascinated her. There are times she sees them
and she wants to know when she can have her own. I remember one time she went with
me to look for a bra and she wanted to get one too. I told her that she can’t have one
because she doesn’t have breasts yet. This led to her wanting to know when God would
give her breasts. I told her that one day she will get them when she starts becoming a
woman. From then on, becoming a woman was a very special thing she talked about
once in awhile. It wasn’t just a result of the conversation about breasts, but that was
definitely part of it. She would say things like:
“I haven’t peed my pants in a long time, Mommy. That must mean I’m becoming a
“When I become a woman, I’ll sit up in the front seat and you will sit in the car seat.”
“When I become a woman, I’ll get married and have babies.”
When I became pregnant with her little brother, the fascination with my changing body
was evident. In anticipation of the blessed event, we watched videos of childbirth and
nursing together. Again I asked her if she remembered when I nursed her. She said that
she didn’t and I was sad once more to see that she really had lost the memory. But then
as we were snuggling she’d say things like, “I love your boobs!” or “Your boobs are
distracting me,” or she’d rub them with her hands or her face. At first, this seemed weird
to me and I admit I was a little worried. This sort of behavior just doesn’t fit into our
cultural understanding of breasts. But I chalked it up to curiosity. I also figured that the
fascination probably stemmed from her subconscious memory of our nursing days. Soon,
Baby Bear was born and the breasts were out all the time. She grew accustomed to
seeing me nurse him, seeing a breast hanging out when he was done nursing and my
hands weren’t free to cover up, seeing me pumping, and seeing me hand expressing
milk. If you are a part of my family or around my house a lot, you’re just going to have to
get over seeing my breasts now that I have a little nursling because they’re out a lot.
After awhile the questions stopped to the point that she doesn’t even seem to notice my
them anymore. They are now a nonissue.
A couple of weeks ago, I read an informal interview a woman did of a preteen who nursed
for an extended period of time and remembered it. Well, she said she didn’t remember it
per say, but she remembered how it felt: sweet, warm, safe. It was cool to hear that.
Then today, we snuggled again at naptime (something that only happens a couple of
times a week now that her little brother has come into the scene) and as I was trying to
settle down the wiggling and the story telling into quiet stillness (I was the one who really
needed a rest), her little hands found their way to my cleavage again and she started
saying how she liked my boobs. She put her head on them, then, telling me it was a nice
pillow. Then, she did something she hadn’t been able to do until now: she started deeply
inhaling the scent of the milk that lingers around my chest. With the interview fresh on my
mind it suddenly occurred to me that my daughter does have a memory of breastfeeding,
she just doesn’t know it. She remembers the way it felt to snuggle up safe next to me and
how my breasts were a comfort and a pillow to her.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m smelling you!”
“Do you like how it smells?”
“Can you smell the milk?”
She continued taking in deep breaths of me for a few more minutes before settling her
head back down on the “pillow”
I smiled and held her close as she soon forgot about my comfy bosoms and focused on
her Princess Sofia doll instead. I smiled to myself and held her more tightly. It’s
comforting that she can smell my milk and be brought back to that time of complete and
utter safety that she found there in the two years after coming into this world. She may
not have nursed as long as I’d wanted her to, but the time she did nurse really left a
lasting impression of love on her. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know that.
Michelle Date 4/7/2014
How sweet is that! I hope my daughter will remember the comfort of nursing as she gets older. She's turning 3 in two days and she still nurses, along with her 3 month old little brother. She loves it so much that I don't have the heart to cut her off, not to mention I wouldn't even know how to go about doing that. I'm not in any rush to either though.. I find comfort in it too.. Knowing they are safe in my arms and that I'm giving them not only nourishment but great comfort and happiness =)
Jourdan Date 4/11/2014
So sweet!! I can't wait to see if my 2 year old remembers once I have our newborn in a few weeks! I doubt she will, though...its been since she was 20ish months.
Rachel B Date 4/11/2014
What an encouragement... I hope to be able to breastfeed as long as possible too!
Rachel N Date 4/15/2014
My boys each nursed to 13 months old, I was pregnant at the time they weaned. My daughter is now almost 16 months old and still nursing. I am not sure how long she will continue but it is still working for us right now. Honestly though, I really hope none of my kids vividly remembers nursing. Remembering the feeling, sure, but remembering nursing.... no. None of my kids have been fascinated by my breasts, but I am the kind of person who's skin crawls if one of them touch them without nursing. Just not my personality:)
Lara Clinton Date 4/24/2014
Thanks for the story about your experience! This is interesting.
Allie Date 5/30/2014
How sweet :) I look forward to breastfeeding my LO due in September for as long as I can.
Jennifer Date 5/31/2014
I think that most kids won't have very good recall until 3 or so. That doesn't mean their experiences before then don't have an effect. While they may not remember nursing, they know that they are loved and safe and cared for.