My Mom Breastfed Me Until Age Three And I Wish She Hadn’t

I’m the youngest of three kids, fairly well-adjusted (my siblings might disagree), and have a great and close relationship to my mother. However, if there’s one thing I could change about my childhood, it’s that I wish I couldn’t remember my mother nursing me.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of breastfeeding and I’m very thankful my mother did that with each of us. I’m a nutritionist and I know all about the health benefits of nursing. But whereas my mother stopped nursing my brother and sister around 15 and 18 months — still a pretty long time and a really long time back in the 1980s when she was doing this — she kept nursing me until the age of three. Three years and three and a half months, as she confirmed for me last night.

I remember nursing and I remember the taste and everything. And it kind of weirds me out. I love my mother but I feel kind of sketched out about her breasts. Not in the logical sense. I appreciate that she nursed us and I know that there’s nothing too damaging about nursing children that long. But I just seem to feel more confusion about breasts, and my mother’s breasts in particular, than my siblings do. In fact, they seem to have literally no confusion about breasts. They do agree that it’s weird that mom nursed me so long. And I know that they wouldn’t do that with their children.

We’ve talked about it and even my mother concedes that she was nursing me that long mostly because she was sad about not being able to have more children. I was her third C-section so my dad got fixed after I was born. My mother is a great mother and she had always wanted more children. So she kind of clung on to me and babied me. I guess all parents do that with their youngest children to some extent. But they seem to get by without nursing three feet tall pre-schoolers, you know?

Nursing for that length of time helped my mother cope with the end of her childbearing years. But it didn’t help me have proper respect for my mother’s body. And I think it may have confused me about my own breasts. Now that I’m married — and hoping for children — I think I’m doing better. But when I started developing as a teenager, I couldn’t conceive (no pun intended) of breasts apart from their service to children’s health. And so whenever people wanted to talk about developing breasts or whenever boys noticed mine, I felt like I was being pressured into having children.

Again, I don’t want to make this out to be a bigger deal than it was. Obviously we all survived. But when I see covers like that Time magazine cover asking if you’re “mom enough” to nurse a 50-pound boy, I think sometimes the opposite might be more true. It might take more courage and strength as a mother to wean a child than it does to cling to nursing beyond a reasonable point.

(Photo: baki/Shutterstock)

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  • Danielle

    “It might take more courage and strength as a mother to wean a child than it does to cling to nursing beyond a reasonable point.”

    Love that sentence so much. Thanks for sharing and representing another side to this whole debate!

    • mrsp3424

      No. Wrong.

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  • BooHoo

    Um what? Are you mentally and emotionally damaged? Stop making this into something bigger than what it really is. Furthermore, what you deem as “reasonable” might not fly with the next woman who decides to take the leap at breastfeeding. Thank God for opinions and free will. Be grateful that we even have the option to make choices.

    • JohnHousecat

      How crappy is it for you to disrespect someone who was obviously mentally/psychologically affected by it (the entire 5th paragraph). I’m sure there are more stories like this too, but God forbid those now-teens/adults speak what’s on their minds.

  • really.

    My mother breastfed me until I was 6. I don’t hate her but I want to vomit any time I think about it. It has scarred me and created a phobia of breastfeeding my own children.

    If you attachment mothers want to cling to your child’s infancy that’s your business but stop pretending that emotional damage is an impossible consequence. I exist, therefor it is not.

  • Lastango

    Erin, here’s something by a psychiatrist who also has serious concerns about long-term impacts.

    By the way, I can’t help but notice that she seems to be cashing in big-time.

  • Katia

    My lil bro (the youngest child like the author ) was nursed to that age and has no memory before 4 years old. My husbands memories also start at that age but mine are from threw and some people have them from 2… Just saying this might not be a problem for everyone, depends on the child , when their memories start. I really hope my older kids will forget seeing my boobs while I feed their brother.. Maybe I should use the cover at home too..
    Laziness can also lead to extended bf, the mom might not even want to bf but weaning is more work. I was worried this would happen to me but I guess my kids were easy enough to wean. I have never heard this perspective before.

  • Okaythen

    I know someone was was nursed until the age of 6. No hang ups about it whatsoever. My mom breastfed all of us until we were at least 2, sometimes longer. None of us remember it or have any hang ups about breasts or confusion about it at all. Considering that it’s very normal, most of the world over, to nurse at least as long as you did if not longer, I think you may be an outlier.

  • Gracie287

    I’ve never heard this side of the discussion before. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Griffy

    Thanks for posting this, very interesting. My memory starts from age two so in this respect I am very glad to have been bottlefed; had my mother breastfed me into my third year I’m sure I would have memories of it. That would definitely freak me out.

    I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one whose memory starts so young; many of my friends cannot remember being younger than seven, and some have no memories before the age of thirteen, the thought of which actually frightens me when I think of it. I do remember doing and saying some very embarassing things when I was very young, some of which I would never recount to anybody under any circumstances! Maybe there is a good reason why most people’s memories don’t start until later – so we don’t have to be grossed out by remembering this kind of stuff.

  • KartofflMuter

    The bitch be crazy! And by that,I mean YOU. My mother didn’t nurse me. My mother-in-law didn’t nurse my husband. There is a reason women make milk after childbirth and it’s not for entertainment-or judgement. I nursed. I nursed on demand. For my child,that was every 45 minutes. My husband lost his job 2 months before my due date. I thought-3-6 month-right? But when he was 3 months old,we moved out of state. Weaning? Ha. I didn’t have a Doctor or relatives or a pediatrician. He refused to eat cereal,but he though books were pretty good. He wouldn’t take baby food at 6 months,but at 8 months,he had a bratwurst on a roll-or gummed it. He walked at 9 months but didn’t get his first tooth till he was 13 months. At 11 months ,we moved cross-country again. Weaning? No. Still wouldn’t eat anything but squash. So yes,I nursed him till he was 4. I don’t think he was 50 lbs till he was 8 or 9. Are you all imagining this children still nursing every hour or so? BecauseI can tell you from experience,it doesn’t work that way.When they had a really serious cold and a high fever,nursing was all they wanted to do. It kept them from being dehydrated. It soothed them. But as they got older,it became something they did for 5 minutes at bedtime and gradually something they did 3 or 4 times a week till neither of us noticed when it stopped. No trauma.My son did ask when I was pregnant with or second child,if he could nurse again and I said “sure” if he still wanted to. He was almost 6 by then. He tried it for 15 seconds and declared he was a big boy now. No drama.

    • moonhead

      I breastfed my youngest until he was almost 3. I decided to let him wean himself, but i decided not to go past three. A few weeks before his 3rd birthday he stopped, on his own. He doesn’t remember any of it. He’s 13 now. I wasn’t able to breastfeed my oldest because he had medical issues. I felt very empowered by breastfeeding because it was such a struggle at first. That said, I do understand what this author is feeling. I also see your point of view as well. I guess mothers do what they feel is best for their situation at the time.

    • kelly

      B*tch please. You just like getting your titties sucked.

    • shefik

      There’s an example of what I just wrote, making breastfeeding into something sexual, thus condemning it. How sad. What a backwards sick society we live in.

    • safer midwifery utah

      ??? Breastfeeding frequently causes cracked, bleeding, or sore nipples.

  • raeronola

    Sucks that there are so many commenters telling this well-spoken young woman YOU SHOULD NOT FEEL THE WAY YOU DO! I love when people police each other’s feelings, it’s SO appropriate.

    Thanks for sharing, Erin. Nice to hear another perspective on this!

  • Sara W.

    I was nursed that long, and I don’t have ONE single strange hang up about breasts, bodies, or any of that. The world average age of weaning is closer to three years than the American average, and there isn’t a worldwide boom in issues relating to bodies and breasts. Actually, it’s the opposite.
    I’m GRATEFUL that my mother did that, and if you can’t be, at least stop disrespecting her. I’ll nurse my daughter that long if she wants, and I hope she’s not as self centered as you.

    • abracadabra

      I fail to see how the author is disrespecting her mother by simply expressing her feelings about something that happened to her in a kind and thoughtful manner. It really bothers me when people seem to confuse a person merely expressing their opinion with disrespect. I mean every adult should have the ability to hear another person’s opinion-even one that contradicts his or her own- without immediately accusing the other person of bullying or being disrespectful.

    • meteor_echo

      @Sara W.

      Whaaaaaat? How is she being disrespectful? What she described is really, really going into squicky territory. I would hate to have memories like that, just as I’d hate having naked photos of myself as a baby. Also no, a lot of countries wean their children waaay earlier than it happens in America (for example, the typical age of weaning in Eastern Europe is about 8 months, for which I’m grateful).

    • Jay

      I don’t feel that she was disrespecting her mother, and her feelings are her feelings. Just because you had a different experience, doesn’t mean that hers isn’t legitimate. And to call her self-centered…that came out of left field.

  • izzylew

    Thank you for giving a different perspective (and I second the thanks for the last sentence).

    I see the whole “I’m breastfeeding until the age of 6″ phenomenon as a form of one-ups-manship to other mothers – a lot like what moms-to-be face in the whole “you’re only a REAL mother if you breastfeed” position. Look, I’m not looking up to open a debate and, yes, breast milk does have a number of benefits for the child, but it’s a choice (and, for some women, it’s not – they simply cannot breastfeed). Breastfeeding does NOT make you a good or a bad mother. As a logical extension of that, breastfeeding until the age of 6 doesn’t make you a good or a bad mother. I’m so pissed that some women are now judging and vilifying other women for not breastfeeding as long as they do. It’s ugly. And, like the “breast is best” mentality, it places inordinate amounts of pressure on women to follow this type of motherhood cult that they might have no other desire to.

    At a certain point, the choice to breastfeed is more about the mother than it is the child. If you continue to breastfeed after two years (I’ll use the WHO recommendation as a benchmark – though the American Academy of Paediatrics says infants can be weaned at a year), it is a choice that you are making for your own benefit. And, as such, be cognizant of the possible effects that it might have on your kid as he/she grows up. Yes, he/she might not be bothered. But they could be.

  • Dora

    Funny but I think your feeling as a teenage girl were entirely normal for someone who understands that they aren’t just funbags. Your feelings make sense to me.

  • missm

    I was breastfed until I was three or so, and remember it. I wish I couldn’t, it’s weird. But I don’t think it’s screwed me up for life.

  • Blue Velvet

    Thank you for sharing Erin! My bff breastfed her daughter until she was 5 and she developed serious psychological problems because of that. Her daughter is 28 now and she still has issues. Serial breast-feeders should stop and think that not everyone is made equal and breastfeeding kids who are ready for school may not be a big deal for some but for others, it can be really disturbing even damaging… So, breastfeeding nazis: Stop ridiculing other people’s experiences just because yours were different (“perfect”) or because you are trying to convince others (or maybe yourselves) that what you are doing is right…

    • Guest

      The human species would be extinct if this were a common problem. Most hunter-gatherers breast feed until much older and humans have been hunter-gatherers for most of our history.

      There are plenty of reasons not to breast feed for that long, but the small risk of psychological problems is not one of them. Imagine if we all put that amount of weight on our childhood memories and put them in adult contexts? We’d never be able to change our children, give them baths, etc.

  • tig

    The way the writer felt about breast is not confusion, it’s how people SHOULD feel about breasts. She “couldn’t conceive (no pun intended) of breasts apart from their service to children’s health.”? Totally normal. That is how we are intended to view breast, it’s society (mostly American society) that is confused. If you compare how long other similar primates breastfeed compared to how long an American woman breastfeeds you will find that there is a several year difference. The equivalent time primate like a chimpanzee breastfeeds is about 5 to 7 years.

  • Chelsea

    I was breast fed until the same age and really… it’s not that big of a deal.

    • Melissa

      Me too. And I have really no memory of it. This level of autobiographical memory for something that happened at 3 years of age is extremely unusual in humans. Not unheard of, but I would certainly not base my decision to breast fed or not on it.

      That said, while I have no specific memory of it, I remember my mother breastfeeding my sister and she was very involved in La Leche League. I’ve never had a problem with seeing my breasts as multi-purpose organs, particularly as sexual.

  • starbuck

    Amazing how so many people are self-righteously telling the author she is a disrespectful, self-centered bitch for having the feelings she does about her own experience. HER OWN EXPERIENCE. She didn’t say “anyone who practices extended breastfeeding is screwing their kid up for life,” she said, “I experienced it and personally found it problematic, so here’s one person’s perspective on it.” She says that her mother specifically acknowledges that the extended nursing was born of her mom’s own desire to keep her youngest kid a “baby,” not out of a considered decision based on the daughter’s nutritional/developmental needs.

  • Kelly

    These women are using their kids to meet their own needs and not the needs of the child. If the child has teeth and is taking an interest on what’s on peoples plates then he or she is old enough to be weaned. Period. Being an earth mother is the perfect ruse that allows women to use their own children to gratify their disturbed impulses. When the child gets old enough to figure out what happened they are horrified.

    • Counterculturalist

      Oh, please. These kids have been brought up in a societies where “boobies” is a bad word.. Breasts have been blurred out on TV, and breasts have been over stuffed in porn videos and are constantly touched on during the porn vids.

      If your nasty attitude towards a woman’s breasts wasn’t a established part of our American society, then extended BF’ing wouldn’t be considered weird or disgusting.

    • Jessi

      This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read. You’ve clearly never nursed a child. It’s anything but sexual and oftentimes is downright uncomfortable or even painful for the mother. “Disturbed impulses”. You’re so full of it.

      And your facts are also way off. Most babies get teeth before a year and are interested in table foods before then as well, but even the AAP suggests breastfeeding until a year! Get informed. Read a book or something before making statements about things you know nothing about.

    • Jill

      BELIEVE ME…I have not nursed 5 children over the past 12 years for a total of 9+ years because it gives me a thrill. You have got to be crazy to think so. I do it because it’s what’s best for my baby and our mother/child bond. Extended breastfeeding is the norm in cultures around the world. It our sick society that has twisted the use of our breasts for something “apart from their service to children’s health”. Breasts are designed for breastfeeding. That they can sometimes give us or our spouses pleasure is a bonus. I have rarely read a blog post that is so immature, so self-involved and so completely ignorant. How disappointing.

    • cheri

      I completely agree – my first thought is this woman has some seriously unexamined and immature feelings related to an evolutionarily necessary activity.
      as I type this, I’m breastfeeding my almost 4 year old. she has all her teeth and eats several meals a day, AND still breastfeeds. imagine that, using breasts for their biological purpose, without shame, because she still wants to. I certainly would not do it if she didn’t want to, are you kidding me? anyone who thinks you can force a child to breastfeed clearly has never breastfed.
      the immaturity and self-centeredness of all people described in the blogpost is quite sad. hopefully before any more children are added to this mix, there’s some deep and contemplative self growth accomplished.

  • Anon

    Thank you so much for writing this article. It is somewhat comforting to know that I am not alone. I too was breastfed until I was 3 and a half, nearly 4. I can totally understand where you are coming from and I really feel that this side of the story needs to be more out in the open. In the western society that we live in, it is not perceived as ‘normal’ no matter what people say about it being normal across the world. Society’s opinion on the matter WILL therefore influence how your child perceives the experience, even if you feel it is what the child wants at the time. I too have very vague memories of breastfeeding (sometimes I am not sure if I have actually created these memories), but I do remember the sweet taste.

    Although I have had normal romantic and sexual relationships as an adult, it really did affect me as a teenager as I felt different to all my peers and felt like a freak. I did not tell a single one of my friends and to this day I do not talk about it for fear of how other people will react. I actually suffered from depression as a teenager largely because I felt disgusted by the memories and for a time I remember feeling like I actually hated my mother for it. I resented her, felt she was weak, and as a result had a terrible relationship with her as a teenager. I would shout and argue with her every day. I do love my mum and have a close relationship with her now but I still find it very hard to forgive her for the way this made me feel. When I confronted her about it, she said that I was impossible to wean which made me feel like she placed the responsibility with me. This made me feel even more like a freak. As a young child, you are not able to see the bigger picture and of course if you enjoy something you will want to continue doing it. As the adult, mothers need to take the responsibility to do what is best for their children, not just in the present, but they need to consider their child’s emotional health in the future, when they are an adult too.

    I fully support breastfeeding and am fine with the idea of up to the age of 2. But once a child starts having memories, I do not feel it is in the child’s best interests to continue breastfeeding as from my own personal experience I have been left emotionally scarred. As the youngest of 3, I know that my Mum wanted to keep me as a baby for as long as possible. I do not feel it is a coincidence that the majority of children who are breastfed for the longest amount of time are the youngest. Why are the youngest children suddenly the most difficult to wean?! I fully agree with the final statement that “it might take more courage and strength as a mother to wean a child than it does to cling to nursing beyond a reasonable point”.

    I am now 27 and would love to have my own children one day but am terrified of breastfeeding. I feel so embarrassed that the topic of extended breastfeeding will come up and I know that personally I will not breastfeed my own children for more than 1 year. I do not want to come across as judgemental as I know that everyone makes their own decisions in life, but equally, I am writing this because I do not want anyone to have to suffer or go through what I have been through when all it takes is strength on the part of the mother. I hope anyone breastfeeding their child long-term will consider stopping breastfeeding at age 2. I am fully aware that not every child will be affected in the same way that I was, but please at least consider the possibility that you could be affecting your child’s emotional health negatively in the future and that consequently it may affect your child’s relationship with you as a mother when an adult. If I can influence at least one person to consider the possible consequences then at least my sharing a very personal experience will not be in vain.

    And PLEASE, for anyone who comments that extended breastfeeding is gross or disgusting, please STOP doing so. This only makes those who have been breastfed for a long time feel even more isolated and alone. The mothers may be at fault, but the children are not! Thank you.

    • shefik

      I don’t think you are angry at your mom because she breast fed you too long. You should really explore your mind and see the actual reason why you are angry at her and why you find the memories disgusting. There is a deeper issue here that needs to be explored.

    • safer midwifery utah

      saying “you were impossible to wean” doesn’t really put the responsibility on you, and you know that, it seems like she wanted to give you some explanation of why that happened. From your comments its clear that you don’t have kids of your own yet, but once you do… you become about 1000x more forgiving of your parents mistakes. Its because you will make your own, and will understand exactly how challenging parenting can be.

    • cheri

      “I still find it very hard to forgive her for the way this made me feel.”

      you might try taking responsibility for your own feelings and stop blaming others who care for you for “making” you feel anything. you’d be amazed at the growth and maturity that can come from truly making your own choices, be they feelings or behaviors.

    • SpiceRak2

      I’m sorry that these other posters felt that your feelings weren’t valid. Everyone has tried to play psychologist with your personal experience rather than appreciating the pain you have endured. I hope that one day, you will find peace and know that you are not a freak and not alone.

  • mumei

    I think I would feel the same way if I could remember my mother breastfeeding me. I have always had this aversion to breastfeeding so I can completely imagine being in your situation. I know it is suppose to be great for the child and have all these benefits the longer you do it. But I would like to see more articles (not just statistics) from/about adults who were breastfed into childhood. Because the ones who I have known personally did not psychologically benefit from it as research says they should have. Maybe it was environmental and had nothing to do with breastfeeding.

  • shefik

    Living in a society where sucking breast is seen as sexual, it’s no wonder that it sickens the people who get it when they are able to remember. I met a young lady In Central America who was breast fed until she was 6. There breast feeding is not a taboo or something sexual or hidden. She recalls coming home from school and being breast fed, and it seemed like a comfort, since as she grew older her mom became more isolated and seem to not pay attention to her. As for us, where love is seen as sex and breast have become a sex object, woman seem to be scared or weirded out to even breast fed their own children. While I don’t condemn you for the way you feel, as these are real feelings. I’d like for you to look closely at these feelings and let them take over you without running away from them, really feel them. That’s the only way to be liberated from them. I feel like there is hidden pain in there, that has never really been expressed and released. This thing is such a sad ordeal, the way we restrict our emotions and other natural qualities in and between us makes me sad.

  • Counterculturalist

    Many children who have been breastfed in less perverted countries would have to disagree with you, hun. The only reason why you think it’s weird is because you’ve been brought up in a society where breasts have turned into sex toy despite how they do not lubricate and they aren’t responsible for the reproduction of children.

    I remember breastfeeding and my mom breastfeeding my sister, it wasn’t weird.

  • Alisha

    I hope you realize the sacrifices your mother made for you. I understand the hang ups but have you REALLY thought about what it meant to her to bf for that long? My daughter is 2 1/2 and we are still nursing. The part that really gets me is when people (I saw a couple comments here) about how it’s for the mother’s perverted reasons. I can think of nothing LESS sexually gratifying than nursing. I’ve had times where I tear up every time she latches because it hurts. I’ve never missed a bedtime, nap time, morning wake up or nap wake up. EVER!! I can’t because she nurses to go to sleep. When she wakes up…..I could be gone but she’s so cranky if she doesn’t nurse. There are times where I think “It would be nice to be able to leave the house for more than a couple hours” but it’s worth it to me. She’ll wean when she’s ready. I WANT her to learn to listen to her instincts. When everyone else in this house has been ill, she’s stayed healthy. Yes, I can see someone breastfeeding for longer because it’s their youngest child but even with that, are you sure she didn’t bf for that long because she was trying to do what’s best by you? Being upset because you can’t see your breasts as sexual objects seems so strange to me. You have those to feed children. It’s what they were intended for. For me, I choose to embrace that instead of fight it. You do have freedom of choice sometimes in how you feel. I am big on “Your feelings are your feelings” but don’t assume that they are always out of your control. You can be weirded out if you choose but try to have a little respect for what she was trying to do also. You have no idea how many times it kept you healthy.

    • Amy

      I don’t think this girl is being selfish or disrespectful. She is simply stating her feelings about her OWN experience. I’ve breastfed all of my kids for about 10 months….I guess I’m just not supermom, but that’s about as long as I can keep up. By the time I wean I am exhausted and underweight, so yes, I make sacrifices for my children, but I’m no martyr. If they are ready for solid food and a sippy cup, I’m not going to kill myself to prove I’m a superior mom. Of course her mother was doing what she *perceived* as best for her daughter at the time. Of course her mom made many sacrifices to keep nursing her that long.That doesn’t mean it actually WAS the best thing.

    • Alisha

      I don’t think I said she was selfish. I don’t have anything against her feelings at all. I just wanted her to look at it from the other side. That’s all.

    • Daisy

      Thank you so much for this comment! My daughter is 2 at the moment and I’m still breastfeeding and plan to stop when she’s ready. Those comments stating that ‘you do it for yourself’ obviously have never really observed the life of a breastfeeding mom. You have to center your whole world around your children and it’s not always fun. It’s a sacrifice but one of the most rewarding ones. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m doing the right thing.
      Having said that, I know what shame and especially sexual shame can do to you. But you have to realize where it comes from. It’s about your view of the world and what’s important, which is constructed by the signals in your environment. I can imagine that you are confused as there are a lot of people giving out emotional reactions to breasts. And yes, breasts are ‘sexual’ and attractive to men as that’s just how it works. But I don’t look at my own breasts or body and think ‘oh wow, I’m so sexy!’ nor do I think that’s important. But it takes time to learn how to change your view. I would suggest to broaden your horizon, meet a lot of different people and experiencing the world. That may alter your view on this and the feelings you have towards your mother.

  • Krys

    I love getting the child’s perspective on this topic. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I have often wondered what a child may feel when they mature having been breastfed at an age when they fully comprehend their surroundings.

  • reverie

    “And so whenever people wanted to talk about developing breasts or whenever boys noticed mine, I felt like I was being pressured into having children.”

    Hmmm.. sounds fine to me. Almost makes me want to practice extended breastfeeding if it makes my daughter think twice about having sex before she’s ready for kids. Anyways, I think that’s a healthier way to look at it than viewing breasts as simply a sexual object when that’s just untrue. Men are attracted to breasts instinctively because they represent a woman’s fertility and ability to nurture his offspring, which ensures the survival of his genetic lineage. Again.. it’s not about sex. It’s about preservation of genetic diversity.

    Now quit being perverts and embrace the fact that breastfeeding is the true purpose of your breasts and without them humanity would’ve gone extinct over 2,000 centuries ago. Thank your mothers and move onward. :)

  • Cyndi

    I just love all of these people who use the “people in developing countries” ruse. Please. I LIVE in one of those developing countries. Do you know why they nurse their babies so long here? SO THEY WON’T HAVE ANOTHER ONE. Their machismo husband or man or whatever thinks that if they aren’t having babies they aren’t worth anything, so as soon as they stop he runs off and finds another woman that will. They are left with a bunch of children that they don’t want and can’t support. The only form of birth control they have it is to keep nursing their babies, and although it isn’t 100% effective, it’s better than nothing. It has nothing to do with maternal love or anything else. Good grief. And as far as the author and her feelings? They are her FEELINGS. They are HERS. And those of you who have called her names and championed your way of life need to back off. You want to nurse your child until they hit high school? Go ahead. You never nursed? Good for you. It’s a very personal thing, and no one has the right to criticize another person’s choices. But for goodness sake, stop acting like you know what you’re talking about because you read National Geographic. I assure you–you don’t.

    • Ida

      Some of us are actually from “one of those developing countries”. Please don’t make blanket statements about a culture and country where you are a guest.

  • Bobbie92

    I weaned my son just before he turned 2 – I had felt that he’d had all the benefits he needed from it and that it wouldn’t be a good idea to carry on now that he is talking and understanding things more, he’s a proper little boy now and I don’t want him to remember feeding! – But I’ve been made to feel guilty about it because lots of people have told me I should have kept on going. My mum linked me to your article and I’d just like to thank you for reassuring me that I stopped at the right time for him. I’m pro extended breastfeeding, but not beyond the point where it could become negative. That’s just my personal opinion though, each to their own :)

  • Anniebobbin

    I wonder how many children in developing countries feel weirded out by extended breastfeeding? It’s a sad reality that society has made her feel that something is wrong with being able to remember breastfeeding. The reason she saw breast as for children IS BECAUSE THEY ARE. Not for ‘boys to notice’. Basically she has normal feelings about her breasts, in a country full of people with odd, oppressive, sexist views.

  • Emma

    I wasn’t breastfed and I wish I had been. I feel I missed out emotionally and physically. I am currently nursing my 3rd and 4th child. They will wean when they are ready. You literally cannot force a child to nurse. My 1st weaned at 12 months (forced weaned by me), 2nd weaned himself at 3y10m, my 3rd is 2y8m and still nursing as is my 5m old.

    Reading the article the feeling I get is that it is he authors own issues in terms of her self confidence (note her comment about her sisters) and not to do with her mother nursing her till age 3. Kudos to her mum and I hope that the author can get her self in a better place and not berate something wonderful her mother did by letting her daughter natural term nurse

  • Kate

    I find this terribly sad, I am currently feeding my 19 month old with no sign of stopping, believe me it’s so his choice! I hope he will never feel like this, I don’t think the breastfeeding is the problem it’s the way society views breasts & it’s so awful that it effects women and children in such tragic ways. I suffer with depression& anxiety and sometimes wish my mum had tried harder to breastfeed me & then maybe I wouldn’t be so screwed up but I respect the decisions she made at the time and have moved on. I hope the author finds some different perspectives of looking at this and seeks therapy to alleviate her negative feelings towards breasts and there dual purpose of both feeding young & as sexual objects.

  • elderfox

    I would imagine that until the 20th century, bottles of formulated cow’s milk weren’t really an option. So babies were either fed by their mothers or by somebody else’s mother – wetnursing. Well lets just imagine all the angst and pyschological distress to whole populations, countries even, of adults, like the author, absolutely aghast that they had been fed for considerable lengths of time, milk from a real human breast!?! And not a cows!!! In a plastic bottle!!! Well I am so glad that the human race has come to its senses and now sees fit to feed its young milk synthesised with genetically modified ingredients that could never hope to mimic breast milk. Perhaps the author can take comfort from this: that kids from all over the globe will never have to form a healthy positive relationship with a breast again and can be free to only think of breasts in a sexual context.

  • tiffaboo

    i cant remember a dang thing about when i was three…

  • Leslie

    You are the perfect example of how sick and decadent is this society. I thank you for writing this. I sadly realize the crucial importance of teaching our children to to recognize properly the human anatomy and see a woman’s body as it is. . and is not only a sex toy you know? Hiding our naked bodies from our children, teaching them that sex is nasty (instead of a natural act by mutual consent between two responsible adults) and making up stupid names for their genitals only leads to this. I’m thankful that other societies don’t have the same issue. Anyway thanks for sharing your perspective. and by the way I was breastfed until age 5 and occasionally see my mom topless, I feel nothing. but then again I wasn’t raised in America

  • safer midwifery utah

    It sounds like your mom was having some emotional issues and used extended breast feeding to address them. That sounds pretty unhealthy from an emotional standpoint. Seems like it just wasn’t for you and she kept going for her own reasons. Sorry you went through that.

  • Amanda Leigh

    You were very sheltered if the most traumatic thing was your mother feeding you . How fortunate for you that you had such an easy childhood.

  • BeyondthC

    Society made this aversion in the author, not the act of breastfeeding full term.

  • mrsp3424

    My mother breastfed me until I was 3 and I’m so thankful that she did! It did not scar me, it no negative effect on me, only positive.