Before I start off here I want to just say that I am terrified of being judged as what I am going to talk about is a really sensitive and emotional subject for me & tbh I feel really tearful :-( I gave birth to my daughter (first & only child) in 2008 and for various reasons, partly health related but I guess also due to lack of support & well-meaning advice from healthcare professionals I didn't breastfeed her beyond the age of 5 months. She did not appear to be putting on enough weight and I was advised by my Dr., after seeing two BF counsellors, that I was "in the 1% of women who do not produce enough milk" (?!?) & that I should supplement with formula. I knew instinctively that she was wrong but I was scared, switched to formula and she would not take the breast after that; she then moved to solids shortly after.
When she was 12 months old, I was ill for a very, very long time & was in & out of hospital for many months, with several long-stays. Fast forward to now - she is 3 & half and has recently started getting really attached to my boobs - she want to see them, touch them, cuddle them, and asks me often about whether & how she breastfed when she was a baby. We have a few friends who are breastfeeding at the moment so perhaps this has something to do with it. Today she said to me "I want to pretend to drink like a baby" but at the same time she was embarrassed at the same time and I was confused and did not know what to do, so I just cuddled her with her head on my chest.
It's really hard to say clearly exactly what I mean but I feel she had something taken away from her at an early age which she needed and that I failed her. And now I feel like she is asking me for a bond which she wants emotionally but that I don't know if it is possible or the right thing to do. After she left for nursery today I found myself looking up "re-lactation for children" on the internet and then wondered whether I am crazy for feeling like this ( although there seem to be some cases out there) . I am even scared that if she tells nursery that she loves mummy's boobs and wanted to drink like a baby that they would feel I was crazy or even worse sick in some kind of way. I come from a culture where extended breast-feeding is common but live in one where breast-feeding at all is seen as strange in some/many quarters. And I have never heard personally of a situation where an older child (age 3+) feels like she does.
OK - crying now so have to stop writing. Sorry for long post.