Training Bras, Tweens, and Breasts…Oh My!

Posted in   Dr. Lanae   on  December 27, 2011 by  Lanae minutes remaining

or Introducing the Over-The-Shoulder-Boulder-Holder to a Tween

I’ve noticed; my baby is growing up!

Well, this is no surprise really.  I’ve known for a while.  Little things keep happening… she gets pretty crabby, teary, ecstatic around the same time of the month as I do, her skin seems to be changing, I have noticed little blemishes on her face.  You know, the usual.

But the other day, Marcia was sitting down on the couch wearing a lightweight, shirred top.  I looked over at her and noticed that she was starting to push through the top!  I swear I did a double take.  I felt like I wanted to squeal inside.  Later, I pulled her aside and told her what I noticed.  She had the hugest grin on her face.  So we sat down to discuss breast development and a little more about puberty.

We have talked about the potential ramifications of wearing a bra.  We talked a bit about the taunting and teasing about bras and breasts that could happen at school.  I told both girls that when I first got a training bra some boys used to snap the strap.  It irritated me but I never said anything to them about how much it upset me.

I also told them about the time my freshman year in high school a popular boy (class president, quarterback for the JV Football team, and dreamboat.  I’ll call him “B”) made a comment to me about my cheerleading sweater.  Back in those days the letter on the sweater was stiff as a board, HUGE, and despite my seemingly early development, those changes slowed and I was pretty flat chested in high school.  At times this stupid letter was concave!  Well, B came up to me and asked if I had a book in my sweater.  I was devastated. I didn’t have a response.  I held onto that embarrassment for 20 years!  I told my daughters about running into him at our 20 year class reunion.  I confronted him and said, “B?  Do you remember the time you asked if I had a book in my sweater?”  He said with a bit of sassiness, “No, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I said something like that.” I said to him, “Well, I’m here to tell you… (I held each of my breasts in my han
ds) they’re real and they’re spectacular”.  The two guys standing there with him did a sort of a back-of-the-hand-to-their-mouths-“oh shiiii” response.  B was humbled.  I was vindicated.  At hearing this story, my daughters were rolling on the floor laughing.  “MOM!  Did you REALLY??”  Yes.  Yes I did.

Anyway, back to the kids.  We talked some more and I finally asked Marcia if she would be more comfortable with a bra and she got SO excited!  I told her we would go bra shopping after school.  She was literally so excited that she could not sleep that night.  It was like Christmas Eve!

So today she has 3 new training bras.  And she is over the moon!

I delight in having these conversations with my daughters.  I feel like they bring us closer together every day.  I want to share my experiences with my girls.  I’m sure they appreciate hearing how I felt, how I reacted, how I wished I would have reacted instead.  These things are situations they may or may not be able to use in their little lives but if it gives them the chance to think through how it was for someone else and gain a shred of wisdom from my experiences then it’s 100% worth it.

Do you recall what it was like with your first bra?  How did you feel?

About the Author Lanae

Dr. Lanae St.John is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sexology and certified sex coach with a background in sexology and a passion for helping people improve their sexual health and relationships. She is the author of "Read Me: A Parental Primer for "The Talk"" and the upcoming "You Are the One: How stopping the search and looking inside will lead you to your romantic destiny," and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the field. Dr. St.John aims to share her knowledge and expertise in a relatable and approachable way through her blog on

  • I was 8 when my mom decided I needed a training bra, and I was much less thrilled.  This was the first thing that really happened to me puberty-wise and I didn’t like it.  Almost none of the other girls at school had started developing breasts.  My dad was even more mortified than I was, if that’s possible.  By the time I was in junior high I was wearing a C-cup and people thought I was at least 18.  The fact that I was 5’8″ didn’t help keep them believing this.
    I still kind have a love/hate relationship with bras, mostly because it’s hard to find ones that fit and are pretty…

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