Breastfeeding can do what?

For most of us, our first foray into breastfeeding isn’t very comfortable. But with time, it can become an enjoyable experience. And for some women, nursing can actually become an arousing experience.

It’s a strange sensation, to be sure. You’re rocking in a chair or reclined on a sofa, baby is doing what he does best – suckling – and likely your eyes are closing. Then all of a sudden you start to feel excited, down there. You may wonder if there’s something wrong or if you’re imagining things. You may also wonder if it’s “normal”.

The truth is, it’s a rather common occurrence.

recent article by sexuality educator and author Cory Silverberg on About.com sums up statistics quite nicely:

“In a 2000 study of breastfeeding women, 40.5% of the participants reported feeling sexually aroused at some point during infant suckling. 16.7% reported being aroused frequently during breastfeeding. In a more recent paper that reviewed several studies between 33-50% of women described breastfeeding as erotic (and 25% of those women said they felt guilty about it).”

Mr. Silverberg cites two papers from academic journals in support of this topic. Something he also touches on is the moms’ feeling of guilt. I think it’s important to discuss this further.

Guilt: All moms know it in some form. Whether it’s guilt about not breastfeeding enough or not being with our children enough, we beat ourselves up for not being perfect. But the guilt or uneasiness surrounding sexual arousal during breastfeeding isn’t something we’d readily share with the women in our mommy and me playgroup. In fact, we might not even feel comfortable sharing it with our partner for fear of being shamed or ridiculed.

That’s where the anonymity of the Internet can be quite a blessing. If you Google “turned on during breastfeeding”, you’ll find a number of links with helpful information. What you really want to know is, you’re not alone. And you’re not.

Do not be ashamed. Your body has its own mechanisms that are beyond your control. Try to think of it this way: You derive pleasure mentally from knowing that you’re nourishing your child from your own body. And now you may also find it satisfying physiologically. If you feel comfortable enough, discuss it with your doctor or consult with a lactation expert that you trust. Or if you’re ok knowing that it’s perfectly normal, just keep on doing what you’re doing.

Breastfeeding your baby really is a small blip on your timeline of life. It’s all consuming when you’re doing it (no pun intended). Those nursing tops and pumping tops you wear make it easier and more discreet now, but once it’s over it becomes a distant, fond memory so fast. Don’t let shame or guilt mar that unique bonding experience with your baby. Remember, it’s perfectly normal and you’re doing great mom!

Here are some articles for further reading on the topic:

Women who orgasm during breastfeeding from momlogic.com

Babycenter.com

National Institutes of Health

The information contained on this site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician and/or lactation consultant.