Sexual arousal and breastfeeding
There is this big elephant in the room. No one wants to really see it and talk about it.
Yet, it is an important subject to discuss seeing that our breasts and specifically our nipples are an erogenous zone. It is in fact VERY common for a woman to feel aroused while nursing. Some can experience orgasm. There is nothing wrong with it per se. However, the idea of it, make us cringe, feel ashamed and for sure if it happens we are not going to talk about it! Most likely a mama will promptly decide that breastfeeding is not good for her and switch to formula.
As this study says:
One issue rarely mentioned is that the breastfeeding experience is very sensuous in itself and some mothers may become aroused during breastfeeding (Hotchner, 1979; Lawrence, 1989; Mueller, 1985; Reamy & White, 1987). This is a normal phenomenon. Yet, mothers may feel guilty if they have these feelings. Consequently, some may decide to stop breastfeeding. Should a mother decide to speak about such feelings, both lay people and health care professionals may be shocked, may ridicule her, and may even report her to child protection services (Huggins & Ziedrich, 1994).
It is a sad truth! Women are feeling guilty, thinking something is wrong with them and quitting breastfeeding for the way our bodies are wired. In breastfeeding, oxytocin and prolactin are released to help us bond with the baby. The same hormones are released when having sex to create (a different) bond with our partner.
It is important that such issues are spoken more often, especially to new mothers. It not only starts stopping stigma for having natural feelings but it prepares a mum. Knowing it might occur, would definitely help accept such feelings without fear and guilt.
However, despite accepting such feelings, they will probably still make you uncomfortable, so here are 3 tips to help if such a case occurs:
- Stop breastfeeding for a few minutes if possible
- Think of mundane things, like the laundry or cooking
- Look at your child. It reminds your brain you are nursing
Women be reassured that pelvic arousal while breastfeeding, is not unnatural but normal. It does not happen often but it is still a common occurrence.