SWM006: The problem with breastfeeding

Sex Within Marriage Podcast Image for PostsThis week I’m going to be discussing a problem common to many husbands with new babies: the fact that their wife’s breasts have been re-purposed.

Show Notes

Introduction

A loving doe, a graceful deer– may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. – Proverbs 5:19

The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. – 1 Corinthians 7:4

  • My wife’s breasts used to be mine, all mine.  No one else’s.  Then when we started having kids, that all changed.  Now I have to share them, at best, and usually not even that.
  • Any stimulation causes let down and leaking milk
  • Nipples are too sensitive to touch
  • She’s all “touched out”
  • Sometimes even hugging is too much, because of swelling or engorgement

To make matters worse

  • Breastfeeding tends to enlarge breasts, so they’re more noticeable
  • When your wife is breastfeeding, you see them more often
  • Wife might wear looser tops to make breastfeeding easier
  • So, while they’re larger than usual, you see them more often, and they’re more accessible than ever, you’re not allowed to touch them
  • It’s more than a little bit of a tease, which wouldn’t be so bad, if that was the intent

Breastfeeding also tends to lower sex drive

  • Between pregnancy, birthing, recovery, postpartum depression, and just the normal breastfeeding hormones, sex drive tends to go down
  • Also, she’s getting a huge oxytocin fix from breastfeeding, so doesn’t need me to help with that as much.  She feels emotionally connected all on her own.
  • So, husband’s with young, nursing kids are teased to death, and and their wife often doesn’t even notice or think about it, let alone want sex

It gets better

  • It’s just a short time, really (2 years or less?)
  • You get better at dealing with it and understanding with consecutive births (this is #5 for us, and I’m a pro)
  • Eventually things will settle down again

 

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12 thoughts on “SWM006: The problem with breastfeeding”

  1. momma31 says:

    I wanted to offer a different perspective. As someone who has 4 kids and has breastfed for over 4 years and 2 mos (so far- and still going strong!) there are some things I don’t relate to or necessarily agree with. Nipples are too sensitive and let down is only easily stimulated only in the first 6 weeks or so for me after that they are free game for other “activities”. Breastfeeding doesn’t make me more touched out in regards to wanting sex and never have I felt too swollen for a hug or anything! That thought makes me really sad…Postpartum moms need hugs! Also, nipples can be more sensitive, but in my opinion that has only ever worked in my favor during foreplay or intercourse and I’ve had no decrease in sex drive, whatsoever. I can’t be the only person with the perspective that breastfeeding has enhanced their sex life, can I? If your wife has had the issues listed in this article, then by all means, be supportive and try to find other ways to connect and wait for breasts to be fair game again later, but don’t automatically assume this is what it is like for all breastfeeding women and their husbands! 🙂

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Oh, I agree, as I said in the podcast episode, this is not be the case for all wives, but I think it’s the majority. One should never assume that their spouse is like the “textbook”, or any other comparison.
      Thanks for sharing!

  2. libl says:

    I think overall we as a western culture forget that GOD CREATED BREASTS TO FEED BABIES. Yes, they are dual purpose, but nothing turned me off more and sounded more selfish than my husband scowling at our helpless infant and saying, “hurry up and wean. Those used to be mine!”

    Yeah, he was teasing, half-teasing, but seriously?! I told him he could still play with them and even offered adult nursing, but he would have none of it.

    I allowed my body to be used to grow a human being and then used to nourish and care for the human being, God’s creation, and all a guy can think about is how he has to share his favorite toy?!

    That is a HUGE turn off.

    Know what turns me on as a mom? A husband who selflessly sacrifices himself to help care for mom and baby. Who encourages her, supports her, doesn’t resort to porn and masturbating to get through her 6 week recovery, and doesn’t whine about the changes!!

    By all means communicate and discuss the changes, but embrace them as part of life and part of becoming a family, parents.

    It is no wonder do many wives are turned off of sex when husbands seemingly don’t want to embrace the God given beauty and challenges, the relationship of growing and raising a family.

    1. ADC says:

      I think you are being a little unfair here. I agree that a man shouldn’t watch porn but to be honest if he starts watching porn during those weeks it’s because he has done it before and has a problem with porn addiction. Believe me I struggle with this so I know it’s not the pregnancy it’s a deeper and spiritual problem that a man has to confess, repent and seek Gods and peoples help to overcome. But referring to the other things you wrote it sounds like a man shouldn’t be able to feel sexual feelings. Like a man should just suck it up, and I believe that type of thinking is selfish too. We had a daughter 4 months ago and it’s been great but also hard. For my wife because of all of the changes but I am trying to do my part as best as I can to help her. For me as a husband it’s also hard because I really want to be with my wife and can’t sometimes. It’s frustrating but I try to do my part ( I can’t say I succeed all the time but I try) and I am happy to have my family and even if it is a challenge I am happy to go through it with my wife but that said it doesn’t mean that I am a bad husband because I have these feelings or any man that feels the same. It’s selfish to think that a man will think and feel as a women that is bresastfeeding who and who gets oxytocin from it. It’s not our fault that we feel these things. Believe me if I could get rid of my sex drive I would, I sometimes hate it , and it’s only a source to problems. I wish God would have made us like some animals with a certain mating season so that we only would feel this during a specific time. So it’s not a mans fault. Many of us are embracing Gods plan even if it’s frustrating. Judging men that are doing this because you don’t feel the same isn’t better. Believe me if we could or at least I would, we would get rid of all of this. If we could inject oxytocin to feel like you women do I would take it like a drug. So show some grace.

      1. libl says:

        I never wanted my husband to deny or dump his sex drive. I knew he had needs, too. So did I for that matter. I offered to always make sure he had some form of sexual contact, even though I wasn’t allowed to have ANY! I only made it 3 weeks post partum with our last child and I jumped him for sex. I gave up what precious little broken sleep I had (my babies had problems and so did I with milk supply and needed to feed every hour to two hours around the clock) to make sure my husband never felt left behind.

        What I am saying is consistently whining about the baby breast feeding and not being supportive, or complaining about not getting the vagina during pelvic rest despite having manual and oral offered is a HUGE TURN OFF.

        By all means, have a mature conversation, but pouting and spouting comments and mumblings isn’t going to get the boobs available any sooner.

        Better yet, focus that energy treating her well. I went longer without sex when my husband had a reoccurring illness than he ever did during my pregnancies and post partums. At least I offered him oral and manual. I got nothing. NOTHING! And I didn’t pout or whine about it or ignore him or treat seeing him nude like I was being tortured. I focused my energy treating him well and healing him.

        Unfortunately, when it comes to sexual satisfaction in marriage I often stand on the side with the men. I had the higher drive until recently. Hubby’s deep seated sexual selfishness, refusal, denial, and lack of guarding his eyes has killed much of my sex drive. I have NEVER refused him. But I am often turned down or sex is “just for him.”

        1. ADC says:

          I understand your comment and your situation a little better now and I am so sorry. I will pray for you, that your husband will change. My situation is different. I don’t like my high sex drive because my wife doesn’t seem so in to sex like before. So I go around with all this feelings and longing and I try to show her how interested I am. Touching her , telling her thing and so on but it’s a lot of work to have sex because I guess she doesn’t want it as much as I or worse she doesn’t need it. I really try to help and be there in everything to make it easier but nothing really happens. So I am now trying to shut everything down. Not think about sex, stoping all feelings so that I can get down to her level of sometimes each month and the same thing as usual. I will work on being a good husband and stop these feelings. Maybe that ms the way because so far all I have learned is : high expectations give hard disappointments so I will strive to be low so that I don’t need to be disappointed.

  3. Gracie says:

    I also breast fed my children but just for a short time. I had issues due to a hormonal imbalance. and had to supplement so I only did it a couple of months. I didn’t find it lowered sex drive at all. I think that it is different for each and every woman.

    I am now 64 and a grandmother. I think looking back that attitudes have greatly improved from when I was nursing my kids.
    It makes me laugh (or get disgusted) that breasts are flaunted everywhere but Oh dear don’t ever feed your baby in public discreetly. Come on that is what breasts were created for among other activities which are totally private. What a warped society we live in in America. Europe is much more open.

    I think the sexiest thing a new dad or old dad can do is to help his wife with the kids and pitch in when needed. I think we tend to feel much more affectionate toward a man like that.

    There are stages to a marriage and the breastfeeding stage is short lived compared to the years of a long term marriage. I wouldn’t do anything differently. I will be married 43 years in March!

  4. Chappie says:

    Okay, is it just me or does the idea in this sound a bit like a violation of the last commandment? Thou shalt not covet. I mean really, I remember being somewhat disappointed at first at my “lose,” but I’m a big boy. Our first three kids were born so close that my wife breast fed for 5.5 consecutive years. When #4 came a long she breast fed for 2.5 years, but for some reason issues developed and it wasn’t until a few months ago that I got my toys back. I missed them, but to be jealous of my kids while their infants. I think all of this is taking concepts like 1 Cor. 7 (spouse’s body belongs to his/her spouse) in dangerous directions. The idea in scripture there is not “I own my wife’s body” or she owns mine, but the idea of a personal treasure that one takes care of like a family heirloom.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I think you inferred something that wasn’t there. I’m not jealous of my kids. I just miss my wife, but I believe this is what is best for my family. I’m very probreastfeeding, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel the effects, nor that other husbands don’t feel the same in their marriages. But I don’t want access at the expense of my kids, that would be ludicrous.

  5. El Fury says:

    The breasts are less accessible during breast-feeding months, but we’ve found that the worst is only during the first six weeks or so (when the let-down is hard to avoid).

    Additionally, my wife’s breasts stayed a lot more sensitive after she was done breastfeeding. She’s now much more keen on breast play than she was before our first baby.

  6. Spiritwalker 142 says:

    Ok, this may seem a little weird, but my ex used to let me breastfeed also. We got curious once and tried it. Turned out we both enjoyed it and for a while it became part of our sex life. Not every time but fairly often. Huge turn on for me, wish I could do that with my wife now, but alas we cannot have kids, so outa luck there. I know you all think I crazy and sick but until you try it, don’t knock it. I also admit this may not be for everyone.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Actually, my most popular post most week is about Adult Nursing Relationships. About 1000 people read it weekly. You’re certainly not alone 🙂

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