What I Hate About Breastfeeding

Jay Dee

What I Hate About Breastfeeding

Jun 05, 2012

OK, this is largely a rant, so hang on. Let me preface this by saying I’m 100% in favour of breastfeeding children. I think breast milk is the healthiest option for infants. All our children have been exclusively breastfed, and I would never suggest anything

OK, this is largely a rant, so hang on. Let me preface this by saying I’m 100% in favour of breastfeeding children. I think breast milk is the healthiest option for infants. All our children have been exclusively breastfed, and I would never suggest anything else except in extreme cases.  Nothing that follows changes that belief one iota.

That said, we’re currently enjoying our fourth newborn, and with that comes a new season of breastfeeding, and I thought I’d share what I don’t like about it. The reason I’m sharing my negative thoughts and experiences about breastfeeding is not to downplay how amazing I think breastfeeding is for babies, but rather because I think many husbands feel the same way, but don’t feel they have a voice to share those feelings.

Our society has somehow turned into a place where only one side is able to be heard on most issues. We tend to focus exclusively on one side of the story and either completely exclude, or demonize, the other side’s perspective. In the case of breastfeeding, the mother is of course generally considered the victim who has to deal with all the negative effects, but the fact is, husbands have their own struggles as well. Just because we acknowledge that side of the story doesn’t diminish, dismiss, or otherwise denigrate the mother’s perspective. Both sides can be real, they aren’t mutually exclusive.

So, today I want to share the husband’s perspective, for all those husbands out there who can’t share their perspective. So, here are four reasons why I hate breastfeeding.

I don’t get to play with my wife’s breasts anymore

My wife’s breasts used to be mine.  They were for me alone.  It was my right to kiss them, lick them, suck them, bite them, tweak them, rub them, hold them, whatever.  So long as it also gave my wife pleasure, they were mine to enjoy. 

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

Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice with the wife of your youth.
As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love.

Proverbs 5:18-19

But, due to them being re-purposed for feeding, now I never get to touch them. I can’t kiss, suck, lick them because the milk let down and start leaking all over the place. I can’t bite, pinch, rub, tweak, etc. them because they’re too sensitive. I can’t hold them because she’s all “touched out”. I can’t even hug her tightly because they’re swollen and it’s uncomfortable.

In short, I’ve lost all rights and privileges to them, and not because she doesn’t want me to have them, but because it’s simply uncomfortable at this time. I don’t want to do anything to her that makes her uncomfortable, so it’s a mutual decision, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss that part of my wife. Maybe one day they’ll be mine again, but we’re about 6 years into them being off-limits now. I’m not sure how long before things go back to normal. If they ever do.

Update from the future: It took another 9 years or so, but eventually they did start to be available again. Our youngest (5th) stopped breastfeeding 4 or 5 years ago, and it’s taken about all that time for her to become comfortable with them being touched again. It’s been a slow progression, and we’re not quite back to where we were, but it continues to improve, which we’re both happy about.

Breastfeeding makes my wife is tired all the time

What I hate about breastfeeding.

Since the baby is up at all hours of the night (actually, she’s pretty good, only 2 or 3 times a night), my wife doesn’t get near enough sleep.  As such, she’s tired, and a little moody, and understandably so.  But it’s still frustrating for a couple of reasons.

First off, I can’t do anything about it.  Because she’s breastfeeding, it’s not like I can take a shift or a night, or trade spots. Plus, it turns out that women who are breastfeeding release chemicals that help them achieve REM state faster, so they do manage to get better sleep than if their husband decided he was going to get up just as often.

Secondly, I have to deal with a lot of the consequences.  I’m dealing with the kids more, I’m cleaning up around the house more (and I’m not good at it), I’m taking on a lot more duties that are typically considered the role of the stay-at-home mom (SAHM). And that’s not to say men shouldn’t help with those jobs, and I do regularly anyway. But man, I’m exhausted having to both work a full-time job and add this to my plate.

On top of that, my wife really tired too, so I’m not only doing my work, but her work, plus all the stuff she’s too tired to do for herself. It’s not the end of the world, I mean, I’ll survive, but one of the hardest parts of it is that as the husband, no one is really there to support you. You’re mostly out there on your own. And you know what – we can do it. But I won’t say it isn’t difficult at times to keep on keeping on.

With my wife breastfeeding, I see more of her breasts than ever and can’t do anything about it

For the first few years of our marriage, I rarely, if ever, saw my wife’s breasts. We always had sex in the dark, at night, under the covers. These days things have changed. My wife got more comfortable in her skin, we have sex with the lights on, during the day even sometimes. It’s awesome.

After 4 kids, she’s even more daring, particularly about breastfeeding. She’s not shy to breastfeed in stores, in parks, at church, or anywhere else. And she shouldn’t be. There’s nothing wrong with breastfeeding in public.

That said, it’s a bit of a tease for me. I mean, since she’s nursing, my wife is constantly wearing shirts that have easy access, are low-cut, or at least very loose.  Add that to the fact that she’s got at least one breast out every hour or two, and you get a very frustrated husband.

Breastfeeding has caused the frequency of sex to drop off

Add up all these things, and some more just due to birthing and post-pregnancy hormone levelling, and we’re barely having sex.   Let me revise that, we’re not having sex at all.  Twice in the last 6 weeks, we’ve had a mutual masturbation session.  So, basically, I’m being teased to death with little or no release.  And if I say anything about it, to my wife, or anyone else, then I’m an insensitive jerk whose wife just had a baby and I should be more loving and stop complaining, after all, I don’t know what’s it’s like to be pregnant or give birth to a baby.

Well, that’s true, but then, she doesn’t know what it’s like to have your spouse replace you with a baby.

I’m choosing to believe that God decided to not change our hormones after birth in order to teach us patience and self-control, because what other possible reason could there be to have us men continue to desperately desire that same connection without any outlet? And no, I don’t consider masturbation an outlet, because it doesn’t solve the actual desire – to know and to be known. It must be because there’s an opportunity to grow here, as there is in all things. But that doesn’t make it easy.

So, husbands, if you’re going through this sometime after I write it – I get it. I’ve been there. Yeah, having kids is awesome, but some of it sucks as well. It’s worth it. But it’s not always easy. You’re not a bad guy just because you feel frustrated, alone and overwhelmed. We all go through it.

Looking for help?

32 thoughts on “What I Hate About Breastfeeding”

  1. Rena Gunther says:

    So. First, I totally thought you were going to say your rant was about women who so unashamedly whip out their breasts in public to breastfeed. Without a cover, that is. THAT would be my rant. I didn’t breastfeed my three daughters. But I tried. I had an awful time with my oldest trying to breastfeed but I won’t go into that.

    Second, dude! Does your wife have Sheila Wray Gregoire’s new book?

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Lol, my wife is one of those women who do that.

      Yes, she does have her latest book, I think she’s about half way through it. She must be enjoying it, because nearly done after only started a few days ago. She’s been reading it as she breastfeeds our youngest .

      Actually, she started reading it because she wanted to give a wedding gift to a girl who is getting married. She had heard it was good and thought she should actually read it before giving a copy away and thus endorsing it’s contents.

      1. Rena Gunther says:

        I agree with that–reading it first. I just mailed one to a good friend’s daughter who is getting married at the end of the month.

    2. autumn says:

      Are you kidding me? Your priorities are ALL fucked up. Women should be able to breastfeed whenever, wherever, it is the most NATURAL use of breasts

      1. Jay Dee says:

        Well, that’s a bit rude… though I agree about breastfeeding.

  2. Reggea says:

    Jay Dee,

    Just hang in there and wait, because the time is coming when “they” will be yours agian soon.

    We have been married 21 years and have 6 children and my wife breastfeeded all 6, so I know what you are going through. But since 3 years (the youngest is 6) her breast are all mine again.

    Have patience.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Yes, my wife tells me the same. Things are much improved after that rant, we’re back to having sex (though less than either of us likes due to a lack of sleep from baby waking to feed during the night), but I’m going to leave it up for any other fathers who might be going through the same, or new mothers who are wondering why their husband is so cranky after the new baby.

  3. livinginblurredlines says:

    Ok, as a woman who’s given birth and breast fed 4 children, I don’t get any of this. I am currently breast feeding our 4th and I am begging for hubby to touch them! I’ve always wanted him to fully enjoy the temporary giganticness of them! He was reluctant and squeemish up until our 4th. Who cares if they leak? Sex deals with bodily fluids like crazy! What’s the big deal about adding a little breast milk to the mix. Hey, husbands, it’s sweet! Why not taste a little while you are at it? Don’t touch? Yeah, you may have to be more gentle, but man oh man, those sensitive breasts make it easier to climax, at least for me. “Touched out?”. My kids can hang all over me all day and I still have plenty for hubby because kid touch is not the same as husband touch. Usually, my kid touch tank is full, but hubby touch tank is empty and needs filling. Too tired? Even getting 4 hours of broken sleep at night and dealing with 4 young ones during the day I could still out perform hubby. Besides, a good romp helps you sleep better and I believe provides heartier milk for baby and oxytocin which helps her sleep, too! No sex? I never got this. Sure, there were times I could have taken it or left it, but I never even considered neglecting my hubby. And yes, I even had post partum depression to deal with. Several mind blowing orgasms helped cure that!! After being mom all day, I am begging to feel like a wife again!! Unfortunately, hubby tends to see me in my mom role and it is harder for him to see me as his sexual partner.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Well, I don’t know what to say. When my wife is touched out, she’s touched out, doesn’t matter what the source. And her breasts aren’t just sensitive they are “DO NOT TOUCH THEM!” sensitive. She winces when she changes shirts.

      She finds sex exhausting, not rejuvenating, and she’s never been able to achieve “several orgasms” in a session. 2 is a stretch. She’s just not a multi-orgasmic wife apparently. Believe me, we have tried. She gets annoyed if hint that I want to try for her to have 2, which I don’t understand, because I would be over the moon at more than 1 orgasm a session.

      And while I have no trouble seeing her as a sexual partner, she has trouble switching gears.

      I think you two are very different animals…

      Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    2. Anonymous says:

      I’m reading this and its like watching my life on film.lol.this is so true about me hubby was a little skeptical @ 1st but once I got him drawn in,there’s no turning back

  4. Happy Husband says:

    Dear Replaced
    A few words for husbands of wives who seem touched out. We had a passel of children and my wife felt touched out too which I believe is different for some wives but they are different so you learn to love accordingly but let me offer a few suggestions. Have a very gentle talk with her about your needs and have her read Foxy Mama, Chapter 34 of Trim Healthy Mama by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison about meeting hubby’s needs during heavy duty child rearing times. Then also be very gentle as handle or suck her breasts. I cannot over stress being gentle when you discuss this or touch the ta-tas. Your touch and taste will be completely different from the baby and baby’s can be very demanding so though I understand how you feel you will win this attack on your marriage with prayer and gentleness. We had are last baby 10 years ago and recently i decided to ask her to allow me to just suck her breasts on a regular basis. At least 2x a day if at all possible. Wow it has done wonders for our marriage. The other thing that works well is doing without orgasm. Now do not disown till you tried this as it really works. If orgasm is not the goal your sex life will change and you will be full of sexual energy and will love her like you never have before. We like this so much that I am actually disappointed if I orgasm. After I orgasm i do not feel like being sexual for about two days and I feel zonked. But after 10 days to two weeks without we are having sex twice day for 20-30 minutes actual piv and often that much breast time. It blows the doors off of orgasmic sex and we are both super lubricated all the time which facilitates gentle controlled sexual arousel. Any time you want you can switch back but if you feel the energy of saving orgasm you will soon become much more a server and lover and your with four young kids needs that. You will just be on pause and a few touched and you fully on with no need of 30 minutes of foreplay. You are likely addicted to orgasm but what you need is oxytocin flooding the system and hers too. This is bonding but dopimine pushes you apart but it does give a rush i will admit but mostly I would not trade the 30-45 second orgasm for hours of sexual ecstasy. We are experiencing 10 hours of gentle rejuvenating lovemaking per week instead of 40 minutes fun but energy draining sex. You probably think I am crazy but i would not go back. Breasts are key in the sexual dance but most do not treat them right nor realize the potential they hold! Id give a lot for milky breasts again and I am trying to persuade her to relactate! Proverbs 5 18 and 19 are so spot on I could say a lot more…Making love to the breast is key to super satisfying and bonding sex! Try to gently convince her to let you experiment with what she enjoys. Discovery is half the fun! I f shes used regular hot sex and orgasms this will be different from that.

  5. 2nd time mom says:

    Dear livingblurredlines omg I’m reading you post and it sounds as though I wrote it.I absolutely agree wid everything u wrote.for me sex has nvr been btr

  6. Mr. Richard says:

    I sincerely hope that your lives have returned to “normal” by now. I am currently struggling with this situation now. It frustrates me to no end these days. I don’t know what to do or how to act around my wife these days. Don’t get me wrong, I love her with all my heart and nothing is going to change that, not even this circumstance. With that said, I have recently noticed that our bodily contact has been reduced to a random brushing of the hand when passing the child off to one another. If we share a kiss, it is the lightest touch of the lips. She doesn’t seem to want to engage in the act of hugging at all.

    I have recently been reading the blogs about mothers that don’t even want to be touched and the thought of it makes them cringe. I don’t know if this is the way my wife feels because anytime I bring up our physical relationship, it sparks a fight which neither of us have the time or energy for. So I try not to bring it up due to the same reasons you’ve listed above. I am trying to be the most supportive husband/father as I can. I do a multitude of things that alleviate her workload with our child. All I am looking for is a little show of “I love you”; however, I remain to see nothing.

    Our daughter is 13 months old now and is showing no signs of weaning, which is fine and dandy, but I am beginning to understand that my “issue” will be prolonged at least until she feels like she can give up the boob. I just hope that it isn’t a situation where her sex drive has been reduced to nothing for the foreseeable future (i.e. after the weaning has been complete). Again, I want my child to be breastfed, but I struggle with the same things that you have in the past (hopefully in the past).

    Like I mentioned before, I don’t know how to act around my wife these days. I love her with all my heart and I am sexually attracted to her like nobody’s business, so it is tough to “let her figure it out” or let her come to me on her own time. When I see her, all I want to do is scoop her up and take her to the moon. Recently I have kind of turned a cold shoulder to her because that’s, more or less, the vibe I get from her. I don’t want to pressure her into physical contact, but it’s all I want! I guess this is tough to explain without sounding insensitive or like a complete P word.

    It’s hard to focus on down the road when the speed bump at the front wheel is all I see.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Yes, things have improved dramatically, though she’s still breastfeeding 2 to 3 times a day, so for the most part breast play is still fairly off limits (just too sensitive or doesn’t feel good). We’re both hoping the sensitivity/nerves recalibrate once breastfeeding is over. It does seem to be steadily improving though, slowly, but sex drive is back up and OK.

      At 13 months and the sex drive hasn’t returned at all, I’d probably start to worry as well. But, it sounds like you may need to work on communication first before you tackle your sex life.

  7. Emi says:

    Make a deal with the baby. One for him the other for you lol..

  8. Jodi says:

    Hmm I guess I understand for the first couple months but I’m a long term bfing mama and I don’t have any of these problems. My sex drive is normal, my hubby gets full access to my boobs and he’s able to differentiate between feeding the baby time and our alone time. No problems here! Plus I like that bfing makes mine bigger! It will be a sad day when I stop nursing..haha but maybe by then I will be pregnant again and so they will be big again. Ha!

    1. Jill says:

      Jodi : just ask Him to help you keep your milk supply and libido going. No need to have shrunken breasts or have trouble losing the weight you want to lose. They will get as big a needed so if you want them bigger just produce more milk. It is very healthy for your breast and for the closeness of your marriage. Breast time between husband and wife is different from baby and can lead to wonderful things and times.

      1. Samantha says:

        I hope my husband doesn’t shy away from my breasts once the baby is here, I love, love, love breast play from my husband nothing works better for that fantastic O, I have a higher labido than him, and have since the beginning, our (my) code is “I’m hungry” and he looks at me with those fierce eyes NO, Lol but I always win in the end.

        🙁 I will lose my ever loving mind if he freaks out over my milk, he’s going to get it on him wether he wants it or not.

  9. Kay says:

    I know this is old now, but I have been pregnant or breastfeeding for six out of our 8.5 year marriage and my hubby and I had to work thru this. After kid number 3, we were both finally more open and honest about our needs. I get touched out very easily and am one of those wives that had to try very, very hard not to wince when my husband tried to touch me after a long day. If my hubby could wait, we would have a morning date in the shower, where the milky mess didn’t matter and I wasn’t touched out for the day yet. This actually became a very special time for both of us even though there was no sexual pleasure for me. I was able to give him a helping hand and then we would just talk and laugh for the remainder of the shower together and it met both of our emotional needs. Other times, when I was finally well enough for sex, I had my husband put the big girls to bed while I took a bath and no one was allowed to interrupt. That allowed me to reset my “touch-o-meter” and refocus on being a wife. The bra still had to stay on because of my extremely strong let down and orgasm wasn’t possible for me for a while because of breastfeeding hormones, but we still learned to enjoy one another in new ways.

    For the women reading this, please make this time with your husband a priority. You won’t believe how special it can be if you let it.

    For the husbands, please understand your wife’s very real need for personal space and do not take it personally if she is touched out. Ask her what she needs so that you can spend some time together and then MAKE IT HAPPEN. And don’t pressure her to orgasm if she doesn’t want to. Breastfeeding hormones (and/or exhaustion) may make orgasm difficult or impossible. Unlike men, most women do not need an orgasm every time to feel satisfied. The pressure to orgasm can actually ruin that time together if breastfeeding makes it difficult for her to finish. It will get easier when her hormones regulate. I promise!

    1. Jay Dee says:

      It might be an older post, but people still read it, and the comments. And I myself am going through this again with our new 5 month old.

      Good reminders Kay.

  10. Thea says:

    I just had my first and I can honestly say I am a lot like your wife. My husband has been making little comments but I just didn’t understand the physical need until I read this. I get cleared for sex on Thursday so he won’t have to wait much longer. Thanks for the insight!

    1. Jay Dee says:

      You’re very welcome.

  11. mrguy says:

    Sadly, this very thing eventually ended my marriage. My wife breastfed our two children and two things happened.

    1. I discovered that I loved being at her breasts more than I ever had before, suckling them and touching them
    (and yes, this included getting milk from them)\ more than anything in the world, and it was the greatest comforting
    thing ever, as well as sexual turn-on.

    2. Miserably, my wife was completely the opposite. She resented my attraction to her breasts, resented that I always wanted them,
    resented that I liked the milk.

    So for the 4 odd years when she was breastfeeding (two kids, 2 years apart, meant there was roughly a continuous 4 year period
    of raising and breastfeeding a baby in the house), this drove an enormous wedge between us. There was no compromising or negotiating.
    We could never agree in the slightest way about this.

    And just like the original post, all during this time her breasts were the most full, most beautiful they had ever been and
    I couldn’t have them.

    After that period, we never recovered from this. Even after the kids grew up. We basically lived a sexless marriage for 15 more years
    before I just couldn’t stand it anymore. We talked, agreed that we both wanted a divorce. It was quick, amicable, and relatively
    easy, as divorces go.

    And before you judge me.. there’s more you need to know. During the few scant times in those 15 years, when she DID let me be
    at her breasts, it was obvious that she loved it. In fact, the only way she could orgasm was if I was sucking at her breasts.
    Why she mostly pushed me away, why she resented my attraction to them, I will never ever understand. We were good friends,
    good partners, and we fit together in almost every conceivable way except this. We agreed on our children, the rules, how to raise them,
    where to live, on things we did with our home, on money, on *everything*, except this.

    Sir, you are not an insensitive jerk. Don’t underestimate the devastation this can cause. Your post is several years old as I write this,
    but it’s important that people understand that this isn’t uncommon and it can destroy a marriage. And it isn’t “just some shallow little thing.”
    No way. If a man and woman are not prepared to give themselves to each other, body and soul, there is going to be trouble.
    I really hope you got this out in the open and found a compromise. We could not.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Sorry man, but there’s no way I’d choose breasts over my wife… that’s not divorce worthy in my book. Respectfully, I think you made a bad choice.

  12. Anonymous says:

    My first question to you would be this, what are you doing to help alleviate her burdens? The tiredness when nursing a baby and having older children to care for is BONE DEEP! Are you doing all you can to make things easier for her? I just see you focusing on your needs here, and not hers.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Wow!!! I am pretty sure in your marriage contract both man and the woman say ‘ I give you my body’ so to break it down, 1st you must give her your body and attention that she needs. You cannot be the leader of the family and expect your needs to have primacy; they don’t. In additon breasts are pysically there to feed children and is a clear pysical sign your different from a male ( also they make your fav dress look great)

    I think this lack of respect for wives bodies makes Christian’s look identical to the world!

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Did you read the part about it being a rant? I said it twice…

  14. Anonymous says:

    anonymous says:

    It is a truth that men are deeply attached to breasts. When my wife was nursing I felt a little bit left out of the loop. Our focus was on the children, though, and it wasn’t a problem for us. She made her breasts available to me, but because of social conditioning it never crossed my mind to luxuriate in in the fruitful gift of her breasts and only enjoyed them for a minute during foreplay. Sex was a little less enjoyable because she squirted milk so much that she had to wear a bra during sex. At this point in our lives, we are in our sixties, I enjoy the squirting very much and are comforted in the safe harbor of her breasts. My wife is the one that wrote anonymous says in the anr section of this site, the last entry. What she said about anr being a special bonus to marriage is true for us–in our many years of marriage and older age it truly is a special gift and bonus to our intimacy.


  15. Ana says:

    I think that the man who wrote this article, should use the Bible to understand that marriage and love are also sacrifice and waiting.but it looks like he uses the sacred book only to find permission to his tastes.i think maybe you have a too much relaxed spiritual life and should do something to live deeply your relationship with God. Start with respecting the times of nature( wich are the times of your wife as well) that being said,i wish you and your spouse all the best.sorry for my english,i’m not american,sorry for being maybe a little rude but i just wanted to help you .

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I think the woman who wrote this comment should read the part where it says “this is largely a rant” and then maybe some of the other posts before she makes such baseless accusations.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I’m in my 40s and I’ve noticed my husband always play with my breasts, I used to feel y he is behaving like a baby who is taking breast milk from his mom, he always fond off and I too enjoy him playing with mine and the wonder is I’ve very small breasts but after reading this ANR I feel like having it and give it a try but my husband is too shy, my girl is grown up and he never let me do this

  17. Shane says:

    This is so wrong. My breast’s are my breast’s and not anyone else’s. Breast were made to provide sustenance not to objectify.

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