How to adapt to your post-baby breasts.
Childbirth and newborn care is a sacred time in life, and more mothers are figuring out that breastfeeding is the best source of infant nutrition.
But these mothers may face a serious challenge concerning their emotional experience with their own breasts. A serious challenge for many mothers of infants is deciding "Whose Breasts Are These Anyway?"
The good news is that there is a way to fully embrace the role of a nursing mom and still remain a sensual being who is able to enjoy romantic encounters during sensual adult time. The trick is figuring out a way to have the BEST of both worlds.
Prior to nursing babies, women are free to enjoy their bodies and breasts on their own terms. A woman can share her breasts with a sexual partner and enjoy the rich interaction of touching and being touched.
After baby comes, mommies may face new challenges when hormones begin to soar in connection to nursing and lactation. The brain and body pulse in response to the sounds of baby's cries; the response is incredibly intense when a little one starts to suckle on the breast.
These very two different types of stimuli—sensual touch by a romantic partner vs. a newborn's suckling when nursing—can create serious confusion in the bodies and minds of mothers.
Social and cultural messages do influence how mothers respond to the "baby breast" vs. "sensual breast" dilemma.
Some cultures view sexual engagement of the breasts in a negative way for nursing mothers, and research shows that breast feeding varies greatly across cultural groups (Spencer, Wambach, & Domain, 2015).
Today's woman has the right to honor culture and tradition and still step out to blaze a new trail of self-satisfaction!
The first step in finding peace between the two very different ways to relate to one's breasts is to understand the connection between maternal sexuality and personal perceptions of gender roles (Carathers, 2014).
Women can embrace both roles—and do it with panache!
Nursing mothers can create a personal mission statement about how they intend to interact with their breasts. One practical idea is to separate the nursing from the romantic activities that involve the breasts.
The time that baby attaches to the nipple for milk creates high levels of hormonal activity that involve the sight, sound, touch, and smell of baby. Many women find it more comfortable to separate this maternal kind of breast stimulation from the other type of experience that involves sensual stimulation with an adult romantic partner.
Ask your partner for a sensual massage after nursing baby, so you can slowly refocus your mind on romance. Over time, transitioning from baby time to romantic partner time will become easier and faster.
When nursing time is over, women can put baby down for a nap (or hand baby over to another family member or friend) … and turn their full focus on a romantic partner!
Women are completely capable of enjoying breast stimulation during romantic and sensual activities that lead up to and include sexual encounters.
Sexual arousal stimulates some of the same hormones, so prepare for a possible letdown of milk.
If your breasts do leak milk during sex, no problem! Just have a towel handy to clean up any leaking milk … and then return your full focus to the sensual object of your desire.
The trick is to create these two experiences at separate times so your emotional self and your brain are not confused about what type of breast stimulation is taking place.
You are in charge of your breasts! Do not be tempted to give in to your partner's demands for sexual attention when you are nursing baby if it does not feel comfortable.
You have the right to set up clear boundaries concerning when your breasts are available for nursing and when they are available for sensual relations.
In spite of confusing cultural and social messages of the past, today's women really can have it all!
Women who are able to enjoy sex during pregnancy and maintain a healthy sex life during child rearing are likely more satisfied, fulfilled, and patient mothers.
So embrace your breasts! Mothers are the icon of maternal purity … but also enjoy being fully evolved sensual beings.
So whose breasts are they, anyway? They are YOURS, Mama.
Carathers, J. Y. (2014). The breastfeeding problematic: Maternal sexuality and the performance of gender. Dissertations & Theses - Gradworks. Retrieved from http://gradworks.umi.com/15/56/1556628.html
Spencer, B., Wambach, K., & Domain, E. W. (2015). Lessons learned from African American women who breastfeed. Journal of Human Lactation, 31(1), 15-16.