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Breast play can feel unusual in the postpartum period; and the changes can extend well into the following years if still breastfeeding. Common concerns can include : increased or decreased sensitivity, feeling disconnected from or confused by the arousal associated with breast play, and just not knowing how to handle leaking breasts while love making. With 35% of women able to orgasm solely through nipple play, it’s not something that breastfeeding parents should have to live without, it just takes some new approaches and some time to get comfortable again.
To help understand what to expect, it’s important to know that the same hormone that stimulates our arousal and trust in our partners, oxytocin, stimulates the initial let down of milk stored in the breast tissue. For the feeding parent, this makes it easier for baby to access milk while other hormones go to work to make more. The oxytocin reflex responds even to thoughts of feeding a baby, well before there is physical stimulation. However, oxytocin also increases with hugging and touching a romantic partner and thoughts of intimacy. This can mean a face full of milk for your baby or your partner depending on where you happen to be!
Have a conversation before heading for the bedroom and set boundaries that are comfortable for both partners. Some are comfortable with any and all breast play and understand there may be milk expression. It may feel better to set a boundary; for instance, breast tissue is ok for play but areola and nipples are off limits. Know how much stimulation you are comfortable with. Is touching ok? How about oral stimulation? If those don’t feel physically or emotionally comfortable for either partner, maybe a small vibrator would be a good addition.
A toy that provides a flutter sensation with a smooth surface, like the Love Not War Laska, can be a great way to explore solo or with a partner. If milk does begin to flow, would you like to cover up with a shirt or towel, let it flow freely, or make it part of the fun? Ingesting your own or your partner’s breast milk, with their permission, poses no threat to you or the baby; so long as milk supply is well established and the breastfeeding parent is free of any transmissible disease.
Get To It!
Once you have your agreements in place, grab a hand towel to keep nearby for leaks, and have a great time! Remember to hydrate well to keep that supply up and wipe your breasts clean before your next pumping or nursing session.
For further questions around milk supply or leaking, seek out a local IBCLC for support.