Turned On by Breastfeeding?

Embarrassing Sensations

New nursing mothers may be disturbed or embarrassed to find that when feeding their infants, they feel a sense of arousal. A mother experiencing these feelings may wonder if these sensations are normal but may be afraid to ask a medical professional about this issue. Meantime, the fear that something is wrong or abnormal may end up having an adverse effect on the breastfeeding experience.

The fact is that there is nothing abnormal about experiencing arousal since such sensations are normal physiological responses that are linked to lactation or breastfeeding hormones. Besides, breastfeeding feels good. If it didn't, you wouldn't find many women willing to breastfeed. It can be helpful to understand the exact mechanism of the hormonal responses taking place during lactation.

"Mothering Hormone"

When you begin to nurse your baby, a hormone known as prolactin, also known as the "mothering hormone" stimulates the body to produce milk. Prolactin also gives the mother a feeling of relaxation and well-being.

A second hormone, oxytocin, is secreted during breastfeeding, causing a contraction of the alveoli, thus releasing milk into the ducts, from the ducts into the sinuses, and on into the baby's mouth. This is the hormone responsible for the pins and needles feeling experienced by some mothers just before the milk is ejected. This milk ejection is known as the "letdown."

Oxytocin is also responsible for postpartum cramping that may be felt in the early weeks while breastfeeding. This same hormone is responsible for labor contractions during childbirth as well as the pleasure contractions experienced during female orgasm. It's easy to see the link between breastfeeding and arousal once you have a basic understanding of the physiological responses shared by both breastfeeding and orgasm.

"Love Hormone"

Some women are surprised to find that their breasts eject milk during orgasm. This letdown may not be overt; there may be just a few drops of milk that a woman may not even notice, while other women may find that their milk flows like a fountain. Sometimes the letdown is so forceful that the spray can catch an unwitting husband in the eyes--assuming that he's assumed the missionary position. It's not for nothing that oxytocin is sometimes called the "love hormone."

This phenomenon of concurrent letdown and orgasm is more common during the early weeks of breastfeeding, though it can happen at any time during the period of lactation. Some couples find this sexy and enjoy the new element of their lovemaking. Others may find this to be messy or annoying. It may help to feed the baby just before lovemaking, though it wouldn't hurt to keep a towel next to you, just in case.

Learn more about breastfeeding in our baby forum.