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Thread: Feeling ashamed about this...

  1. #1
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    Default Feeling ashamed about this...

    So I've written some posts about feeling really unhappy while breastfeeding. Feeling like I was doing something sick and perverted and wanting to vomit. I kind of realized yesterday where that's coming from.

    Sometimes when I nurse I feel stimulation in other sexual areas of my body. It's not a pleasurable feeling. It's more of an uncontrollable sensation, kind of a pulsing. That's what I find revolting and disgusting. I don't know WHY I feel that sensation. Is this something that other people feel?

    I should add: When this happens, I'm NOT having sexual feelings or thoughts toward my daughter. There's no emotion connected to it at all, other than my feelings of disgust. It's not like I want to pursue the stimulation or take it further. It just happens. I wish it would just go away. Also, I've had problems with nursing in the past, but it all seemed to be connected to my menstrual cycle. Right now, I'm not even on my period. I'm not sure if this is new, or if I felt it before and just couldn't pinpoint what it was.
    Last edited by @llli*tallmadre; February 10th, 2013 at 12:56 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Feeling ashamed about this...



    tallmadre, i've read your other posts and know that you have been sticking it out through some tough times. i think you are amazing 1) for sticking with it and 2) for being honest about your struggles and asking for help.

    i haven't personally experienced what you are talking about, but it just strikes me that these feelings couldn't possibly be abnormal. i did a quick google search and sure enough, it seems this is a relatively common experience. there was even a study done about it (one quote in one of the articles says this: “In a 2000 study of breastfeeding women, 40.5% of the participants reported feeling sexually aroused at some point during infant suckling. 16.7% reported being aroused frequently during breastfeeding. In a more recent paper that reviewed several studies between 33-50% of women described breastfeeding as erotic (and 25% of those women said they felt guilty about it).”

    here are the links:
    1. http://naturalparentsnetwork.com/sex...breastfeeding/
    2. http://www.babycenter.com/404_is-it-...eeding_8927.bc
    3. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...B8F27D5.d02t02 (if you cannot access this and would like the full text, i can probably get access through my work and -- if so-- can download the pdf tomorrow and post it for you).
    4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19587565 (same offer as above)

    i'm sure others with chime in with more helpful ideas and experiences, but i just wanted you to know that you're okay and that we support you.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Feeling ashamed about this...

    hiya tallmadre!
    i want to go out on a limb here to say that when i first began nursing, i'd say around the first 1-3 months, i would get a lot of tightening in my vagina. it was similar to the contractions you get in the uterus the first few weeks after giving birth, but these continued for about 3 months. it was super odd. it wasn't a strong, or pleasant sensation, but it was noticeable and it was a little yucky. my doc explained it, and it made sense, and it had something to do with a really strong release of hormones. basically, those hormones are supposed to make us happy when we nurse, and give us pleasure. this way, a kabillion years ago when we were some other monkey-creature, we wouldn't just spontaneously stop nursing our young. it was a survival thing to keep us going. it gets confused when we think of it as a sexual pleasure.
    i don't know why the sensation stopped for me, or if i just ignore it now, or am desensitized to it, or maybe as we go along nursing, that hormone is released less and less..??
    i really encourage you to ask your obg about it next time you go it. it is a horribly embarrassing thing to ask, but don't you think they've seen/heard MANY stranger and curiouser things?!
    you are such a champ for keeping it up when you're feeling icky about it. and like evolvingmama said, i think you are awesome for being honest about it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Feeling ashamed about this...

    Nursing a baby releases oxytocin, which is a neurotransmitter involved in bonding. The same chemical is released when we orgasm. So there's definitely some overlap in the chemicals and probably the brain pathways.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Feeling ashamed about this...

    Thanks, all.

    I know that I've read that women had sexual arousal feelings while BFing. In general, though, what I've read made these feelings sound pleasurable. Like you said, Lizeckel, nature's way of keeping us happy and nursing. But these do not feel pleasurable to me. They feel sexually stimulating, but unwelcome and uncomfortable. I once watched a documentary about a woman who had to masturbate chronically until she orgasmed and she had to do this something like 20 times a day. A lot of people heard about her condition and kind of giggled about it like "Oh, must be tough," but she described the sensation as not being pleasurable but more like an irritation, an itch she couldn't scratch. That's kind of how it feels to me, although I haven't come close to having an orgasm (just to clarify). I don't know if it's because it truly feels bad or because I'm so ashamed of feeling that way while I'm nursing. It's not an "ooooh, yeah" kind of feeling. It's more like an intrusion.

    I'm glad that the sensation stopped for you lizeckel. I'm not sure if it's the same as what I'm having, because I had a c-section, so I didn't have those contractions after birth, but it sounds like it might be similar.

    The other thing is that I didn't really start to have these feelings until she was several months old. It wasn't something I experienced when she was a newborn.
    Last edited by @llli*tallmadre; February 10th, 2013 at 05:47 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Feeling ashamed about this...

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*tallmadre View Post
    Thanks, all.

    I know that I've read that women had sexual arousal feelings while BFing. In general, though, what I've read made these feelings sound pleasurable. Like you said, Lizeckel, nature's way of keeping us happy and nursing. But these do not feel pleasurable to me. They feel sexually stimulating, but unwelcome and uncomfortable. I once watched a documentary about a woman who had to masturbate chronically until she orgasmed and she had to do this something like 20 times a day. A lot of people heard about her condition and kind of giggled about it like "Oh, must be tough," but she described the sensation as not being pleasurable but more like an irritation, an itch she couldn't scratch. That's kind of how it feels to me, although I haven't come close to having an orgasm (just to clarify). I don't know if it's because it truly feels bad or because I'm so ashamed of feeling that way while I'm nursing. It's not an "ooooh, yeah" kind of feeling. It's more like an intrusion.

    I'm glad that the sensation stopped for you lizeckel. I'm not sure if it's the same as what I'm having, because I had a c-section, so I didn't have those contractions after birth, but it sounds like it might be similar.

    The other thing is that I didn't really start to have these feelings until she was several months old. It wasn't something I experienced when she was a newborn.
    Just to jump in here on the 'you are completely normal!' bandwagon I get the same sensation and likewise it didn't happen when she was a newborn. Kicked in around 4 months if I recall correctly and it's not every time. Even though the BF triggers it, somehow that release of oxytocin makes me very interested in sex w/my husband, which works out quite nicely since that was neither physically feasible nor mentally of interest when DD was born or for several months after. You don't need to feel ashamed. Clearly this is a common thing that women experience!
    1st time mom over 40 to Alex(andra) b: 7/14/12

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Feeling ashamed about this...

    I am wondering if you and I have a similar issue -- I only had this for the first few days of breastfeeding, but then I guess I got used to it. I actually was really concerned leading up to breastfeeding that I'd have it all the time, but luckily I didn't. I used to occasionally have this even during sex. If there was too much nipple stimulation, I would have a really fast icky reaction and push my DH away without even realizing. It was like an urgent, "Get away!" It was a fine line between enough and too much. You seem to have an extreme version of this. Not that it helps or I know what it is. I guess trying to distract yourself while nursing is your only option, although I know you said in previous posts you try that. Have you tried just talking to your LO, to keep your mind somewhere else? I like to talk to my DD when we nurse -- telling her what a nice little girl she is, how she's so fun and mommy loves her, etc.
    Mom to my sweet little "Pooper," born 10/12/11, and "Baby Brother," born 6/23/2014, and married to heavy metal husband. Working more than full-time, making healthy vegetarian meals for family, and trying to keep up with exercise routine.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Feeling ashamed about this...

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*tallmadre View Post
    she described the sensation as not being pleasurable but more like an irritation, an itch she couldn't scratch. That's kind of how it feels to me, although I haven't come close to having an orgasm (just to clarify). I don't know if it's because it truly feels bad or because I'm so ashamed of feeling that way while I'm nursing. It's not an "ooooh, yeah" kind of feeling. It's more like an intrusion.
    Yeah it's hard to draw the line between mind and body with something like this. How can you be sure whether your discomfort is more physical, or more psychological?

    I really encourage you to look into some breathing and visualization techniques for managing this. Those can go a long way towards managing the discomfort of labor, and labor involves a lot of the same hormones (like oxytocin) and mixed-up sexual/not sexual feelings. (I actually know someone IRL who had what she described as "very strong orgasms" while birthing her first child!)

    The other thing is that I didn't really start to have these feelings until she was several months old. It wasn't something I experienced when she was a newborn.
    Yeah, I think that's totally normal. I found that the irritating, quasi-sexual discomfort didn't kick in until my kids were around 2-3 years old. Luckily, by that point you can freely put time limits on nursing, and keep the irritation to a minimum!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Feeling ashamed about this...

    That is very similar to what I would experience when nursing my daughter at night when I was pregnant. It was semi-sexual and npleasant. The best way I could describe it would be to say, it's exactly what it would feel like if a man were trying to suck on my breasts when I didn't want him to. I would have the instinctive urge to knock my daughter away (I didn't, but I wanted to).

    It's definitely hormonal, beyond your control, and there is nothing wrong with you so try to stop worrying about that. Let's try to come up with some things you can do to get past it or overcome it. I like mommal's ideas about breathing and visualization. Also, try to think about what is going on when it does happen. For me it only happened at night when I was half-asleep. Is there a time of day when it seems to happen more frequently? Is it when baby is comfort nursing vs actively eating? Think about things like that and maybe you can find some clues about what you can do to change/avoid it.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Feeling ashamed about this...

    debbers,
    I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who experiences this. The thing is, though, that it doesn't make me want sex with my husband. It's like it's the opposite. I wish I could try to turn it around, but I haven't been able to do that yet.

    Hi filmmommy,
    Thanks for sharing. I never had that reaction during sex before having her. I always liked having my nipples touched. Talking to her is a good idea, although often times if I talk to her while nursing she gets distracted and stops nursing.

    Mommal,

    I have been trying some breathing techniques. It seems to help if I try to relax my lower body when I'm nursing. That seems to help the sort of tension from developing.

    stillhere, It happens mostly at night, although I have had it happen during the day. Sometimes it seems to be when she's comfort nursing, but at others it's when she's actively eating as well. Today was especially rough for some reason. It seems like whenever I detect a pattern, the pattern changes on me. It helps me if I distract myself by playing with my phone, too.

    I guess that part of me feels sad that nursing is supposed to be this great bonding experience, but it's like the only way I can cope with it now is to detach myself from the feeling of it as much as possible. I don't even like to look at her while she's nursing a lot because the site of my breast makes me queasy.

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