Apparently the internet is all aflutter with the latest in breastfeeding. The news reports that a television show is going to feature a man who helps his erectile dysfunction through breastfeeding. There is also The New York Times editorial piece featuring a gentlemen complaining about his wife breastfeeding their five year old.
I understand completely that breasts have duel functions. They are for nourishment, and because of that, men are naturally hardwired to see breasts as sexy. Evolution has duped us into believing that the bigger the boobs the more likely our offspring will survive even though it’s been proven that small breasted women can produce just as much breast milk as large breasted women.
The problem becomes when we can’t seem to view breasts as having duel functions. On the one hand, society gets upset that a woman is breastfeeding her child in a Victoria’s Secret. On the other hand, some moms neglect their sexual relationships with their spouses after the baby is born. It’s a fine balance.
On a more fundamental level, mom and dads need to voice what’s going on with their sex life and with breastfeeding. Perhaps mom has concerns about pain during sex. Perhaps dad is having unrealistic expectations about their sex life post-baby. One shouldn’t be quick to assume and point fingers. Communicating with your spouse about your needs to both bond/breastfeed your child and bond/have sex with your spouse is highly important. Both partners need to negotiate and compromise in this area.
Moms need to remember to not neglect their relationship with dad. The reason why their baby exists is because of the love they felt for dad. Dads also need to bond with their baby.
Dads need to remember that mom may be “all touched out” with baby. Over time, if mom isn’t rekindling the relationship, then say something. Staying quiet will only build resentment.
I’ve heard of the Rule of One. One hour a week, one day a month, and one week a year alone as a couple. This probably isn’t feasible if you have an infant, but you can always tweak the principal. Perhaps hire a teenager to watch the baby for a couple of hours while mom and dad snuggle in bed, eat pop corn, and watch a movie. If you have older children but are low on cash, try a baby sitting co-op. You can have another couple watch your children while you go on a date and then on another night watch theirs. Anything to keep the relationship running smoothly without child interference is key.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Set aside 15 minutes a day to talk and listen when the children aren’t around. This could be early in the morning or at night.
Remember the little things. Give a hug or a kiss before leaving for work. Put a note in their brief case or lunch. Say “thank you.” Sometimes moms and dads feel a little unloved in light of the more needy bundle of joy. The little signs of love do help foster a bond with mom and dad, and the baby will appreciate a strong relationship between the two.
Sex and breastfeeding aren’t mutually exclusive. Breasts do serve a duel purpose. However, I think a lot of what is happening over the internet has very little to do with breastfeeding as much as it has to do with having a new baby or relationship neglect. Unfortunately it’s this mix up that’s causing some women not to try breastfeeding, and some men to discourage it.
How do you keep that spark in your love life while you breastfeed? What do you as a mom do when you feel “all touched out?” How do you as a dad cope with having to “share” your wife’s breasts?
Article by Laura Weirich
Laura Weirich has been married for four years and has two sons. She's been breastfeeding for nearly two years and currently tandem nurses her toddler and infant. A big proponent of breastfeeding, she's been educating her friends and family about the benefits of breastfeeding and helping other women along the way. When she's not nursing, she chases a toddler all day, washes cloth diapers, tries to catch a few zs and reads up on the latest research about children.
Laura has written 33 awesome articles for Natural Family Today.