Boobs- Function and Pleasure

My life is all about breasts, it seems.  I am an IBCLC, and I spend at least 32 hours a week providing breastfeeding services to moms.  I am also a nursing mother – my nursling and I are going on 18 months right now.  And then there’s the flip side of my breasts.  My second job, you see, is modeling for a boudoir and fashion photo company, Red Petti.  This means that I regularly spend a few hours a month getting dolled up and photographed in lingerie for campaigns.  My breasts are very functional and very attractive all in one.

The dual nature of the human breast is one that we have a really, really hard time with in most Westernized countries.  Breastfeeding moms are asked to cover up or kicked out of various places, yet we use bikini clad models to sell any number of things.  With the vastly sexualized nature of the breast, is it any wonder that I have client after client who is concerned that nursing will feel sexual to her, or that she won’t be able to still be attractive if she’s nursing?

Sometimes I hear the advice of “Just retire the sexy for a little while, because you only nurse a short time in the grand scheme of things.”  And this is true.  You do only nurse for a little while.  But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use your breasts for sexiness and functional purposes.  After all, let’s face it – your sexuality is why you have a baby, in most cases.  Babies don’t end that, or no one would have more than one.

So understand that breastfeeding is not sexual, although it can be very sensual (and by sensual I mean that it engages your senses, and the flood of hormones can make you feel very relaxed and happy.) The contact with the breast in breastfeeding is very different than sexual contact, so it is not an arousing experience for most women. There is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about in using your breasts in feeding your child – it is their primary biological function. And if that biological function doesn’t come easily, don’t feel like a failure – see a trained lactation professional to help you learn. Most trained lactation professionals can give you some advice or referrals if you’re having a difficult time with sexual behavior while nursing, as well.

On the flip side, just because you have become a mom doesn’t mean that you are no longer fabulous or sexy or desirable.  That doesn’t end the second you have the baby, although it’s easy to forget that.  It may take you awhile to lose the pregnancy weight (although breastfeeding may help!) and you may have a few stretch marks or some loose skin, but so what?  You are magnificent and gorgeous.  And while you’re nursing, you may even have a fuller, more voluptuous chest.  Enjoy it while it’s around.

Audre Lorde once said, “I can’t really define it in sexual terms alone although our sexuality is so energizing why not enjoy it too?”  She wasn’t talking about the breast, but it works for that, too.  Sexuality doesn’t define our breasts – if anything, the nurturing act of breastfeeding inherently does.  But it’s ok for your breasts to have dual roles, and you can and should enjoy them both.

 

 

 Star is an IBCLC and breastfeeding peer counselor for a WIC in the Midwest.  Star also supports breastfeeding locally by sitting on the  breastfeeding task force in her town.  She is helping her  community’s Early Head Start redefine  their breastfeeding support, and is the  driving force behind a local breastfeeding campaign.  In  the remainder of her free  time, she chases around her nursling and preschooler.
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Comments

  1. Crystal B. says:

    <3 …that is all. 🙂

  2. Wonderful! Well-said. Sexuality is a huge obstacle – for me, it comes in the form of other people not supporting me because it’s weird or perverse in their mind to breastfeed beyond a certain point. I constantly hear “if they can walk and talk, it’s time to stop.” Nobody can understand unless they’ve experienced it.

  3. Deana Noesner says:

    I completely agree with this. Breastfeeding brings a closeness with your baby that nothing else can compete with. Even in times that it is hard, in the end it is worth it, for you and baby.

  4. I love this article, except for the fact that the author is a lingerie model, a method through which breasts are so skewed toward sexuality in our culture. Not that I think I can change someone’s mind on the way they use their body, or the way they choose to earn their income, but how can you teach/educate about sexuality misconceptions when, quite frankly, you’re part of the problem?

    • Hi, KT,

      I don’t feel like I’m “part of the problem.” In this, and most Westernized, societies, breasts are seen as sexual. Totally accurate. Also probably not going to change in the not too distant future. So, instead of shunning all sexuality or sexual conversation involving the breast, I find it vastly important that we instead discuss how the breasts can be both functional and sexual. In working with nursing mothers, I hear a lot of “I’m worried I won’t be sexy if I breastfeed,” “I’m worried that they will sag,” “I’m worried that my husband won’t be attracted to me,” “I’m worried about the sexual feelings breastfeeding might induce.” We can’t resolve that by taking the stance that, well, breasts aren’t sexual, so just stop thinking that way. We have to acknowledge the fact that breasts have a dual role and start our conversation there.

      -Star Rodriguez, IBCLC

      • I really agree with you Star. I think it’s imperative that we can recognise the dual sexual/nurturing role that breasts have, and that the two are not mutually exclusive. One thing I wanted to say though, from my perspective it’s not good enough to say stop the sexy for a bit, because (a) that advice is detrimental to natural term breastfeeding in the beginning and (b) some people do breast feed for a long time…it’s been almost sixteen years for me (seven surviving babies in that time) and if my youngest are anything like their siblings, I’ll still be breastfeeding in another year. That’s far too long to hang up your mojo when it comes to boob action!

  5. My hubby loves my nursing breasts, and so do I (even though I’ve got some lopsidedness going on because DS very much prefers the left side)! Neither of US have any issues including them during sexy time…at least once that initial nipple tenderness and engorgement ends!

  6. i get the point you are making, and i mostly agree. I guess my beef is unrelated to much of this, as i am loving breastfeeding and dont feel any less sexy because of it.
    My big grievance with breastfeeding is that if you have really really big boobs like i do, its not the pregnancy or the breastfeeding thats causing my boobs to head south at a much more rapid rate – its the lousy lacking range of unsupportive nursing bras avialable. If you have little or average boobs there is a world of brassire support out there, at affordable prices, in a range of sexy styles. But if you need the support the most it is nowhere to be found! Yeah sure, i could take my chances buying a bra online that costs $80 PP, IF i could afford it, but its such a risk to buy online when sizes arent standard etc….
    I dont feel sexy in the horrible stretchy cloth things that merely press my boobs into my chest rather than support them at all. I cant wear any of my normal clothes because they look silly with low cut saggy boob look. not fun.

    • Ali, I agree completely! I don’t even have super large breasts and I still had a hard time finding sexy nursing stuff. I felt very beige. What might help is going to a lingerie store and getting your measurements taken (even Victoria’s Secret does it, although upscale shops tend to have more training) and then using those measurements to do some online ordering. Some of my clients have had luck doing that. 🙂

      -Star Rodriguez, IBCLC

    • Hi Ali. I came across this site about a month ago, through TLB I believe. They calculate your bra size using 3 measurements instead of 2. I haven’t used it yet, but maybe it can help you.
      http://mommynewsblog.com/virtual-bra-fittings-2/

    • I hear you sister. I’m a 36K right now. I can’t find a sexy nursing bra in my size at all. If you’re an H or I/J or smaller, check out Bella Materna. They have sexy nursing bras. And yes they are expensive, but if you just get one maybe… I’ve always had to buy $60+ bras even before I was pregnant because I started out as an FF. Can’t find those most places and they are certainly not cheap. So I already have it in my budget to spend that kind of money on bras when needed. The bra I wear now (that goes to a K) is by Elomi. It is a UK company I think, but I got it in a maternity store locally. The tag size is H, but the maternity store said is was a US size K. Plus I was pouring out of my Bella Materna size H. Hey Leaky Boob, can you do a post here or on FB about big boobs and breast feeding? If you Google it you get fetishy type things. Nothing very helpful. All breast feeding info seems tailored for average boobs. With big ones you need different holds and positions, the boppy does no good (my boobs reach my lap anyway, so no need to lift baby higher), breastfeeding is a 2 handed job usually (to hold boob and baby. No NAK unless side lying which I’m doing now), we get few if any bras and nothing sexy, nursing tops do not work as the little bit of fabric to cover the top of the boob is too small to make much difference. I could go on, but I would like to hear from other big boob mamasto find out there tips, what Blogs they read, what bras are good, what fashion works. Thanks. Also…I loved this article. It was well said and much needed. Thank you!

  7. This is fantastic article! I adore breastfeeding & very separately adore a healthy sex life! My partner has been my biggest breastfeeding support and also the biggest fan of my new body (my lovely lady lumps!). In terms of finding nice sexy underwear, I have a medium bust with a narrow torso which many boobie bras/tops etc do not accommodate! But berlei seem to have the best fit for me 🙂

    LOVE the fact you model! Flaunt it girl <3

  8. MrsAdorkable says:

    This is a real & very common issue…
    I am lucky that things are so black and white for me. Compartmentalized, you could say… When I am nursing, they are nurturing, and with my husband, they are sexual. & being small chested my entire life, you can bet I enjoyed the initial size boost!

  9. Finally, someone is talking about it!! I was so glad to see this article. I had a hard time with the dual role of my breasts when I had my 1st born. My breasts have always been a very sexual thing for me (and of course my husband). So I was intimidated by breastfeeding. I enjoyed it for the first several weeks but it seemed to all fall apart once my husband and I became sexually active again. There were other reasons, too, but I won’t deny that it seemed awkward to me to feed my daughter and try to please my husband with my body. I felt like everyone was using my body and I just wanted it back.
    Now with my 2nd born, I am breastfeeding again and it is going better than ever. I was honest with my husband and we talked a lot about breastfeeding this time. My son is only 4 weeks old so we haven’t reached that magic 6 weeks that my hubby is so anxious for. But I am confident this time that I can enjoy the sexual role of my breasts with my husband and still enjoy breastfeeding my baby.
    I think it is important that women hear others talking about this. My daughter is 3 years old and for that whole time I never talked about it. It seemed embarrassing or crude that I would view my breasts in a sexual way and let that interfere with nursing. Especially in natural birthing and parenting circles. Thank you for recognizing that this is a natural and normal thing.

  10. You are wicked gorgeous. Keep modeling, keep breastfeeding, keep being awesome.