Why have my breasts changed?

We had a reader write in and ask the following question:  ” I am wondering if other women have experienced a decrease in breast sensation following the nursing of their children… When my hubby and I first got married, my boobs were very sensitive…. Then the kids came and I nursed them all.   My boobs took a real beating during those times (bad latching, etc) … It has been years since I nursed but my boobs have never returned to the way they were. While I still enjoy having my boobs sucked and played with, the sensation is not nearly as intense as it once was. Is this normal?”

I can only write from my own experience, and I am hoping others who have had similar difficulties or maybe no difficulties at all, will chime in as well.

Before my first pregnancy,  I like to think that I had pretty sensitive breasts.  I don’t think I ever got orgasmic with breast play, but I really enjoyed my husband’s mouth on my breasts during foreplay.  Five months after we got married, I got pregnant with my firstborn.  With the newness of all the pregnancy changes and things going on with my body, I remember still being okay with breast play.

The thing that is different that this reader is that I had major problems breastfeeding once the baby was born.   He was hungry all the time, and my breasts were not producing much milk at all.  Come to find out later that my Mom was the same way.  Thinking there was something wrong with me and I HAD to be doing something wrong, I went to breast pumps.   Trying to pump in between was SUPPOSED to help stimulate more milk.   Even my baby’s cries didn’t ever cause any of the things I had read about in all the books.   I squeezed my breasts trying to get every little bit I could out.  I was frustrated.  I pumped and I pumped and I pumped….after a month, I gave up.  I had no support and I was in tears.

Seven years later with my second, I decided I was going to try again.   Again, I didn’t produce much, but I had a better support group of friends to encourage me along and try to get me to relax more.  I still pumped in between feedings, but I still wasn’t producing.   I *should* have tried Fenugreek, I see that now to try to help, but at the time, I didn’t know much about it and didn’t want to take something I wasn’t sure about being safe and all.   Again, I pumped and I pumped and I pumped.   I really think I did some damage to the nerves in my breasts and nipples from trying so hard.  This time, I lasted 4 months before I gave up.

I have to say now that I really abused my breasts.   I don’t have nearly the sensation in my nipples anymore that I used to have.   I much rather prefer to have caresses around my entire breast than nipple stimulation at times.   My nipples just aren’t the same.   There is only so much suckling on my nipples that I can tolerate anymore.   Like I said, I really think I did nerve damage trying to breastfeed my children.

I know that this isn’t typical and probably isn’t the norm, but in my situation, breastfeeding did change the sensations in my nipples.   It is my hopes that some of you can offer your stories and maybe even could offer suggestions that would help myself and this reader as well.

18 Comments

  1. I’ve only just stopped feeding in the last couple of months, and I was never one for breast play. My sensitivity/interest has improved slightly post baby, but only a little. So I’d guess it’s an individual thing and check with your doctor?

  2. I am nursing baby #5 and LOVED the sensation of breast play. I still REALLY like it, but somewhere between babies 3 & 4 the super intense sensations began to fade. That is with no problems breast feeding- about a year each time- kids 2-3 years apart.
    Yep, I miss it. It was a simple process of, “Do this and I feel this…” I cried about it a few times, but now I’m learning new things that I LOVE just as much. They’re not as simple, but DH is accommodating ;)

  3. I’ve nursed 4 babies for a year each, and am currently nursing #5. For me, while I’m nursing I don’t enjoy much breast play at all. I think a lot of it is mental for me, but in my head it’s like they kind of belong to the baby (especially for the first few months when I’m nursing around the clock).

    I’ve found that once I stop nursing though, the enjoyment returns. I don’t feel at all like I’ve had decreased sensation.

    That said, I’ve never had any major nursing issues. Never had any of the problems mentioned in the question or the response. So my experience is different, and maybe shouldn’t be compared.

  4. As a side note, this makes me concerned that some women may be turned off from breastfeeding out of fear that they’ll have the same outcome. Breastfeeding can be very challenging at times. There are so many factors that influence milk supply and baby’s eating style.

    I encourage all women to breastfeed and if you have difficulty, get assistance from a Lactation Consultant, La Leche League leader, midwife, pediatrician, doula, childbirth educator, *somebody* with training who can help you find a solution, because there usually *is* a solution. Not always, but usually.

  5. i have had 5 children, and breast fed them all, (i am 32), I am still very sensitive on the nipple. While actually breastfeeding, those years I didnt like any nipple play. Now thought I love it again, but only when we are alone and in the sexual mode, if my husband just tries to fondle a nipple while we are watching a movie or something it is a very annoying sensation.

  6. It’s been 27 years since the last child. I breast fed all of my children and wanted to breast feed for a year with the last one, but she refused and decided at 3mo she had had enough and didn’t want to breast feed anymore. For a few years my breasts were not as sensitive but as the years went by the sensation has come back and I now love to have my nipples squeezed and played with, especially as I am getting close to having an orgasim…it seems to increase the sensation and make the orgasim better!
    So there is hope that the sensation will return…

  7. I’m a mother of 2 and my 3rd one’s coming. I still enjoy breast play and am still sensitive. Btw, I’m of Chinese descent and our family’s Christian. I encourage moms to continue breastfeed but please do not abuse your breasts. This is what we traditional Chinese moms do: 1) before you deliver, condition your breast and nipples with olive oil. This will help reduce the risk of cracked nipples later. 2) massage your breasts (husbands can help do that during foreplay) and do chest expansion exercise – this helps to reduce sagging, and please, wear proper nursing bras. 3) When you nurse, avoid oat meals and cereals – I know westerners like to take that, but doctors who practise Chinese medicine advised that for slow process weaning only. 4)To increase milk production, take lots of fish soup (cooked with ginger and tomatoes to remove the fishy smell), peanut soup cooked with pork ribs is okay too. 5) Remember to condition your nipples after each feed.
    * because you condition your breast, make sure you clean your breast with very warm water before feeding. This helps to stimulate milk besides hygiene purpose. Always feel and check your breast for small lumps of trapped milk after each feed – clear it.

    May you have healthy breasts and a fruitful and sacred sex life with your husbands as the Lord meant it to be.

    The Lord bless you all.

  8. Each woman is different. My experience is probably one in a million. (not literally) I know most women do fine. All I can write about it what my experience was and how I am probably the one who messed up my sensation in my breasts. I never said the breastfeeding did it.

  9. I have been nursing my son for almost 2 years now, and am 18 weeks pregnant. I got pregnant with my son about 2 weeks after I got married, and immediately hated my breasts being played with. It was fun before that, but pregnancy hormones made it painful and irritating. I was really surprised and thankful that I am able to continue nursing through this 2nd pregnancy, because son isn’t ready or willing to wean yet.
    I wonder how much of decreased/increased sensitivity is caused by pregnancy hormones and how much by actually breastfeeding. Most changes to the breast happens during pregnancy, and breastfeeding causes very little. Breast pumps however can cause damage if the wrong size flange is used or if used improperly. Eventually, I would say things would go back to normal, but it could be a long, long, long time. Some women continue to produce small amounts of milk for up to 10 years after weaning, and if there is residual scar tissue it would also take several years to resolve completely.

  10. I’m a new mommy, pregnant for the first time. I love my breasts, they’re really sensitive, and I want to do what I can to keep them that way. I’ll try the conditioning. What sort of chest expansion exercises do you recommend?

  11. The normal ones where you flex your arm side way, up, and then down. Be careful not to do it too fast so as to avoid injuring your chest muscles.

    *One note about weaning, you should slowly reduce the number of feeds when you decided to wean the baby besides taking oatmeal. A proper diet with regular oatmeal intake will also help to reduce a bit of weight. Condition your nipples for a month after the you wean the baby – this will keep it soft and sensitive. You may stop once you feel that they no longer feel dry.

  12. Prior to pregnancy, I loved my breasts being played with. Once I was pregnant (any of the pregnancies) they were so sore and swollen (especially in the first three months) I didn’t enjoy much breast play. After the babies were born, breast play was okay in small amounts, but I was reluctant to enjoy even those small amounts because of milk leaking everywhere. There was also less “pleasurable” sensations and more “Mommy” sensations. There were about eleven years between baby #2 & baby #3 and in that time, sensations dropped considerably. Breast play was more irritating and annoying than anything. Baby #3 is now almost 10 years old and the sensations and pleasure is back to equal, or perhaps even surpass, the pre-pregnancy pleasures. As for producing milk, my breasts have continued to produce tiny amounts of milk, (perhaps a few drops a day) but nothing of significance.

  13. I have found, after nursing my two little ones for a year each, that my breast are more sensitive than ever! Although difficult when let-down was actually going on, my nipples mo

  14. I had to add here that I had the same experience with Breastfeeding that you did, Spicynutmeg. I thought it was my fault, and after trying the pumping, fenugreek, and Reglan for milk production, NOTHING helped, so I started pumping around the clock, between feedings. Come to find out that my first child would have been able to latch properly had I had proper support from someone who knew what they were talking about, and had been given a nipple shield.

    It wasn’t until after my 2nd child, and 2nd desperate, unsuccessful attempt at BFing that I found out not only was my 2nd child severely tongue tied, but my nipples were extremely short and not big enough. We tried the shield and it did help him latch once in a while, but my milk production was horrible and almost non-existent.

  15. I love your advice and wish I would have been told this before I gave birth to my 2nd child. I was told to try Oatmeal to boost milk production and it NEVER worked for me at all. I would have tried anything to boost milk production…always keeping an open mind!!

    I will keep these things in mind so I can try them someday when we have baby #3,

    Thanks so much for your advice!!!

  16. I did not nurse my first child, but i am nursing my second, now almost 4 months old. I have always enjoyed breast/nipple stimulation (when aroused… not casually. that’s annoying!) I was worried when deciding to BF if I would be able to distinguish the breasts “roles” as nurturing and sexual. I had a fear that nursing my son might turn me on or something. But I don’t feel anything at all when nursing my son. And the bond is incredible. It’s like that movie avatar when the two connect their tails. =)

    Flip side, I still enjoy it a lot when my hubby plays with my breasts sexually. My only hold-back is I am afraid I will leak/squirt. He is really grossed out by my breastmilk! Sometimes the only way I can O is if he plays with my breast during other acts. Its like the two sensations together just put me over the edge. I think they are a little less sensitive now, but that is understandable seeing as to how much stimulation they get all day every day. Like I said I still enjoy it, but the mental worries abt squirting and grossing him out really hinders the feel goods. Its like worrying you are going to fart in a weird position lol

  17. I’m the same way… Oing because DH is stimulating my nipples at the same time. I nursed all three of my kids. While nursing, it annoyed me to have him stimulating them! Especially because I let down very easily!! Plus, they were toughened for nursing.
    After I finished nursing at one year each time, my nipples “came back” to their normal selves. Yay!!! Enjoy the nursing experience, I’ll always have amazing memories of that time with each child.

  18. I do agree on that. I’ve had my baby breastfed but after 2mos he already given up and preferred bottled milk. It was hard for me for I am a working mother and my breast is so full of milk. It hurts a lot during those time for my breast is getting hard for It’s so full. I used breast pump to extract the milk and dispose of it since that my son doesn’t like the taste of it anymore and preferred the bottled one.

    During those years, my nipples are no longer sensitive as it was in the past, but after a few years, it’s sensation started to return though not as sensitive as before. I think that it is just a matter of treating one’s self special. Placing our thoughts over the matter. Thinking and focusing in the feeling that you are being caressed and that you are still beautiful, sexy and tempting to your husband’s eyes even though physically your body has changed. Being sexy starts from the inner thought of your desire of making love, then little by little transforming your feeling into a more sensitive and sensual you. By then, you may now feel everything that your husband would do to you while he caressing you.

    I am saying this things according to my very own experience.


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