My wife thinks nursing is "not attractive"

I find the concept of a lactating women very sensuous. However, my wife is eight months pregnant and refuses to breastfeed our son to be, because she thinks it is not attractive. I am frustrated because I know that breastmilk is an excellent form of nutrition for any baby.

How would you go about expressing your feelings about this sensitive yet important topic?

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

In our culture a woman's breasts are often looked at as "sexual objects", by both men and women. Because of this, a woman's feelings about nursing her baby can be tied in closely to her sexuality and her feelings about her body.

Breastfeeding is one part of a woman's sexuality. Messages a young woman receives about her body as she is growing up play an important role in the development of her body image, and her comfort with intimacy - with her partner and her baby.

Your wife may be concerned that she will become unattractive to you if she decides to breastfeed. She may wonder why you would find a breastfeeding woman to be attractive - and it may surprise her to learn that many men do. She may also be concerned that breastfeeding will negatively alter her breast shape. This is not true. Breast changes occur during pregnancy, and with aging - nursing is not to blame.

Though ultimately, breastfeeding (or choosing not to nurse) is a woman's decision, as her partner, you may help your wife to become more comfortable with the idea of putting your new baby to her breast. Let her know that she does not need to commit totally to the idea of breastfeeding - that she can take it one day at a time. Remind her that even nursing for the first few days of your baby's life will provide your new little one with her precious colostrum, which is packed with nutrition and antibodies. See my letter, Is short-term nursing possible?

Many women and their partners are pleasantly surprised to find that nursing their baby makes them even more comfortable with their body and their sexuality. My very best wishes to you, your wife, and new baby!

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