You may thinking about breastfeeding for the first time, or you’ve been breastfeeding another child and pregnant with your next one and wondering if that type of nipple simulation is OK. If you want to breastfeed your husband, let’s talk about the pro’s and the con’s of it.
But first, how do I know all of this? Hi — I’m Hilary — The Pregnancy Nurse 👩⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of labor and delivery nursing experience. 🩺 I have answered tons of questions like these both in person and online through my time as a nurse. I understand a bit more about the weird body mechanics of pregnancy than most, so I’m a good one to share some helpful information on this topic.
If you’re pregnant and in a partnership — be sure to check out this for both of you!
Is it ok to breastfeed my husband (or partner) while pregnant?
Most often yes, although you likely won’t have any breastmilk, partners can suck on your breasts if you’re OK with it. However, it can stimulate contractions, so if you have any preterm labor precautions you should avoid it — and talk with your provider about what is OK (or not OK).
BUT, it’s complicated….
Breasts are often part of a sexual experience for both partners. When I saw this topic come up it looks like most of the information is more about the sex rather than the risks and the benefits — so, let’s talk about the benefits and also some of the concerns about breastfeeding your partner during pregnancy (and beyond).
Risks to breastfeeding your husband while pregnant
The main risk would be that breast stimulation can sometimes cause or progress preterm labor (it can release the hormone oxytocin, similar to labor). So, if you’ve had some contractions before 36 weeks, or are on bedrest, or medication to stop them, you’ll want to refrain from extra nipple stimulations with your partner. You definitely don’t want early labor from something preventable like this.
The other risk is that your breasts are likely extra tender. If they do things like aggressive sucking, biting or something like that it will be extra painful…. Your partner should be aware of that.
Benefits to breastfeeding your partner while pregnant
The benefit would be a closer relationship with them — which is also very important with all the big changes you’re going through together.
Many husbands find the expanding bustline of a pregnant woman extra attractive, so it would be natural to want to take that into the bedroom.
Many women enjoy their new breasts, and feel extra sexual with them, and this might appeal to them as well.
It looks like some people believe that this extra nipple stimulation will help with your lactation, and that likely isn’t true. Most often you aren’t going to have much breastmilk at all until the baby is born. And “roughing” up your nipples is an old wives tale. I do have a post on if leaking colostrum is a sign of labor though.
The way a newborn sucks at your breast is different and may still take some getting used to if you’ve had other suckling previous to it.
Most of all, I want you to be sure that you’re enjoying it. If you’re not at risk of preterm labor, and you enjoy it — then it’s likely fine. Although if you have ANY questions at all, do ask your provider at your next visit.
Something along these lines — “My husband really likes to touch my breasts, is that OK?”
You may want your husband to suck at your breasts, but they may not enjoy the idea — so make sure you talk about it and see what works for both of you.
Is it safe to breastfeed while pregnant?
You will definitely want to talk with your provider if you’re planning to breastfeed during your pregnancy. It’s just something they should be aware of (they’ll want to be extra cautious of your nutrition etc). They can also discuss any issues you should watch for.
In this section I am mostly talking about breastfeeding previous baby vs “adult breastfeeding”.
Many people continue to breastfeed a previous baby while they are pregnant.
Although, most women find that their supply diminishes as their body is already growing another baby and can’t really do the work to nourish both of them. Plus, with all the pregnancy hormones, your breasts may just get confused and turn off. 🙂
However, if you still have breastmilk and you are both enjoying it (and you don’t have any complications that nipple stimulation could increase) there is no reason you need to stop. My friend Katie has a great post on breastfeeding during pregnancy.
That being said, you should not feel guilty if you need to stop due to your increased breast tenderness, or just wanting a break. Breastfeeding while you’re pregnant can bring up a lot of emotions about how things are changing etc, — so listen to yourself on this one, and be kind to yourself.
Is it safe to breastfeed my husband if we can’t have sex?
For a variety of reasons, your provider may recommend that you not have sexual intercourse during a certain period of your pregnancy.
You may be looking or other ways to be sexual — however, if you’re considering breastfeeding, please talk with your provider. There may be reasons they don’t want you sexually stimulated at all. Or, breasts may be OK to use if the issue is just with your vagina.
Don’t be afraid to have these difficult conversations with your provider. It may be weird for you, but I will promise it is all in a day’s work for them.
Is it bad to want to breastfeed my husband during pregnancy?
I think a lot of women wonder what breastfeeding will be like — and if it will hurt, so they try breastfeeding their partner. They may also be very proud of their expanding breasts and the idea appeals to them sexually. All very normal feelings.
You just want to make sure you’re doing it safely especially if your pregnancy is considered high risk.
Is breast milk good for men?
There really isn’t too much nutrition for a grown man in breast milk, but it should not make them sick.
The initial breastmilk is called colostrum and is more clear rather than “milky”, so that’s something to be aware of as well. It is not unsafe for adults to drink.
Most often they won’t get much milk at all (if any) as your body normally needs your placenta to be removed to tell it to “turn on” the milk. But they may leak a little liquid during pregnancy.
My husband doesn’t want me to breastfeed
I like how Ray Romano put it — “What was once a playground is now a juice bar.”
Many men love breasts. The idea of them changing to feed a human may gross them out.
While it is important to take their feelings into consideration, the decision and desire to breastfeed is up to you. There are lots of benefits to breastfeeding — so be mindful of all of those as you both come to a decision.
How can husband help during breastfeeding at night?
Most partners do things like get the baby up, change their diaper and hand them to the breastfeeding person. Those are the best things for them to do.
There are some tales of husbands helping increase their wife’s supply by sucking at their breasts, but I think they’re few and far between.
Most often a breast pump will mimic a baby’s suckle better than your husband — plus you can save any milk you get.
Remember, the baby takes the entire areola in their mouth and does wave-like sucking movements with their tongue, vs just sucking on the nipple.
Just know it’s probably better that they help you get some sleep rather then you breastfeeding them.
What does breastmilk taste like?
Most people describe it as sweet. If your partner wants to taste your breast milk there’s no reason to not let them try it (unless it grosses you out). If you have a low milk supply though, you’d want to reserve most of it for the baby. 😉
Does leaking breasts mean good milk supply?
Not always. Some pregnant women will find some leaked breastmilk on their nipples, and some will not — and there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between leaking and good milk supply later on.
If you have concerns about breastfeeding, or you’re wondering about your milk supply, see if you can talk with a lactation consultant in advance. At the very least, take a high quality breastfeeding class. I love The Breastfeeding Mamma’s classes!
I also have a bonus video in here that gets you through the first few weeks of breastfeeding!
Does breastfeeding hurt?
While breastfeeding shouldn’t “hurt” — you’ll likely find the first few sucks to be uncomfortable for the first week or so. It’s just a tender part of your body that hasn’t been used that way previously, and the tissues need time to adjust to their new job.
If you find that baby’s suckle hurts you’ll want to un-latch them, and try again. Letting them have a poor latch doesn’t help as they aren’t getting much breastmilk that way, and they could be damaging your nipples. Poor latches can lead to blisters or bleeding nipples which you definitely want to avoid!
If your baby needs a tongue or lip tie release it may hurt more (and you’ll need help fixing that).
Also, make sure to put nipple cream on after every feeding those first few weeks. It can really help.
My husband wants to breastfeed after the baby is born
Your breastfeeding relationship is something your husband may be a bit jealous about. He may be sexually interested in your breasts (and you have been counseled by your provider to not have anything in your vagina for six weeks+ after birth). Just make sure you’re both OK with it. Many women enjoy the sensation of breastfeeding their partners, but many also are tired of things touching their breasts and want to be left alone. Both are OK and your partner should be OK with whatever you want.
Be sure to share your concerns about breastfeeding your husband in a kind way where they understand that your breasts are just tired after feeding a human, vs you just not loving them anymore.
Pregnancy can be a fun, exciting and difficult time for relationships — so navigating them together is your best bet. Make sure you’re always communicating and staying in touch with what you each want.
Starting good communication early is a BIG win — The Online Prenatal Class for Couples has questions aimed specifically to help address problem zones. Couples love how it gets them discussing important issues early.
I love what Jeff + Christie said about the class:
“This class was absolutely perfect! We wanted something that kept things lighthearted, while preparing us as much as possible for the birth of our daughter! The content was succinct and extremely helpful and the couples questions were great!”Check-out the Online Prenatal Class Reviews here!
And, if you’re not quite sure you’re ready for that whole thing, check out my free prenatal class. It’s your first step toward getting in the driver’s seat of your birth.
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A nurse since 1997, she has worked in various fields including pediatrics, geriatrics & hospice.
She has 20 years of labor and delivery experience in the San Jose, CA and Phoenix, AZ areas.