Nervous about nipple-play’s effects on nursing

Originally Published: December 3, 2004
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Dear Alice,

During sex, my husband likes to squeeze and suck my nipples. I enjoy this, but an worried that this type of pressure on the nipples may cause problems later on: we are planning on having a baby in a few years, and I want to breastfeed. Might the pressure of squeezing and sucking hurt my mammary glands and ducts, making it difficult or impossible for me to breastfeed?

Thanks,
Concerned Future Mom

Dear Concerned Future Mom,

Many couples enjoy the pleasure that comes from sucking on or squeezing their partner's breasts and nipples, both as receivers and givers. Some like soft sensations, while others prefer more intensity, including gentle biting, pinching the nipples, or even using piercings, clamps, or other items for additional pleasure.

Any type of trauma that causes scarring of the nipple and its surrounding tissue can potentially cause complications with breastfeeding. Scarring in or around the milk ducts can cause blockages. However, unless you and your husband are participating in extremely rough nipple-play (i.e., play that results in cuts, tears, or crushing of nipple and breast tissue, causing scarring to occur), your nipples should be okay.

Women who have had breast augmentation sometimes report that scarring has interfered with their ability to nurse, but this depends on the type of incision used in the surgery. Some women with pierced nipples also express concern over breastfeeding. However, most who have (or had) piercings have no trouble nursing their newborns. Nipple jewelry needs to be removed while feeding, by the way.

Some women who breastfeed experience heightened nipple sensitivity and discomfort at first, as mother and child both learn to nurse effectively. Gradually, nipples toughen and the sensation changes, as the two get used to each other during this process. Women in many cultures successfully breastfeed their children for up to several years, causing no harmful effects. Similarly, they can still enjoy sexual stimulation and pleasure with their partner(s).

Alice