There are a lot of things that aren't safe to do when actively breastfeeding your child. Experts warn against smoking while breastfeeding, and nursing your baby in their car seat, but what about sex? Is it safe to breastfeed while having sex, or should the two activities be mutually exclusive?
One vlogger, Tasha Maile, made headlines when she candidly shared that she has breastfed her child while having sex, according to Us Weekly. In a September 2015 YouTube video titled "Do I Have Sex While Breastfeeding?" Maile told viewers that she remembered having sex from behind with her ex-husband while she breastfed one of her sons at the same time. Whether you think the act is OK or not is one thing, but is Maile's choice to breastfeed her child while having sex safe?
It's a loaded question — there are a lot of factors at play here. Many of Maile's critics suggest that the act isn't safe because a young child should never be exposed to sex, especially in such close proximity. According to TODAY, however, experts don't believe there is much harm in having sex with your partner while your child is in the same room as you, or even the same bed. Dr. Michele Borba, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, told TODAY that if your child is younger than 6 months old, there's probably not going to be an issue. At that point, all that matters is your comfort level. Are you OK having sex with the baby so close to you? Does it bother you or make you upset? If so, it's best to move your little one to a safe area, like a crib or bassinet.
Which brings up another safety issue surrounding breastfeeding a child while having sex — is the actual act of sex dangerous to your baby when they're attached to you? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is insistent about their safe sleep guidelines and one of the major points? "There should be no pillows, sheets, blankets, or other items that could obstruct the infant's breathing or cause overheating," the AAP guidelines read. The AAP has also expressed before how dangerous bed-sharing can be because of an increased risk of SIDs and suffocation, which leaves the assumption that breastfeeding your child in your bed, while you're engaged in sex, could potentially be dangerous if clothes are placed over your baby's head, sheets are moved around, or pillows get in the way. (It goes without saying that if you're having sex on the couch, the kitchen table, or the backseat of the car, breastfeeding your child at the same time definitely isn't safe.)
Now whether sex itself is harmful to your baby? That depends on the type of sex you're having. "Obviously, rough sex or positions that require your baby to be put in an unsafe environment are not OK," one lactation counselor, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells Romper. "Your baby needs to be safe at all costs. Breastfeeding while having sex is not something I've ever had a mom speak to me about, but I would assume you would be in a traditional breastsleeping position and your partner would enter you from behind. This sex isn't going to harm the baby. If anything, it may rock them or move them around, but again, that depends on the type of sex."
She does note, however, that if you do have sex while breastfeeding, you may notice a change in your breasts. "The hormone oxytocin is responsible for your orgasm and your milk let-down, which is why a lot of breastfeeding moms experience leaking breasts during sex. It's not an issue and is safe, but it's something to be aware of if your child is breastfeeding while you're engaged in sexual activity."
"I wouldn't say it's unsafe, as long as you're not smothering your baby with your body or focusing on sex instead of breastfeeding," she adds, "but I wouldn't recommend it. Personally, I think it's worth putting your baby down in their crib or their swing so you can enjoy the sex rather than trying to multi-task. There are too many things that could potentially go wrong, like a pillow falling on your baby, or your baby's latch popping off if you move positions, that I just don't think it's the best choice to make."
If you're feeling sexually aroused while breastfeeding, it might be worth talking to your lactation consultant so you have a safe place to share how you feel and any concerns you may have. But if you're just trying to pull double duty, it might be a better idea to place your baby somewhere else while you and your partner get it on, or breastfeed your kid before you two hit the sheets.