Sex & Breastfeeding

When breastfeeding your baby, you will probably find that by the time you go to bed you are too exhausted to keep your eyes open let alone be intimate with your partner. The interruptions from your baby along with sore, tender breasts and vaginal dryness can make your sex life a distant memory.

Before your baby was born, you and your partner were lovers. Now you are mother and father and accepting this can take a lot of adjusting for both of you. You may feel like a bunch of jangled nerves since you are deprived of your sleep and feel that on some days you can’t even shower and dress because of the constant demands from baby. Of course there is also a lot less, if any time for you and your partner to be alone together.

Of course your baby has to come first as she is totally dependant on you. Also, if you went through a difficult childbirth and/or had an episiotomy or a caesarean section, certain changes may be brought about. You may have suffered other complications such as health problems that have left you feeling emotional or disappointed understandably decreasing your desire for sexual intimacy. Your breasts may leak or feel painful making you feel less inclined for them to be touched or your child may wake up for a feed just as things are getting interesting.
If your baby suffers from colic, your partner may be experiencing sleepless nights as much as you are. Because you are nursing your baby, your partner may think that your breasts are off limits to him.

Women and their desire for sex differ. Some woman may feel sexually responsive before the recommended six weeks following a normal birth or the ten weeks following a caesarean section. Other woman may take months before they feel ready to resume an active sex life.

Your hormones can change and fluctuate following childbirth causing you to suffer mood swings, spells of unexplained crying or forms of depression. These will all affect your sexual desire, especially if you have a particularly low estrogen level during the stages of breastfeeding resulting in vaginal dryness. You may find your sexual desire can increase when your menstrual cycle is resumed.

The new nursing relationship you have developed with your child can affect your libido. Some women find it difficult to go from being a mummy to a wife due to feeling uncomfortable with breastfeeding immediately before or after sex. On the other hand, some women feel more sexually desirable due to the breastfeeding experience.
Either way it is essential for you and your partner to communicate as much as possible. Father usually needs reassuring that the decrease in sexual desire is not because of him or a rejection of him.

If your partner cajoles you to resume a sexual relationship before you are ready it may make you feel uncomfortable and pressurised. It is not essential to resume your sexual relationship immediate. There are other ways to be intimate such as sharing a candlelit romantic meal. By relaxing and setting the scene, sex may follow naturally. Why not reserve one night a week for each other, even if it is only a couple of hours.