Congratulations, new mama! So, you’ve brought home your baby. Life is blissfully happy. But – what about sex? Sex?! What’s that? Do breastfeeding and sex even belong in the same sentence?
Truthfully, there may be nothing more shocking than transitioning to life with a newborn. Your little nursling is unlikely to sleep through the night. Erratic sleep schedules are the norm. Your breasts are a human pacifier for the miniature human attached to you 24/7, and you’re lucky if you get to shower on a daily basis. Sex is likely the very last thing on your mind. Right?
Sex in a Postpartum World
For some new mothers, the closest thing to orgasm is enjoying a full meal in which they are not the food. And sleep may be the only bliss they fantasize about.
On the other hand, some women find the release from sex helps to rejuvenate and replenish their energy stores. It revives them for another round of mothering. Feeling a flood of oxytocin from adult human touch may be just what nature ordered to bring a sense of satisfaction. It reminds them they’re not a human milking machine, and send them off to dreamland for a much-needed power nap.
Whether you are touched-out or touch-starved or somewhere in between – as a breastfeeding mother, every woman’s body and needs are different. We tell you all about you need to know about sex while breastfeeding. But the most important thing to remember – be gentle with yourself and your changing postpartum desires. Listen to your body while you are healing, and you won’t go wrong.
Breastfeeding and Sex Drive
A new mother’s sex drive is as individual as the woman herself. When it comes to breastfeeding and sex drive, things can be unpredictable and dependent on a number of factors:
- your healing postpartum body
- the kind of birth you had
- how long the recovery process takes
- the amount of bleeding and soreness you experience
- if you have other children to care for
- the amount and quality of sleep you receive on a regular basis
Many of these factors are not within your control. Fortunately, these issues are temporary. Within 4-6 weeks, the bleeding will subside. Your uterus will contract back down to normal size (the breastfeeding helps to shrink it faster). That soreness will let up, and your breasts will no longer feel like giant boulders hanging from your chest.
Due to the changes your body has gone through from pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period, the sexual stimulation you need might have changed (and if you’re curious about pregnancy and sex – we’ve got you covered). And this can be a good thing! You may end up being capable of new, exciting, and different sensations that your body didn’t feel before.
Consider this time an opportunity to discover the way your new body responds as a sensual, life-giving madonna. You also may have some postpartum scarring, which can sometimes cause pain. If you do, make sure you get the help of pelvic floor therapy right away, as good scar tissue remediation can make a difference, especially when done right away.
HOW TO GET YOUR SEX DRIVE BACK AFTER A BABY
So, you’re constantly exhausted, your milk is leaking all over you, and you just want a minute to yourself. Where is the sexual, orgasmic woman you used to be?
Severe exhaustion in the postpartum period is the #1 deterrent to sex. What few books will tell you is how to get your sex drive back after a baby has taken over your life. There are a few important issues to take into consideration here:
Exhaustion and sleep deprivation are actual tools used to torture prisoners of war. The numerous effects of sleep deprivation have been studied and are well known. Sleep helps you heal faster, improves mental and emotional well being, and allows you to stay in tune with your baby’s needs. Good sleep will also keep you refreshed and more willing and able to desire sex when you are awake.
But how are you supposed to get any sleep with a little mini-me hanging onto your nipple all day? The answer is to sleep when the baby sleeps. It sounds simple enough, but it’s not easy. When junior descends into a milk-induced coma, it’s tempting to jump up and get the dishes done or take a hot shower. Try to resist the temptation and get some sleep instead.
A breastfeeding baby will awaken to nurse every few hours, around the clock, for at least the first few weeks. This is necessary for good milk supply, for the baby’s small tummy, and growth and development. Sleeping when your baby is asleep assures that all of those issues are met AND that your mental and emotional health is taken care of. It will take some adjustment, but it is a short time in your child’s life and well worth the benefits.
2. Prioritize Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a full-time job. Especially if you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby. Being as available as possible to this important job is a key role in many developmental factors.
Treat breastfeeding as your main job and try to let other things go. Let your baby sleep in a bassinet, cradle, or crib next to your bed. That way you can wake every few hours in the night to bring the baby to your breast to nurse, put him/her back to bed, and quickly fall back to sleep. This will limit your own nightly wake time for better quality rest.
By prioritizing breastfeeding and letting other responsibilities go, you will have better energy, your sex drive will awaken more easily, and you will feel more like a human.
If it is not possible to let everything go, enlist volunteer help around the house for the numerous issues that need to be taken care of. Your partner can be a support and will reap the benefits of you feeling more rested. Or consider hiring a postpartum doula to help care for the household chores, hold the baby while you shower or nap, or take care of things while you work for a few hours. If you focus on breastfeeding and taking care of you, your libido will thank you.
3. Self Pleasure
The most important sexual relationship you will ever have is with your own self. Even as your body changes, it is important to stay in touch with you. Learn the new curves, the changes, and take a moment or two to revel in your own maternal sexiness. Gratitude and curiosity of your own body is a key factor in feeling more turned on in your new life and capable of sharing sex with a partner.
Give yourself permission to touch yourself and enjoy the sensations and wonder of this amazing body you have. It will bring new energy, aliveness, and boost your libido.
Breastfeeding and sex is not a foreign concept. It is possible to take care of a helpless newborn around the clock and meet your own sexual needs. It’s also essential to your health and well being. The keys are sleeping, taking care of the essentials, and enjoying your own body (even the glorious new stretch marks and milk-filled breasts). And believe it or not – breast feeding and milk can be an erotic turn-on for many couples.
Oxytocin is the hormone of love and while you breastfeed your baby, this hormone will be oozing into and out of you on a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis. Embrace it, savor it, and share it. Be curious and explore. And welcome to a new sexual wonderland of possibilities.
HOW A SEX COACH CAN HELP
Many new moms find it challenging to begin to have sex with their partner again after a baby or while breastfeeding.
If you have recently had a baby and can’t seem to get back into the rhythm with your own desire or connecting with your partner, there may be many reasons for this. Whether you work individually or with your partner, it will be helpful to get to the bottom of it before you create lasting patterns around sexlessness or avoidance of sex.
A sex coach can help you feel relaxed, stop putting pressure on yourself, and guide you on a natural way back to your own desire and connection with your partner. Work with us!