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5 Reasons For Low Libido When Breastfeeding and What to Do About It!

low sex drive while breastfeedingIs sex and breastfeeding a no-go? While breastfeeding, your hormones are all over the place. And you’re tired. And it hurts…

As a result, new mom’s sex drive can be almost non-existent. This can be a great frustration both for the woman and for her partner.

Some moms I’ve talked to say that they almost felt ill for some time because of the lost interest in having sex while breastfeeding. How about you, mom? Vote in this poll on mom’s libido when breastfeeding.

So what’s going on?

There are several reasons for the low libido that many new mothers experience. Hormones play a large role but are not the whole explanation. Lack of sleep and pain are other factors.
Leaking breasts (not so sexy), stretch marks (not so sexy either according to Mom) and feeling uncertain about the post-pregnancy appearance also play a part. (And did I mention pain and no sleep…)

Learn more about why your libido is so low and how to deal with it here.

The Lost Sex Drive While Breastfeeding


The Breastfeeding Hormones Suppress Libido

Two hormones great for breastfeeding and really bad for your sex drive are involved.

The first one is oxytocin. This hormone is responsible for the breast milk let-down reflex.

Funny, oxytocin is also called the love hormone and contributes to the strong wish moms have to cuddle their baby. Oxytocin is also involved in lovemaking (thereby its nickname) and is actually released during orgasm. At least in theory, one would think that this should benefit the interest in sex while breastfeeding, but no (for most new moms.).

Instead, it can make the breast milk leak during orgasm, which can be a real turn off for some moms. (If this is your case, make love with a bra on (with nursing pads). This way, it doesn’t have to disturb you. )

Estrogen is another hormone affecting your interest in sex while breastfeeding. Estrogen levels are very low while breastfeeding. This prevents ovulation, lowers interest in sex and may cause vaginal dryness. Lubricants really are a must for many new moms. Two lubricants that new moms rave about are Pre-Seed Personal Lubricant and the Just Like Me Lubricant. (Links to Amazon.)

You can learn more about the breastfeeding hormones here.

Interestingly, new studies show that new dad is also affected by changed hormone levels when a new baby arrives. The effects may not be as dramatic as for the mom, but they are definitely real. You can read about how a new baby makes dad’s testosterone levels fall here.


Lack Of Sleep Can Drive Your Insane

Getting no sleep sure affects your wish to have sex while breastfeeding. (And while bottle feeding too, although some bottle fed babies are fed by dad or sleep somewhat better because formula can be a bit more filling.)

No sleep can drive you crazy. It has been used for torture. As a new mom, I’m sure you understand why. It drives you nuts! It certainly doesn’t make you feel like trading a couple of hours of sleep for some hot time in bed with your partner.

For some new mom sleep tips, click here.


Being Over Touched Doesn’t Help

Many new moms have skin contact with another human being (the baby, for the most part) more or less all the time.

A mom I talked to told me that when she was home with her first baby, she really found it hard to even let Dad take off his shoes in the evening before giving the baby to him. She was so over touched!

When being a new mother, it is really easy to start longing for not being touched by anyone for a change. Great for the sex drive? Not.

On the other hand, if left alone for a while, it can actually be great to be touched by your partner instead of someone who keeps throwing up at you (no matter how cute)…

So dads, be patient! And carry the baby around while mom takes a shower, reads a book, sleeps or just sits on the couch. This may lead to miracles!


Hurting Nipples And Painful Sex

Giving birth is painful, breastfeeding can be really painful at least in the beginning, and lovemaking can be painful for a long time due to soreness, stitches and dryness.

Then the back and neck start hurting from carrying the baby around and sleeping and nursing in weird positions.

Then there’s the headache from serious lack of sleep…

Pain, pain, pain.

Not exactly great for the interest in sex while breastfeeding.


The (Not So Sexy) Post-Pregnancy Body

Mom has a fantastic body. Period. Carrying a child for 9 months and then giving birth to it one way or the other is hard work and a miracle. However, as the body might change quite a bit from its pre-pregnancy look, many women feel self-conscious over their bodies post-pregnancy. Unfortunately, this may also have negative effects on the sex drive.

Try to give yourself a break! In two ways… First of all, you are great – no matter what you see in the mirror! You just gave birth; don’t demand from yourself to have a perfect body!
Secondly, start working to get back in shape over time. Start exercising slowly and think a little bit about what you eat if you’re worried about the baby fat.

Buy a stretch mark cream, if the marks really bother you. Creams can never take the marks away completely, but there are creams, that have well documented positive effects. Check out:

Do your best to fix what you have to (and can) and try to love the rest.


Does The Libido Ever Come Back?

A wise Mom said: Don’t worry, sure your sex drive will come back – otherwise the human race would be extinct!

Excellent! (And true.)

But I won’t lie to you; it can take a long time. And since it is not only the breastfeeding hormones that affect mom’s libido negatively, weaning from breastfeeding may not turn mom into a sex goddess overnight.

Chances are that when a couple embarks into parenthood, it will take years until their sex life is completely back on track.

So what to do? Well, one important thing is actually to accept this change. The more you worry about it the worse the situation will feel.

The other thing is of course to do the best of the situation. Be nice to each other. Have fun together. Have sex, at least now and then.

And Dad, don’t panic and don’t hunt Mom down. Doing that will certainly not help your over-touched, exhausted partner to get her sex drive back!

Mom, do have sex from time to time. Having sex is actually great for your interest in sex while breastfeeding (and for your relationship).

By the way, not all moms have a low sex drive while breastfeeding. If your libido is just as usual (or better), be grateful and have fun!

Breastfeeding or not – you’ll find a lot of useful survival tips for the new mom here.

And here you can read some more testimonies by moms and dads on how their love life has changed after pregnancy.

Quite a few parents have shared their situation by commenting below too. And you can comment completely anonymously by checking the little box to comment as a guest.

Other Parents’ Love Life After Pregnancy

Still Breastfeeding, No Libido 
My daughter just turned 2 years old last week and my libido is still not back.
I still breastfeed because I can’t seem to stop my daughter from wanting …

Sex Whilst Breastfeeding In My Country 
In Sierra Leone, lactating mothers fear having sex. The general thought is that when one have sex during lactation the suckling child’s health deteriorates, …

Some Tips For Newbies 
Here are my tips for improving the love life after pregnancy. They helped us and we have three kids now. Maybe they’ll help you too.
Time of day …

In Bed Alone 
After having my baby boy I found myself alone in my bedroom. My husband seems to prefer the sofa to our bedroom. My libido is back, but my husband doesn’t …


***Don’t Miss!*** Inspiration To Get Your Body Back

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Learn more about the e-course here.

Many moms feel their libido is gone while breastfeeding. Well, it is normal... Breastfeeding libido, breastfeeding tips, sex drive and breastfeeding, breastfeeding facts, breastfeeding 101, breastfeeding info #breastfeeding
  • Me too

    I have a beautiful six and a half month baby, a gorgeous and understanding husband, no period and a painful sex-life…

    By
    this point post pregnancy I was sure things would be getting back to
    normal in the intimacy department. However, sex is rather painful and I
    am dry and raw. I have little to no desire and I fear my sex drive will
    never return!

    At this point I rack it up to hormones. Since I
    haven’t had even a hint of a period and I am breastfeeding full time. If
    you are in the same position, you are not alone!

    I feel bad for
    my husband because we both thought by this point things would be
    getting better, our daughter is almost 7 months old! Basically I am
    still wondering what will happen but I am starting to think this is more
    normal than it feels. So I am just throwing this out there, that if you
    are like me, don’t worry.

    My doctor said when women in this
    position stop breastfeeding things return to normal.. perhaps I will
    update in the near future 🙂

    Take care out there.

    • Mia

      Glad to hear of someone EXACTLY in my shoes!!
      Mine is only 5 months old and I actually had a C-section. From what I
      am reading and the only thing I guess I need is to stock up on some
      lube! Is very frustrating though!

    • not changing

      My son is 10 months old and STILL no desire for sex, if anything i feel insulted when my husband wants to have sex!

      If it is the breastfeeding only time will tell…

    • Anon

      THanks for posting this! I also had a cesarean
      and didn’t expect to not have my sex life back yet (my daughter is also
      6 mos old). I used to have a very good sex life and now intercourse is
      painful and it takes FOREVER to have an orgasm with oral stimulation
      (which is also very different than before). I’m also breastfeeding full
      time. I am beginning to get frustrated, not to mention my very
      understanding husband!!

  • New mom

    Thank you for creating this page. I went to the OB/GYN office because
    of sex being so painful after having my daughter. I had had a
    C-section, so I was NOT expecting sexual problems.

    However, I
    found sex to be very painful & found that I’m having problems with
    dryness. The nurse practitioner at the OB/GYN office had never heard of
    breastfeeding moms having discomfort during sex!

    However, my
    own web research has turned up a number of sources explaining that the
    hormonal changes caused by breastfeeding can cause low sex drive,
    dryness, extra sensitivity/discomfort, etc.

    It’s hard to
    continue breastfeeding knowing that if I stopped, my relationship with
    my husband might actually go back to normal. But there are so many
    health benefits for my baby that I’m going to try to keep breastfeeding
    until my daughter is 6-9 months old. I don’t think I’m going to make it
    for a full year.

    • It’s just amazing that a nurse at the OB/GYN can be so uninformed! I bet she hadn’t had any children of her own.

      I’m
      glad you didn’t give up and searched for more information. And it sure
      is something people don’t talk about and don’t make an expecting mom
      (and dad) prepared for!

      To give you a little bit of hope, once
      your baby starts eating more and more solids, it might just be that your
      sex drive improves as well as the dryness – even without weaning from
      breastfeeding.

      And do remember to show your husband all the
      information about how crazy hormones get from breastfeeding, so that he
      understands what’s going on.

      Good luck!

    • Relief

      I was really worried… I just had sex for the
      first time since my c-section ( 4 weeks ago) we used lube but I was
      really sensitive! it felt like he was streching me apart almost like
      having sex for the first time ever! It got a little more enjoyable as
      we went on …but I was worried there was something wrong with me…
      guess it’s because I’m breastfeeding.

    • Same for me

      Wow, I am glad to know that I am not alone in
      having a low sex drive and I find that sex is very painful and
      uncomfortable since having my son.

      I too had a C section and am breastfeeding. I was wondering if it was just me experiencing these problems.

      I have found that Pre-Seed works as an amazing lubricant. You can only order it on line.

      It
      is used primarily for woman who are trying to conceive as it does not
      interfere with the sperm and it mimics your own body fluid perfectly. I
      used it the second time we had sex after giving birth and the sex was
      much better.

  • In the same boat :-(

    Wow! I am so happy I came across this forum!
    I, too, am a new breastfeeding mom of a 12 week old baby girl & have
    not been able to have sex yet. I have been feeling so incredibly guilty
    since my boyfriend & I unsuccessfully tried to have sex at 6 weeks
    post. We tried about once a week for a few weeks, all ending up
    unsuccessful with me crying from the pain.

    We tried a few different
    lubricants & some toys thinking that I just had to ease back into sex with my changed body but nothing seems to be working.

    About
    two weeks ago, I got an IUD implanted for birth control & talked to
    my OB/GYN about the painful sex & she explained exactly what we are
    all talking about on here.

    Breastfeeding causes you to lose all
    estrogen & therefore can also cause extreme dryness which is much
    like your body is going through menopause. She advises lots of
    water-based lubricant & prescribed me Estrace- a menopausal cream
    that you insert much like a tampon. I used it once & it was quite
    messy & seemed to leak out periodically all day.

    After reading
    some posts online, a lot of women have had success with these menopause
    creams so I think I am going to try to use this again.

    I really wish
    this was spoken about more often because I did not anticipate all this
    guilt & it’s been a battle because I feel like I have to decide
    whether to continue breastfeeding & put that frustration &
    strain on my relationship with my boyfriend or to stop breastfeeding
    & deal with the guilt of giving our baby formula.

    Here’s to hoping we can find a solution where breastfeeding can continue & pleasurable sex can make a comeback!

  • Me too!

    I am so glad to know I am not the only one.
    My twins are 6 months and I am breastfeeding. We have only had sex twice
    since they were born via c section and the first time we had to stop
    because it was so painful.

    I don’t even want to think about sex which
    is weird because I was extremely sexual and had no problem with my
    natural lubrication before I got pregnant.

    My biggest worry is that it
    will ruin our relationship but he assures me he totally understands. I
    do pleasure him orally quite often just to make sure he stays around
    LOL! That would be my advice to anyone in my situation because every
    guy knows they’re the luckiest if they’re getting a BJ all the time
    even if there’s no sex

  • same problem

    Really pleased to know that I’m not the only
    one, I was about to see an GP today because of the low sex drive,
    dryness and painful sex I’ve been having after giving birth to my son. I
    really thought I have some kind of problem.

    My son is now 9
    months, I too also had C-section and am still breastfeeding. My husband
    and I attempted to have sex a few times but only twice was successful
    since giving birth due to the problem above I’ve experienced.

    I
    wouldn’t want to give up on breastfeeding but it’s really hard to think
    it might affect our relationship. Although my husband has being very
    supportive and understanding, but who knows how long he can take.

  • 2 years and still going

    It’s been 2 years on Wednesday since I had my daughter and sex it
    so extremely painful still, i feel so sorry for my partner who has
    stood by me through the past 2 years and understands, our sex life is
    non existitant. I’m finally taking the dive tomorrow to see my dr about
    it, examination or not!!

    • ditto

      I am so discouraged to learn that this might
      continue on! And we are planning to get pregnant again twice more with
      one-year gaps… sounds like I won’t enjoy sex again until I am almost
      at menopause! If I can even bear to have it to GET pregnant…
      🙁