Is 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.)
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.
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!
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
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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 …
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