Ways Breastfeeding Can Affect Your Sex Life

Real talk: there’s A LOT happening with your body after you’ve had a baby. Recovery, sleep deprivation and the rollercoaster of emotions is to be expected. Also totally normal? Your sex life might take a back seat, at least for the first few months. Here’s something else you may not realize: breastfeeding can affect your sex life. Needing to feed 24/7 and the biological symptoms that can accompany breastfeeding can make sex a no go. Here’s a fact: pregnant women need sex and so do women who are postpartum. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to adjust and keep the romance right on track. Here are a few common ways breastfeeding can affect your sex life, and what you should do about it.

You’re experiencing irregular and unpredictable spotting

A nursing mom has a lot of hormonal changes happening in her body. And as a result, the hormonal changes can cause irregular and unpredictable spotting. If the idea of having “period sex” makes you uncomfortable, you may need to ride out the symptoms. If you’re both comfortable trying it together, there’s no harm done if it’s not the greatest sex you’ve ever had. The upside is that it could cause you to get creative together. Try having sex in the shower; the change in scenery and natural flush of any spotting can make the experience super hot, pun intended.  

Your body image isn’t the most positive

Picture this: you walk around with spit up everywhere and a baby attached to your boob like a milk factory. It’s highly unlikely that in this instance you feel like a sex machine. For some moms in the early stages of nursing, it’s next to impossible to feel sexy at the same time. And given your bodies are going through so much physical transformation, it can be hard to feel positive about your body image at all. Some changes will stay and most won’t. Remember that you don’t have to have sex if you don’t want to but physical transformation is also a reminder of the amazing feat your body has gone through. It can be a good time to fully embrace your new curves and proof of what you created together.

You may experience heightened sensations and quicker orgasms

On the other hand, you might really be feelin’ yourself while breastfeeding. Hot and bothered while breastfeeding? It may seem crazy but science proves otherwise. Your breasts change during pregnancy. And postpartum breasts are tender and nipples more sensitive during breastfeeding. Those heightened sensations can lead to quicker and easier orgasms during sex. Oh baby!

You’re suffering from severe exhaustion and sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation is the new normal for any parents with a newborn. Waking up every few hours to breastfeed takes a lot of energy out of you. The lack of sleep can make new moms groggy and irritable, but it can also lead to an increase of cortisol levels (stress hormones) which does further damage to your libido. Instead of thinking about needing energy first in order to have sex, consider the kind of energy that sex could give you. Could be the jolt that makes those 3 am breastfeeding times more enjoyable.

Your vagina is dry and can cause sex to be uncomfortable

Did we mention breastfeeding creates hormonal changes? Another way breastfeeding can affect your sex life is by making your vagina way drier than normal. Here’s why: as you’re nursing, your pituitary gland produces prolactin, which signals your breasts to make milk. It also affects how much estrogen your body produces. And without estrogen, your vagina can become extremely dry. During this time frame, double up on lube when you’re having sex. If that doesn’t help, ask your doctor if there’s anything you can do to produce more estrogen.

You’re physically “touched out” from so much touch

On average, newborns can eat 10 to 12 times in a 24-hour time period. That’s a lot of action that your boobs are getting. You’re also experiencing a boost in oxytocin and prolactin which creates feelings of affection. All of it combined can leave you feeling like any more physical touch is simply too much. You do need to make sure you’re making time for both baby and bae. If sexual intercourse feels overwhelming, put the emphasis on intimacy instead. Hold hands, cuddle, talk about how you’re feeling, or suggest oral sex until you’re feeling ready for more.

Be patient with yourself. Your body has been through a huge change and you have your brand new little baby as a gift. As new moms it will take a little bit of adjusting to switch gears into your more sexual self. The best course of action is to reframe your thinking to “what can intimacy give of me rather than demand of me?” when breastfeeding interferes with your sex life.  

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