In the wake of a new baby, sleep deprivation and dirty diapers, intimacy may be the last thing on your mind. This is normal.
In fact, breastfeeding can have a profound impact on a woman’s sexual drive. This is a result of the hormone changes and lifestyle disruptions that occur while breastfeeding.
Falling oestrogen levels
Although many new parents are excited to get intimate with their partners again, they may be surprised to find that their sex drive takes a temporary hit. The good news is that this is completely normal. There are a number of reasons why breastfeeding can affect libido, including hormone fluctuations and the engorgement of the breasts. Fortunately, intimacy can still be possible, but it may require some planning. For example, you may want to use a special lubricant that won’t interfere with your milk supply or cause any leaks.
The hormone prolactin spikes during breastfeeding to stimulate the breasts to produce milk. This decreases the levels of oestrogen, which in turn lowers testosterone levels. These hormonal changes can make it hard for women to feel sexually aroused, especially if they are already feeling tired and low on energy.
The lack of sex drive that many breastfeeding mothers experience is not to be taken lightly, but it’s important to remember that it will probably return to its former state once the body has a chance to catch up with its hormones. Until then, try not to worry and focus on your new role as a mother. After all, the fact that you are providing your baby with life-sustaining breast milk is more than enough reward. And don’t forget that you can always use your breasts as a natural form of birth control – if you use it correctly, the lactational amenorrhea method is 98 percent effective.
Lowering progesterone levels
During pregnancy, your body produces high levels of estrogen and progesterone, both hormones that contribute to sexual desire. However, when breastfeeding starts, these hormones drop significantly in order to support milk production. This can lead to vaginal dryness and low libido. Some women also experience a loss of appetite and fatigue as they begin to breastfeed. If you are suffering from a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder, these symptoms can become even more severe and make it difficult to engage in sexual activity.
The hormonal changes that occur during breastfeeding can also cause a decrease in testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone that increases sexual arousal in both men and women. However, the levels of this androgen are significantly reduced in breastfeeding mothers due to the high levels of prolactin.
In addition to these physical and hormonal changes, breastfeeding can also affect a woman’s sense of self-worth and her desire for intimacy. Many new moms find that they struggle with feelings of inadequacy and guilt after the birth of their baby. This can make it even more challenging to feel sexually aroused by their partner.
If you are experiencing a lack of sexual desire, it is important to remember that it is normal. This is a common side-effect of breastfeeding and it should resolve as your hormones return to normal. It is also important to discuss this issue with your partner so that you can communicate clearly about what is happening in your relationship.
As you may already know, breastfeeding triggers oxytocin. This hormone is known to cause feelings of love and affection, but it can also increase sexual arousal and orgasm in some women. Unfortunately, this isn’t always a great combination for new parents. This is because most new mums are exhausted, so a lot of their sexual energy gets spent on that 3am night feed. This means that they often don’t feel a need to engage in sexual activity later on.
The hormonal changes that occur during breastfeeding can also lead to vaginal dryness. This can make it uncomfortable or painful for some couples to get intimate, especially without lube. For this reason, it is important to use a high-quality lubricant. A good option is Lariese Evolve Personal Organic Lubricant, which contains no nasties and is safe for breastfeeding mothers.
Despite these challenges, many new parents still manage to enjoy a fulfilling sex life while breastfeeding. It just takes a little more planning and communicating with their partners. For example, they might need to plan their sex dates around feeding times or choose a more discreet spot for sex. It’s also a good idea to use a lubricant to prevent milk leaks during orgasm, and to speak with their doctor about taking any medications that could interfere with breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is a powerful bonding experience for both mother and child. This may lead to feelings of affection that are not necessarily sexual. Some breastfeeding parents find themselves unable to engage in sexual activity because they don’t feel arousal or want to risk having their milk leak during intercourse. Aside from that, they may be uncomfortable with the sensation of their partners’ hands on their nipples or with the way their bodies look post-pregnancy.
As your hormones return to normal after the baby is born, so will your libido. But it can take time for this to happen. If you are finding that sexual desire is low while breastfeeding, try to talk about it with your partner. You can also seek out support from a La Leche League group meeting, or a supportive family member.
Some breastfeeding mothers and partners find that nipple touching during sex is uncomfortable or even painful. They may find that a “look but don’t touch” policy is more comfortable for both parties and can still create arousal by the visual connection between the two.
It is not uncommon for new moms to be numb from the physical and emotional demands of motherhood and have a very low sex drive. This is completely normal, but you should continue to nurture your relationship with your partner. You can do this by spending time together, doing activities that are meaningful and enjoyable for both of you, and by scheduling sex dates on your calendar to keep the flame alive.