There’s nothing quite like four hours of broken sleep and cracked nipples to get you “in the mood”, right?
Mama, it’s completely normal for your sex drive to take a nosedive after you’ve had a baby.
Spending your days (and nights) snuggling, comforting and breastfeeding your new baby can leave you feeling completely touched out – not to mention the significant biological and hormonal changes going on inside your body right now.
Here are 5 interesting facts about breastfeeding and sex that you might now know:
1:Breastfeeding hormones can affect your sex drive
Apart from feeling dead tired and touched out, there are also some biological reasons why your libido has gone AWOL. After you give birth, your estrogen levels will drastically decrease, while your oxytocin (the love hormone) and prolactin (the milk making hormone) levels drastically increase.
Frequent feeds will help your milk to ‘come in’ and the surges of prolactin that you baby’s sucking cause are helping to activate receptors in your breast that will increase your longer-term milk making potential. The higher levels of prolactin needed for breastfeeding also reduce your body’s estrogen levels, which in turn can lower your libido.
If you are concerned about your milk supply, please download our FREE ebook ‘Making More Mummy Milk,Naturally” by Pinky McKay IBCLC Lactation Consultant for effective strategies to boost your milk supply.
2:An orgasm can make you leak
As your baby sucks at your breast, the stimulation of the nerves in your nipple triggers the release of ‘the love hormone’ Oxytocin. This causes cells around the milk secreting alveoli to contract and duct passages to widen, pushing milk down into the sinuses behind the nipple AKA your milk ‘letdown’.
When you orgasm, your body also releases oxytocin, so it’s not unusual for breastfeeding women to leak or squirt milk during an orgasm. If the leaking bothers you, you can try wearing a bra with breast pads.
3:Feeling ‘dry’ down there
It’s common for breastfeeding women to feel a bit ‘dry’ down there during sex. Estrogen is the hormone responsible for vaginal lubrication caused by arousal. While you’re breastfeeding, your body produces less estrogen than it normally would.
If you’re feeling discomfort during the deed, try lots of foreplay or using a water-based lubricant.
4:Talk to your partner
Don’t feel like having sex just yet? Then don’t.
Your body has gone through massive biological changes, and the exhaustion of caring for and feeding a baby takes a lot out of you.
Talk to your partner openly about how you’re feeling and find other ways to connect, both physically and emotionally. You could try massage (with no expectation of sex to follow), cuddling, watching a movie together, having a date night, or doing something fun together – just the two of you.
And partners, it’s important for you to be patient and sensitive. Pressuring your partner into sex, or complaining about a lack of sex, is not sexy.
5:It won’t last forever
Some women will find that their libido returns quite quickly after having a baby, whereas others find that it takes longer. Remember, your body has been through significant hormonal and biological changes in a short amount of time.
Rest, new mama. Respect the amazing job your body has done, as you heal after growing and birthing a baby, and adjust to this intense new role of nurturing and nourishing your baby.
If you’re experiencing sexual changes that are concerning you, consider talking with your healthcare provider about your concerns.
This blog was written by Jessie Burns, writer and Mama of two breastfed babies.