Does Breastfeeding Impact Your Sex Life?

I often encounter clients in my practice who are new parents and experiencing significant changes in their sex lives after having children. One factor that may be overlooked is how breastfeeding can impact women’s sexual experiences. In this blog, I will delve into the impact of breastfeeding on women’s sexual experiences and offer some advice on navigating this transition.

How does breastfeeding impact women’s sex drive?

1. When a woman breastfeeds, prolactin, a hormone that stimulates milk production, is also released. Prolactin levels increase in response to breastfeeding and can impact vaginal dryness, discomfort and sex drive. This can make sexual activity uncomfortable and less enjoyable for many women during breastfeeding. 

2. Breastfeeding can also influence a women’s physical comfort during sexual activity. It can cause sore nipples and breast engorgement, which can make sexual activity uncomfortable or unpleasant. Additionally, the physical act of breastfeeding can cause changes in the breast tissue and nipple sensitivity, which can also impact sexual pleasure.

3. Emotionally, breastfeeding can potentially impact women’s sense of self and body image. The demands of breastfeeding can result in exhaustion, overwhelm and feeling “touched out”. Some women may struggle with their bodies due to weight gain, stretch marks, and breast size and shape changes. These factors can impact an individual’s self-esteem and desire for sex.

So, what can you do to navigate these changes?

1. Do not underestimate the impact of breastfeeding on your libido: many women feel pressured into re-engaging in sex after childbirth. Since the information is limited on the effects of pregnancy and childbirth on women’s sexuality, many women feel abnormal if they do not desire sex 6-8 weeks after birth. 

2. Communication with your partner: It is important to communicate candidly about how you feel physically and emotionally. Discuss your desires, concerns, and any physical discomfort you may be experiencing. Remember that your partner may also experience emotional and physical changes during this time. Hopefully, you both can approach this conversation with empathy and understanding.

3. Experiment with different positions: If you are experiencing discomfort during sexual activity, try different positions that may be more comfortable for you. For instance, side-by-side or spooning positions may be more comfortable for someone with sore nipples or breast engorgement.

4. Prioritize self-care: Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally during this time is crucial. Make time for rest, exercise, and activities that bring you joy. Practice self-compassion and remember that your body has undergone significant changes during pregnancy and childbirth.

5. Use lubrication: If you are experiencing vaginal dryness, using a water-based lubricant can help make sexual activity more comfortable.

6. Seek support: It is very common for women to struggle with body image issues or emotional challenges related to breastfeeding and sexuality. Please consider seeking support from a therapist or counsellor who specializes in these areas. There is no shame in seeking help; it can be a valuable resource during this time of transition.

Remember to be patient with yourself as you navigate this transition, and remember that it is natural for your sex life to shift during this time of significant change.

I wish you all the best.

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