Breastfeeding and Sexuality

Breastfeeding and sexuality are two activities that are intimately linked. Both of them are attributed to the marvelous hormone oxytocin, which is present during orgasm and lactation. As wonderful as breastfeeding is, your body will experience many changes that must be understood if you’re going to weather this physical storm. Both mentally and physically you will be exhausted, which affects your libido.

Although breastfeeding gets blamed for maternal exhaustion, the truth is that caring for a baby is very demanding, regardless of which feeding method is used.

The first obvious change is that your breasts have grown tremendously. Straining against the skin, milk is bursting to come out, especially if you have a healthy diet and drink lots of water.

If it is too uncomfortable, express the milk with a breast pump so your husband can help to feed the baby during one of the late night feedings.

During sexual play, any pressure on your breasts can be uncomfortable, especially if your partner becomes overzealous because of your new bust size. This may be a good time to introduce him to the many other erogenous zones that need attention. Tenderness is essential.

As soon as the vaginal bleeding stops, you can once again enjoy sexual intimacy including physical stimulation of your breasts.

As long as your body is clean when the baby feeds, there is no fear of contaminating the milk should your husband happen to suck some up. Plus, the breasts produce milk on a demand-and-supply basis, so he’s not taking any food from the baby.

Breastfeeding and sexuality are improved when you treat the experience of pregnancy and birth as if you were training for a marathon. You wouldn’t just assume you can run 26 miles because you had to. Well, don’t assume that you’re in shape for labor and delivery.

If you get into the good habit of exercise during pregnancy, you’re more apt to recover quicker. Oxygenate your skin so that it snaps back to its pre-pregnancy size, giving you body confidence and warding off depression.

Another sexual consideration that must be remedied while lactating is that the vagina is dryer than usual because of the decreased estrogen. Compensate with a good quality water-based lubricant.

Cracked nipples can be a source of soreness and discomfort. Prevent this by having a midwife or a La Lecche representative show you the proper way for a baby to latch on.

If your nipples are already cracked, repair them with a petroleum based lubricant, and whenever possible, leave the flaps of your maternity bra under your blouse open so nipples stay dry.

Breastfeeding and sexuality are enhanced by this different approach to wearing a bra. Make sure that the skin is free of any moisturizer before the baby feeds.

Sex takes energy, so take catnaps while the baby sleeps. Naps are not equivalent to a full night’s rest, but they’re better than nothing. Don’t worry about housework or social obligations.

There will always be more for you when this breastfeeding time of your life is over, and it will pass, sooner than you know. For this short moment in time, focus on taking care of you and your child.

After the first month, you soon realize that life in general and sex are no longer going to be the same. If you want quality time with your partner, you have to make time for your relationship.

While your child sleeps, make it a time to bond with your lover on a deeper level, sharing and communicating changes and needs. Performance and goals are not as important as time well spent supporting and loving each other in deeper more meaningful ways.

Make this time count. Breastfeeding and sexuality are not mutually exclusive. Done with care, consideration, and a spirit of growth within the relationship, it can be a very beautiful time in your life.

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