For new mothers, sex and breastfeeding can be a tricky combination. Breastfeeding causes a drop in the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which can lead to reduced libido (desire to have sex) and vaginal dryness.
Hormonal changes combined with feeling “touched out”, sleep deprivation, painful breasts, leaking milk, insecurity around a new body, minimal alone time, and possibly not having showered in days can also lower a new mother’s sex drive.
Maintaining intimacy, however, has been shown to be an important factor in relationship satisfaction. Deciding to have sex again (with clearance from your doctor) can be scary. Here are some tips to make the transition smoother:
1. Talk openly: Share your fears and use humor to navigate any awkwardness.
2. Take things slow: Communicate what does and doesn’t feel good.
3. Use lubrication: Vaginal dryness can cause chafing. Lubrication can decrease friction.
4. Have realistic expectations: The first couple of times probably won’t be fireworks, but they’re important for getting over the awkward hump and re-establish intimacy. As you prove to yourself that you can do this, you’ll start being more comfortable.
5. Get the help you need: If you’ve had a traumatic birth, penetrative sex may be triggering. It’s very common for mothers to need a mental health therapist to heal mentally and emotionally after a traumatic birth experience. If penetrative sex is painful, a pelvic floor physical therapy assessment is indicated.
Read more (via Motherly)