Many new mothers feel that their sex drive takes a nose dive while breastfeeding. This is due to a variety of reasons, including hormone changes and increased oxytocin.
The good news is that intimacy and a woman’s libido can return once breastfeeding ends. In the meantime, there are ways to make sex feel more enjoyable.
1. Increased pheromones
During breastfeeding, your body will produce a lot of pheromones. These pheromones are what create sexual desire in men and women. In fact, one study found that applying pheromones from the breast and nipple of a breastfeeding woman to a non-nursing partner increased the sexual desire of the woman by 24 percent.
In addition, oxytocin is released during breastfeeding and it can give you the same sexual arousal as orgasm. This may explain why some new moms don’t feel the same need for sex that they did before their baby’s arrival.
Another reason for the low sex drive is that nursing a baby can be exhausting. Especially during the night when you are feeding every few hours, it’s easy to get worn down. A lack of sex drive is also common for women who experience postpartum depression or baby blues, which can lead to decreased libido.
But don’t worry, this is completely normal. Your sex drive will return to normal after you’ve stopped breastfeeding and your hormones have returned to their pre-pregnancy levels. It’s also a great time to try alternative forms of intimacy with your partner like cuddling or other activities that don’t involve penetration. And don’t forget to use a quality vaginal lubricant like Chiavaye to help with the dryness that can make sex uncomfortable or even painful.
2. Increased desire
Breastfeeding is a powerful act of bonding, and the hormones involved in the process can create a great deal of pleasure. But they can also decrease a woman’s overall libido, especially in the short term. This is because the body produces prolactin, a hormone that promotes milk production and reduces levels of estrogen and testosterone, which are linked to libido.
Another reason why breastfeeding can have a negative impact on sex drive is because of the high levels of oxytocin that come with nursing. Oxytocin is a great hormone for bonding, but it can also make a new mom feel over-touched and tired, especially if she is waking up every 2 to 3 hours to nurse her baby.
It’s important to know that this lack of sex is normal and that it should eventually return. But it’s important to talk to your partner about it, so they are aware of the impact breastfeeding has on intimacy, and can adjust accordingly. If you want to try and increase your libido, try using lubricants like Chiavaye’s that are safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding, and can even be used as an external massager on sore and engorged breasts. It can also help with vaginal dryness, which is a common complaint for many new mothers. But most importantly, remember that breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural way to nourish your child, and can be an effective form of birth control (known as the lactational amenorrhea method). It’s just that, when it comes to sexual desire, it may take a little bit longer than it did before baby came along.
3. Decreased desire
Intimacy is a big part of the sex drive, and for many new moms, breastfeeding can have a major impact on this. During this time, hormones can drastically change and lead to no or low desire. This is due to the fact that breastfeeding mothers have lower estrogen levels, and progesterone can also decrease libido. Plus, the oxytocin released during breastfeeding can sometimes mimic sexual pleasure and make new moms feel less interested in sex.
Another factor that leads to decreased sex drive is fatigue. Breastfeeding often requires frequent feedings at night, which can cause tiredness and a lack of interest in intimate activities. Additionally, postpartum depression and baby blues can have a negative effect on libido in new moms.
According to Ashley Rawlins, PT, DPT, a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor and obstetric health at Origin, it’s completely normal for intimacy to take a nosedive during breastfeeding. But, she says, it’s important to remember that this is a temporary phase.
Once the baby starts eating more solid foods, and your body begins to return to pre-pregnancy hormones, sex drive will likely rise again. In the meantime, try to focus on other ways to show your partner how much you love them – like snuggling and taking care of their needs. It’s also helpful to remind your partner that this is just a temporary stage, and you will both feel more energized once the baby is weaned.
4. Lack of desire
Many new mothers find that their sex drive is significantly lessened while breastfeeding. This is a normal reaction to pregnancy and childbirth, but it can be upsetting for some couples. If you and your partner are struggling with this, it is important to seek sex therapy or counseling. This will help you understand why your sex drive is decreased and how to deal with it.
The lack of sex drive can be caused by the fluctuation of hormones in your body. It can also be due to the exhaustion that comes with waking up every two to three hours for weeks on end to feed your baby. It’s also possible that you have the baby blues, which can affect your mood and make you feel depressed. All of these factors can contribute to a loss in libido, but fortunately, they are all temporary.
Some women experience accidental breast milk leakage during sexual intimacy, which can be uncomfortable for both the woman and her partner. However, this is completely normal and is a result of the release of the hormone oxytocin during breastfeeding. Perinatal educators are in a great position to address these concerns with breastfeeding parents, so that they can rest assured that this is a normal and healthy response to childbirth. With time, your sex drive will return to its former levels.