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Dawn Cedrone, RN
Lactation Specialist

When Breastfeeding Messes With Your Sex Life

If things in the bedroom haven't been so hot lately, breastfeeding could be to blame. Find out why and what you can do about it.

If your sex life has been anything but lively, you're not alone. It's totally normal for breastfeeding to have an effect in the bedroom, but the good news is that there are ways to get back on track—you just might have to change things up a bit. Here’s how to deal with some common sex issues for breastfeeding moms.

Decreased sex drive

In order for your body to produce breast milk, it needs elevated levels of prolactin and progesterone, as well as a decrease in estrogen. These hormonal changes often lead to a decreased libido. New moms usually also feel stressed or tired (or too sensitive to be touched, after all that feeding!), which not surprisingly can contribute to a lack of sexual desire. It’s a good time to explore other ways you and your partner can be intimate, whether it’s cuddling on the couch, exchanging sensual massages or bonding over a candlelit dinner.

Breast leaking

Okay, so it can be pretty embarrassing when your breasts—formerly a big part of sex—now leak as you’re trying to do the deed. (Not to mention they might be pretty sore too.) Don't be afraid to nicely ask your partner to keep hands off for a little while, to keep your bra on (with absorbent breast pads) or to keep a towel handy while you’re intimate. But the best way to get through it is to have some humor about the situation. After all your partner has already seen you give birth so what's a little bit of milk leaking!?

Vaginal dryness

Those same hormones that help you produce breast milk can also make things pretty dry below the belt, which can be really frustrating! Luckily this problem’s easily resolved with some sexual lubricant.

Remember while you’re dealing with any of these issues that it’s important to communicate with your partner. Communication, not only through words but also through intimacy, is an important part of maintaining the relationship that brought this new life into the world. Being open with your partner will help him understand any problems you’re having, and you two can work through them together.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Top 10 breastfeeding problems solved

"What I wish I'd known about breastfeeding"

"Do people really have sex after babies?"