Sexuality and Breastfeeding: How to Deal with the Hormones
The arrival of a baby causes great pleasure and joy in the home. The new little member brightens everyone’s lives. However, many questions regarding sexuality and breastfeeding tend to come up.
During pregnancy, you may not have many intimacy issues. Yet while breastfeeding, hormonal changes can have serious consequences.
Sexuality and Breastfeeding: Hormonal Consequences
Breastfeeding is determined by the action of hormones. After childbirth, the suckling of your baby feeding stimulates the production of the hormone prolactin.
This hormone boosts milk production and slows the release of estrogen and testosterone. Therefore, you’ll feel a significant decrease in your sex drive.
In addition, your body suffers from vaginal dryness, heat and irritation similar to menopause. However, every woman experiences different changes. That’s why it’s important to know that these are all temporary. In general, they can last 3 or 4 months before everything goes back to normal.
Physical Consequences of Breastfeeding
Other aspects that affect sexuality and breastfeeding are physical changes. During the first days after birth, babies require a lot of care and attention. This causes fatigue and lack of sleep. Undoubtedly, this influences sexual relations. The right moment either doesn’t happen or your child interrupts it with crying.
On the other hand, episiotomies cause painful sex, which makes pleasure difficult. This happens in women who give birth vaginally. In this case, we recommend using lubrication to combat dryness when having intercourse. In addition, caresses, games, and love should help cope with this situation.
Emotional Effects of Breastfeeding
Another factor that becomes important after delivery is the emotional effects. During the first days, and even weeks, the mother-baby relationship increases considerably.
There is a high production of endorphins, which creates a loving bond and environment between mother and child. Therefore, you give all your affection, tenderness, and attention to the baby.
This is an aspect you can treat with communication, hugs, and love, but without sex. Most of the time, the man feels rejected and that his partner has changed.
How Is Sex During Breastfeeding?
Resuming your sex life gradually can be a little uncomfortable. This can be due to physical discomfort, as well as the hormones.
Also, you could leak milk during sex as a product of oxytocin. It’s activated when you’re sexually aroused. However, there are some things you might forget about that could guarantee you enjoy the moment.
“Prolactin causes milk production and slows the release of estrogen and testosterone. Therefore, you’ll feel a large decrease in your sex drive.”
Is It Possible to Feel Pleasure When Breastfeeding?
Yes, it’s possible. Some women even reach orgasm. This might baffle some women, who have even felt feelings of guilt.
However, this is all from the hormones, and it isn’t bad at all. During this process, your body releases oxytocin. It’s the same hormone that contracts your uterus when you’re sexually stimulated.
Advice for Sexuality and Breastfeeding
Having sex while breastfeeding can cause discomfort and insecurity. However, it’s possible to fully enjoy the moment. We have a few tips for you:
- Try to keep calm and have an open mind. Choose moments when you’re relaxed.
- To feel safe, use a contraceptive. Make sure it’s one that’s allowed while breastfeeding.
- Talking with your partner is key. Talk about what you want to do and set boundaries. This is important during this stage of your life.
- Don’t hide or tolerate discomfort or pain. Both of you should enjoy intimacy.
- Don’t feel guilty if you leak milk during sex. It’s a natural, and temporary, process.
- Take your time and tell your partner you need him to support you. This will help you feel completely relaxed and enjoy sex until you feel normal again.
All in all, sexuality and breastfeeding shouldn’t be a combination that keeps you from enjoying your life as a couple. Remember to communicate and lean on each other when your hormones go crazy.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Un regalo para toda la vida. Guía de la lactancia materna. Carlos González. Ed. Temas de Hoy, 2006.
- La Liga de la Leche Internacional. El arte femenino de amamantar. México: Pax, 2001.
- Manual de Lactancia Materna. De la teoría a la práctica. Comité de Lactancia Materna de la Asociación Española de Pediatría. Ed. Panamericana, 2008.
- Portalatín, B. ¿Qué pasa con la sexualidad durante la lactancia? 2013. El Mundo | Salud.