Sex and Breastfeeding for Partners of Nursing Mothers

How Breastfeeding Affects Your Sex Life and What You Can Do

Man and woman on bed hugging. Sex and Breastfeeding for partners of nursing mothers.
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You can usually resume a sexual relationship with your partner once she sees her doctor for her first postpartum visit at approximately 4 to 6 weeks after your baby is born. However, even after the doctor tells her it's okay, she still may not be ready for sex.

How Will Breastfeeding Affect Sex With Your Partner?

Breastfeeding can definitely have an impact on your sex life. Some women may become more sensual during the time they're breastfeeding, and others will feel the same way during breastfeeding as they felt before the baby arrived. But for some, sex is the last thing on their mind after a long day of constant skin to skin contact with the baby and dealing with the demands of being a new mother.

It may be difficult for you if your partner isn't interested in sex. It's easy to feel left out and neglected. But, even though it's hard, try to be patient and know that this is just temporary. She still loves you; she just needs time. Here are six things you can do while you are going through this period of adjustment.

Show Your Love and Affection

If your partner doesn't feel ready to resume sexual activity, continue to provide her with love and affection. Show her your love in other ways such as kissing and hugging.

Let Her Know You Still Think She's Beautiful

Women often feel unattractive after having a baby. She may have gained weight and developed stretch marks. She may feel self-conscious about her hard, swollen breasts or the breast milk that seems to be continuously leaking from them. Reassure her that you still find her attractive.

Keep Her Comfort in Mind

When she's ready to begin having sex again, understand that it may be uncomfortable or even painful at first. The changes in her hormones related to breastfeeding can cause vaginal dryness, and it may take longer for her to become aroused. Go slowly and try to make it as comfortable as possible for her.

Talk About Whether or Not She Wants You to Touch Her Breasts

You don't have to avoid your partner's chest just because she's breastfeeding. However, if she has sore nipples or feels uncomfortable about including her breasts in your intimate encounters, you can let her know that you'll avoid them. You should also be aware that arousal and orgasm can cause breast milk to spray from her breasts. This could be shocking if you are not expecting it. By talking to your partner about these issues ahead of time, you can help her feel more at ease.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Talk to your partner about how your feeling and let her share her feelings with you. Maintaining good communication is important for the health of your relationship.

Help Her Out When You Can

Give your partner a hand with the cooking, housework, older children, and the baby. A new mother may be overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. If you pitch in with a little help, she may have more energy at the end of the day to devote to you and your sex life.

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Article Sources

  1. Anzaku A, Mikah S. Postpartum resumption of sexual activity, sexual morbidity and use of modern contraceptives among Nigerian women in Jos. Ann Med Health Sci Res. 2014;4(2):210-6. doi:10.4103/2141-9248.129044

  2. Malakoti J, Zamanzadeh V, Maleki A, Farshbaf khalili A. Sexual function in breastfeeding women in family health centers of Tabriz, Iran. 2012. J Caring Sci. 2013;2(2):141-6. doi:10.5681/jcs.2013.017

  3. Rowland M, Foxcroft L, Hopman WM, Patel R. Breastfeeding and sexuality immediately post partum. Can Fam Physician. 2005;51:1366-7.

Additional Reading

  • American Academy of Pediatrics. (2011). New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding. Bantam Books. New York.
  • Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. (2011). Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Seventh Edition.  Mosby.