Breastfeeding changes everything, including your sex life. But is that because of breastfeeding or because, you know, you're mom to a newborn now and that's what happens? Although there is plenty of truth that being a mom in general can affect your sex life, there are some myths about sex and breastfeeding that can both lull moms into a false sense of security and scare the h*ll out of them, just in time for the green light for sex from their doctor.
In research published in The Journal of Perinatal Education, researchers concluded that while breastfeeding has some ramifications for having sex, it doesn't have to end your sexual relationship with your partner. The research noted that maintaining a healthy relationship with your SO is just as important as nurturing your child the best way you can. You can do both, despite the circumstances.
But still, there are plenty of myths out there that make sex as a breastfeeding mother seem like the worst thing ever and there are myths out there that make sex as a breastfeeding mother seem like the easiest thing ever. Although some couples may not notice a huge change (every mom is different after all), others may find it difficult to get it on after using your breasts to feed a tiny human.
So banish these seven myths about sex and breastfeeding from your mind so you can reignite your relationship with your SO without feeling like it's totally impossible.
Myth #1: Breastfeeding Doesn't Physically Affect Sex
So breastfeeding and sex sound a little weird, right? Your breasts have been used as an erogenous zone during sex, but now they're making food for your baby. It can be hard to make the shift in your brain, but breastfeeding can affect your sex life in more than just an emotional or psychological sense; there are also some actual physical changes. According to Baby Center, breastfeeding lowers your estrogen levels which can cause you to experience vaginal dryness. Although this is easily fixed with a lubricant, it can still be incredibly uncomfortable and a huge change for women who never had lubrication issues before.
Myth #2: You Can't Get Pregnant If You're Breastfeeding
Though breastfeeding has been touted as a birth control method, there are a whole lot of rules you have to follow to make it work and too many variables. Kelly Mom noted that while breastfeeding can delay your fertility, most women can become fully fertile while they are nursing their child. If you're really trying to prevent pregnancy, you'll want to talk to your doctor about other birth control methods just to be on the safe side.
Myth #3: Your Breasts Will Leak The Whole Time
Research in The Journal of Perinatal Education noted that a woman may leak breast milk when her breasts are fondled or when she's having an orgasm. But that doesn't mean your breasts are going to become leaky faucets the entire time you're making love. The amount, if any, that your breasts leak depend on how frequently you're feeding your baby, the age of your baby, and how your breastfeeding experience has gone. According to Baby Center, the more breastfeeding is established, the less likely this is to happen.
Myth #4: Your Sex Drive Will Increase
OK, so maybe this could happen. But in general, the opposite is true. Parents noted that because breastfeeding lowers your estrogen levels, it can also lower your libido, letting your sex drive take a pretty significant hit. Plus, there's that whole using your breasts to feed your baby thing that can make sex sound like the worst thing in the world. Don't worry — this too shall pass.
Myth #5: It's Inappropriate To Still Use Your Breasts As An Erogenous Zone
A lot of moms feel mega guilt about still thinking of their breasts as an erogenous zone during sex, but I promise, you aren't a weirdo. According to Breastfeeding Basics, it's totally OK to switch between the functional and sexual use of your breasts. Your partner may be turned on by your new breasts and that's OK, too. Being touched, fondled, or suckled isn't going to harm your breastfeeding relationship with your baby — they are two very different things and you can adjust your thinking to accommodate both uses.
Myth #6: It's Not Normal To Want Your Partner To Leave Your Breasts Alone
There's lots of jokes about sex after baby, but one myth that gets perpetuated is that it's not OK to be touched out, even if you're breastfeeding. You know what? It absolutely is OK and it's totally normal. According to Parents, if you don't want your breasts touched, that's fine — a lot of moms feel very touched out after breastfeeding their baby and then having their partner interested in them, too. Instead, let them become a "look, but don't touch" aspect of sex or ask your partner to give you some time to chill before jumping into it.
Myth #7: Sex Won't Be Painful If You're Breastfeeding
Actually, postpartum sex can be painful for a few different reasons, but breastfeeding could be the cause. Not only are you dealing with vaginal dryness, but research in The Journal of Perinatal Education noted that a breastfeeding mom's nipples may be so sensitive, she doesn't want them touched. According to Parents, your nipples might even sting, especially in the early weeks of breastfeeding, and make sex even more awkward and painful.