How Breastfeeding Affects Your Vagina

by Cat Bowen

After I gave birth, I was no longer wondering whether or not my body was a wonderland. I was certain that it was, complete with Mad Hatters, bloodthirsty queens, and potions for growing and shrinking. Almost everything changed, especially with nursing, but does your vagina change when you're breastfeeding? Because it sure as heck changed when I shoved those babies out of its confines, and I'm pretty sure that's not the only trick it has up its sleeve — er, cervix.

When I was getting up at "what time is it?" o'clock at night, every night, I can't say that I gave much thought as to what my child's nursing habits were having on my vagina. Mostly I thought about sleep, or showering, possibly an everything bagel with veggie cream cheese and onion, served with 10 pots of coffee. My vagina was only on my mind when it hurt like Hades from shoving the aforementioned children out of it, or when I was about to have my period.

Until I felt a strange longing that wasn't for food or sleep or my orange-cinnamon scented body wash, then I wondered "Does your vagina change when you're breastfeeding?" This craving was of a more carnal nature, and it was then I noticed that not all was as it was before down there. Things were —altered.

While everything was in the right order — if a bit different in the looks department — not everything worked as it had previously, and apparently, that's pretty common. Many women, according to the National Health Services (NHS) in the U.K., will notice that they suffer from vaginal sensitivity or dryness while they're breastfeeding.

As it turns out, according to The Journal of Sexual Medicine, while the structure of the vagina is definitely altered during the process of childbirth, the mechanisms of your vagina, and the environment of your vagina, can be affected by the act of breastfeeding. Estrogen levels are lower while you breastfeed than while you're pregnant or after you wean. This means that where you may be used to a certain amount of natural lubricant to accompany your arousal, it might not be that way while you breastfeed, requiring you to use over-the counter lubricant.

Also, according to Scientific Reports, the microbiome in the vagina is affected by the hormones of breastfeeding, which may alter the pH of your vagina, and also alter the quality and texture of your discharge and arousal. Your vagina is constantly blooming and growing new bacteria, and it is temperamental at best, according to the article.

Does your vagina change when you're breastfeeding? Yes, but according to the NHS, it's limited to the time when you're actively breastfeeding your child. After you wean, it should go back to (mostly) normal. However, if it's concerning you, definitely talk to your provider to settle your mind. Until then, may I suggest Astroglide?