There are a million things to consider when you decide to breastfeed your baby. You are probably worried about your milk supply and the logistics of pumping at work. You have likely researched nipple confusion, nursing pads, and how many cocktails you can (or can't) have at happy hour. You have surely questioned your mom friends about how many hours of sleep they get, asked for recommendations on nursing bras, and learned about their experiences with mastitis. But, after all of your research, the one thing you probably didn't think to ask was "How does breastfeeding affect your sex drive?"
It's no secret that having a baby is tough, and getting used to having one in your house can be a challenge. But, once you recover from childbirth and grow accustomed to the changes at home, you will easily fall right back into the swing of things in the bedroom, right? Maybe. However, for some women, breastfeeding dramatically decreases their libido.
According to Susan Kellogg-Spadt, a nurse practitioner and professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Drexel University College of Medicine, told Healthy Women that estrogen levels drop while breastfeeding. Estrogen is responsible for keeping the vaginal lining lubricated and flexible. Combine this with your body's increase in the hormone prolactin, which reduces sexual desire, as well as a drop in testosterone, and it's as though your body purposely wants you to avoid sex.
Spadt also noted that for some women, breastfeeding meets their need for "intimate touching." If you have a baby clinging to your breast all day, it's safe to assume that you may have had your fair share of intimate contact by the time you and your partner are in finally in bed.
Lack of sleep, leaky boobs, stretch marks, a baby in the bedroom, shyness about your post-baby body, and even possible resentment toward your spouse are all common libido-killers in the months following giving birth. These sexual roadblocks aren't exclusive to breastfeeding mamas.
The good news is that eventually things will get better. Your baby will sleep longer, start eating new foods, and become less dependent on round-the-clock feedings. You may even manage to get in a shower and wash your hair.
Additionally, Parents reported that many women will regain their sex drive after weaning their baby. And, even if this isn't something that you are interested in pursuing right away, you can look forward to the possibility of a better sex life when you are ready. If you do find that you are still having a hard time regaining your sex drive, even after you've discontinued breastfeeding, Spadt recommends talking to a medical professional or seeking out an American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) certified sex therapist.