Let's Talk About Postpartum Sex, Baby
Well this is a topic that people don’t typically talk about. And we can understand why. But with Valentine’s Day fast approaching we know a lot of new parents are making plans for gettin’ busy and we thought maybe, just maybe, sex after childbirth might be making some of you kind of anxious.
Maybe your special someone has been dropping you some hints lately. Or maybe your six-week checkup is approaching and you’re wondering if your OB or Midwife will give you the green light. Wherever you’re at in this journey, at some point you will begin to feel ready to resume being sexually intimate with your partner, and we’re here to help you prepare.
If you’re six weeks post birth and have already gotten the go ahead from your Midwife or OB, we have a few tips to make this Valentine’s Day sexy and special.
YOUR BODY ISN’T THE SAME AS IT WAS BEFORE
This is no secret to you. You saw your body beautifully expand to make room for new life. You birthed your baby and experienced first hand the changes your body went through. But the changes are more than just physical.
To put it lightly, your hormones may be whack which can affect any number of things: self-confidence, low libido, sore perineum or vaginal dryness just to name a few (yeah we went there). Get yourself a good lubricant! We love this one from Good Clean Love or if you’re not allergic, coconut oil makes for a great natural alternative.
If you’re breastfeeding, your breasts may be sensitive or prone to leaking especially during orgasm, making sex awkward or uncomfortable for some. Then again, there are those who’s sensitive breasts actually enhance pleasure. If the latter is the case for you, enjoy it! Communicate with your partner about how your body feels and if there are any parts of your body that are off-limits. If your breasts are leaking you might want to wear a bra with breast pads or if you don’t mind the leakage, keep a towel close by just in case.
MIX IT UP
Many parents with babies in the newborn stage are room-sharing or co-sleeping. Having your baby in your room is recommended by the AAP for at least the first 6 months of life which can make regular intimacy a challenge. Having a toddler around increases the challenge a bit. But it’s clear parents make it work somehow!
If your baby is in a bassinet move your baby to the nursery for a few hours while you enjoy your time together. If you co-sleep, put baby to bed then experiment in other parts of the house. There are so many possibilities and mixing up the location often creates more excitement and can help keep things from getting mundane.
Most babies sleep cycles don’t mature until close to 4 months, making bedtime a bit of a crap shoot. Not to mention most parents are completely worn out by the end of the day. This means that bedtime may not always be the best time for love making. If bedtime isn’t ideal, try during baby’s first nap of the day. This way you’ve had some time to shower or eat a meal. At the very least get some coffee in your system to help make you feel energetic and ready for fun!
IT’S QUALITY NOT QUANTITY
It’s quite possible that you may not want a ton of sex even after the six week mark. And that’s totally ok. As you’re adjusting to the changes of your body, your hormones, and even your relationship (new baby’s can take their toll on marriages!) it’s important to have realistic expectations of what postpartum sex looks like. Some couples have sex once a week, others once a month. You and your partner get to decide how often is right for you. And of course, that frequency will probably change over time.
Additionally, if intercourse isn’t something you’re ready for quite yet, enjoy various types of foreplay. Don’t be afraid to take it slow. Enjoy the sensations and focus on communication. The more you and your partner can communicate, the better you’ll be able to meet each other’s needs.
OXYTOCIN IS KEY
We talk about oxytocin a lot in our line of work. It is the love drug, the hormone designed to bond you to another person. It is produced at it’s highest amounts during childbirth, when having an orgasm, and while breastfeeding your baby. But it’s also produced anytime you’re spending time connecting with loved ones, eating a meal with a friend and during so many other activities.
Things like stress, lack of sleep, and blue light like the type emitted from cell phone screens can all interfere with oxytocin production. I don’t know about you but a lot of moms I know are sleep deprived, stressed, and spend a significant amount of time on their phones (what else are you gonna do at 2am while nursing your baby?!).
Boosting oxytocin levels helps improve self-confidence, attachment, reduces stress, and helps you sleep better! All of which will hopefully get you feeling more frisky too. A few of our favorite oxytocin boosters are: heart to heart hugs for 30+ seconds, making out in the shower, and sensual massage. Turn the lights down, light some candles and set the mood. And no cell phones or televisions allowed!
BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF
Weight gain, mommy tummy, stretch marks, engorged breasts, and sleep deprivation... those all sound super sexy right? Not really, but the reality is everyone has similar experiences with their postpartum body. Yes, your body has changed, but it is still magical and beautiful and 100% deserving of love, appreciation, and sex.
If you aren’t quite feeling yourself yet, that’s ok. But if you’re ready to start feeling more comfortable in your postpartum body, it can be as simple as doing some intentional things just for you. Spending a few hours alone doing what you love is a great way to reconnect with yourself. Maybe that’s getting a massage, or getting your hair done, or taking a long luxurious bath. Whatever lights you up, do more of that!
Give yourself time and grace. It make take time and practice, but try loving your new body and let your significant other love and enjoy it too. Enjoy the journey as much as you can. It may not be all roses and chocolate everyday, but you’re worthy of love just as you are!