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Women’s Health Library

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Sexuality While Breastfeeding

Topic Overview

Childbirth and breastfeeding may affect your sexual desire. Exhaustion, breast soreness, your baby's demands, and recovery from childbirth may reduce your interest in intimacy with your partner. But you may feel more comfortable having sex after the baby is born. Each woman's experience is different.

You can help restore a sexual relationship with your partner by anticipating the physical effects of breastfeeding.

  • When you are sexually aroused, milk may leak or flow from your breasts. If you find this bothersome, have towels handy or take other measures to prepare.
  • You also may experience vaginal dryness. If this becomes a problem, vaginal lubricants are available to provide moisture. You can also ask your doctor about taking birth control pills if it has been a few months since you gave birth. The type that contains a very low dose of estrogen may be helpful.

Some women notice that they become aroused during breastfeeding. Although this sensation is similar to a sexual response, it is not sexually driven. It is your body's way of preparing the breast for breastfeeding.

Talk with your partner about your feelings, concerns, and expectations. Also, rest whenever possible. Try to set up a time for the two of you to reconnect emotionally and physically.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: February 23, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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