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Will breastfeeding affect my sex drive?

Will breastfeeding affect my sex drive?
Submitted by American Baby Team

Many new moms aren't exactly eager to resume sex, and while breastfeeding can be one factor, it's seldom the biggest one. Hormonal changes during breastfeeding mean your body's not producing as much estrogen as usual, which can lower your libido and lead to vaginal dryness -- not exactly a great combination for getting in the mood.

But even more likely, it's having a newborn who needs to eat every two to three hours around the clock -- and the crazy exhaustion that goes with it -- that's putting your sex life on the back burner these days. Many new moms also avoid intercourse out of fear that it will be painful, even after they've gotten the green light from their ob-gyns. Some women develop anxiety about becoming pregnant again (a natural reaction after everything they've endured) and take a rain check for sex as a result. It's also totally normal if you'd just rather relax and decompress when you get into bed after having your baby cling to you all day long. Some of these emotions can be difficult for your partner to understand, so make an effort to find other ways to stay close to him for now, like renting a movie and cuddling on the sofa.

Your sex life should start heating back up after you've gotten the hang of the whole new-mom thing, especially after baby starts sleeping through the night and you feel totally recovered from labor -- even if you're breastfeeding. Some women do report finding themselves more in the mood after they wean their babies, so tell Dad to hang in there -- things will be back to normal eventually.

Copyright 2009

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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