I remember the exact moment when I thought breastfeeding had ruined my sex life forever.
It was late at night, and our 4-month-old son was up for his last call at the milk bar. My husband discovered us in the rocking chair just as the baby dozed off. "Oh boy," he said, staring at my breasts with a wolfish grin. "Hope I'm next in line."
"Ha. You wish."
He only smiled more. "I sure do. Here. Let me put the baby down so we can go to bed."
At that, I started to cry.
"What?" my husband asked, alarmed. "What did I say now?"
What had he said? Only that he wanted me to come to bed. But, by "bed," my husband didn't mean "sleep," and I didn't want sex. I didn't even want to be touched. I especially didn't want to put my baby down only to have my husband's mouth on my breasts. And this thought -- my sex life was over! -- made me cry even harder.
Of course it wasn't. But nursing definitely stalled my libido, and I had a lot to learn about breastfeeding and sex. I was unprepared for all the changes, physical and mental. "It's a normal part of our adjustment to struggle with our sexual identities during this time," says Anne Semans, coauthor of Sexy Mamas (Inner Ocean Publishing, 2004). "Breastfeeding brings out all sorts of insecurities, control issues, and excuses not to be intimate for both mothers and fathers." But don't start sleeping in separate bedrooms yet. Your sex life may change, but it's far from over. Read on for ways to adapt your sex life to your new body, and to your new role as a mother.