The calendar may say Valentine's Day, but as a new mama, you might be feeling anything but frisky. Sleep-deprived, sore, and in desperate need of a shower, the honest truth is, you'd kill for a hot bath over hot sex right about now (sorry, hon).
We get it: It's hard to think of yourself as a sexual being after having a baby. But experts believe that having the right mindset can put you in the right mood to share some time alone with your partner. This Valentine's Day, consider these suggestions for putting the spark back into your love life, long after you've devoured that last chocolate.
1. Set the Mood...Mentally. Stretch marks and leaky boobs got you down? Yup, we get it. In fact, medical experts say that body image is one of the top reasons women don't want to have sex. "After you have a baby, you feel more like a caretaker than someone who feels sexy," says Mary Jo Rapini, an intimacy sex therapist in Houston, Texas. To help you get past those negative thoughts, she suggests giving yourself time to feel good—take a bath, put on a face mask, and listen to soothing music—since the luxury of time is something new mamas don't get enough of. And we'd like to shout this from the rooftops: Your post-baby body may be different, yes—but it's powerful, beautiful, and sexy. So own it, mama.
2. Try Something Novel. No, we're not talking about Fifty Shades Darker. (But, hey, if that does the trick...awesome!) Engaging in a new experience together, like a couple's massage or a sex toy, can spark intimacy for some couples. "Explore new areas of pleasure which may re-ignite some electrifying feelings," says Dr. Michael Krychman, a sexual medicine gynecologist in Newport Beach, California. Who knows? Trying a new lube might just help bring the old, sexy you back to life.
3. Say 'Om.' Taking a yoga class either by yourself or with your partner helps you remember how to de-stress—and "the importance of timing and breathing helps you focus on you again," reminds Rapini. We're not saying that you're actually going to feel sexy doing downward dog, but the time you spend unwinding will help you feel good and relaxed—and that's a combination that can help get you in the mood.
4. Re-think Date Night. If you can't line up a sitter for Valentine's Day (or, honestly, just can't muster the energy to plan a Big. Night. Out), you can still create a relaxed, romantic evening at home (preferably after your baby is down for the count). Buy a fancy dessert and a better-than-usual bottle of wine, order your favorite take-out, and talk about something other than Baby.
5. Pencil it in. Putting sex on the books sounds so unsexy, but experts believe the payoff is worth it. "Scheduling sex shows your partner that you are invested in your relationship," says Rapini. So, pencil it in—whenever. Hey, if nap time equals nooky time in your house, go for it.
6. Word Play. Even if you're not up for sex, it's important to let your honey know that he's important to you. "You never want to shut down an opportunity to be together," says Rapini. "Thinking about how you can make your partner feel better is important." Send a naughty text, offer a back rub, or reminisce about your first date. "It helps couples reconnect and remind them why they love each other," she adds.
And who knows where that might lead you...Happy Valentine's Day!