Worried about getting busy right after becoming a mom? Here's how to bring the spark back into your post-baby sex life.
Some women can't wait to jump back into the sack with their partner soon after having a baby. But getting back to getting busy can be tough for many new mamas, especially given everything that's stacked against them: the lingering pain from delivery, raging hormones, baby blues or postpartum depression, weird body changes, and of course, the biggest libido-killing elephant in the room: the pure exhaustion a having a newborn.
Even when you've started to settle into a schedule and feel like you might have a handle on this parenting thing, getting the sex life you used to have back can seem impossible. Well, we're here to tell you it's not. (Need proof? According to one recent study, a full 94 percent of respondents claimed to be satisfied with their post-baby sex lives, and more than half said having a baby improved things. Woot!). The truth is, it just takes some time—and effort. These tips can help you bring back the heat and connection that got you that baby in the first place.
Don't rush into it. Your partner might be champing at the bit, but your new-mom bod needs time to recover! It goes without saying (almost) that you should wait to have sex until your doctor has given you the go-ahead—usually around six weeks, although it may be longer depending on your situation.
Get over the leaky boob thing. Or your C-section scar. Or the extra baby weight you're still carrying. Body changes after baby can make even the most confidant woman self-conscious. For the sake of your own happiness and your relationship, it's time to disconnect from those feelings, if only for a little while. Here's how: Take a shower, put on a sexy nursing bra (yes, they exist), and repeat your new mama-mantra: these body changes are badges of honor for bringing a beautiful baby into the world. And, let's be honest here: Your partner certainly isn't thinking about them—he's too overjoyed to finally be getting some action again.
Use lube—lots of it! Even if lube was never part of your repertoire before, it'll be your BFF post-baby. One reason: "Breastfeeding can reduce estrogen, thus leading to vaginal dryness," explains Rachel Needle, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist and executive director at the Whole Health Psychological Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. And dryness leads to... OUCH! But that's nothing a little water-based lube—well, more like a lot!—can't fix.
Build up to the big event. If penetration is giving you pause (and it probably will!), it's totally okay to take things slowly. "Even if you only have the energy to make out with your partner, do that," says Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist from California who works with new parents (and reminds them that intimacy isn't limited to intercourse). So try cuddling naked, manual and oral stimulation, or taking a bath or shower together—anything is better than nothing, and you never know what may get you in the mood.
Masturbate. Wait, what? Aren't you supposed to be focused on your partner here? Surprisingly, according to Marin, some self-pleasure is actually key to getting your intimate life back: "Your body has not been fully yours for almost a year, and it's time to start redeveloping your relationship with it," she says.
How to Have Great Postpartum Sex
Actually, stop thinking about sex so much. It sounds like a contradiction, but obsessing because your sex life isn't what it used to be can leave you and your partner feeling distant and frustrated with each other—so just. stop. Acknowledge what's going on and then focus on other parts of your relationship: Tell your partner something you appreciate about him. Reminisce about your favorite memories together. Make a point of having a conversation about something other than the baby. These connections will remind you of the things that you love about each other and the relationship you had together even before you started a family.
Use birth control. No, sorry, breastfeeding doesn't count. (Just ask Tori Spelling, who announced her pregnancy with baby #4 when baby #3 was just 5 months old.) And nothing will kill your just-getting-up-to-speed libido faster than getting pregnant (or even imagining getting pregnant) again so soon.