We asked for thoughts about breastfeeding and sex. Here are some of the many responses we received. We have listed them all as anonymous for obvious reasons…
Response: I went off sex due to birth trauma after my first two babies, I was petrified of even being touched for a while after the first. I went off it as I felt touched out most of the time. I was tired. I think hormones came into play. My breasts were not for sex at all. I honestly thought that sex was finished and I didn’t even care. I’m pleased to say that I did get over it, my desire for it returned and it is better than ever, which is somewhat of a relief as part of my lack of desire was the feeling that I’d never ever relax about sex again after traumatic births.
Response: The worst time was when the bed was full of toddlers and the rest of the house full of teenagers, get one lot off to bed and then the older ones need attention in the late hours….then the toddlers wake up. The best time is when they’re all at school and the afternoons are free!
Response: Finding time for each other is hard. Finding a time when there is no baby crying, not feeling touched out, or stressed is hard. Respect is key for us, but my role changed when I became a mum. With baby in our room we had to keep reminding ourselves that sex doesn’t have to happen at night in the bedroom. In fact all that happens in the bedroom at night is sleep and feeding. I had to make considerable effort to remember to hold his hand, to kiss him, to make him feel loved too. Once I started to make that effort he started to do the same back and cuddles were soon back on the cards. It’s nice to feel loved for us but for them too. Being intimate for us is about little things. Him touching my face or giving me a hug or cuddle without asking but because he wants to.
Response: My advice is not to share a holiday caravan with teenage ‘sex police’…
Response: The interruptions never stop as they outgrow the need to breastfeed. I swear they have ‘disturb us’ radars.
Response: I can’t be the only one who has disturbed a nursling, had to take a break, breastfeed and then get back to it?!!
Response: I may have paused sex for emergency breastfeeding when there’s been inopportune waking up… I always have a quiet snigger when people comment on how ‘with your first, you tiptoe round and whisper when they’re asleep’. My firstborn has slept through all sorts!
Response: I have really struggled to find my interest in sex again after my second baby. She breastfed and co-slept until she was four and I just felt so exhausted for so much of the time. I went into ‘mother’ mode rather than ‘lover’ mode. I was never keen on sex when breastfeeding. I couldn’t get my head around shifting into different roles for my body and I couldn’t relax into it. When breastfeeding, I felt my body was there to nurture my baby and I couldn’t shake that. Am optimistic that as I get more sleep, I will soon get more energy and interest in sex again. But probably not as optimistic as my husband!
Response: I find it hard to want to be intimate with my husband at times because I feel so touched out. Sometimes I can feel really sexy and in the mood but I have to really, really be in the mood for booby play….they’re off the menu generally while feeding.
Response: I found it took a good few months to feel comfortable again physically and I would wince before he had even touched me. Took me a while to get back in to having more of a sex life. I struggled to feel like I was meeting everyone’s needs, I found it hard to believe that my husband still even found me attractive after seeing me give birth. And my baby was feeding all the time, and when he wasn’t, my toddler needed some Mummy time. I didn’t have the energy or the desire for a more intimate relationship. Now my little one is feeding less (he is one now), we’re starting to get back to having more time for each other.
Response: It only gets worse as they get older! No privacy in our house at all. We sometimes get some time at 3am, but lately we are too knackered. I would say my sex life was better when I was still nursing. Maybe all those love hormones? I think hand holding, cuddling, an affectionate touch can all be so important, I think if those were not there I would worry more.
Response: When we had a new baby I wanted and needed sex more I think. I was giving so much to this tiny new person and it was overwhelming but my husband’s touch felt like he was giving back some of the energy and comfort I needed. I wanted it more than him at many points. That was quite tricky in itself though because I often felt rejected at a time I was struggling with insecurity about my changed body. I felt like there was something wrong with me for a long time because I didn’t know anyone else who had it that way round. I think we’re taught to think that men are always interested so it’s hard not to doubt your own attractiveness if that isn’t your experience. I should add we’re still happily married and things evened out again once there were fewer interruptions. My husband was just more sensitive to the surroundings setting the mood. Now we have more privacy again it’s all good.
Response: I know we had several nights where it was the case that we would both like to, but we wanted sleep more.
Response: We have a towel over the bedside cot side to avoid beady eyed staring if/when you accidentally wake the baby!! And you don’t *have* to sleep when baby sleeps. You could ask for a babysitter for a lunch date – and you don’t have to go out.
Response: I have to say that with my youngest sharing a bed, and older children staying up late and often going to bed later than anyone, things are pretty tricky around here…better get the shed comfy!
Response: In all seriousness I think it’s clever, protecting our young nursling from competition of a pregnancy or sibling. Plenty of time for sex before we had them and I’m sure there will be again as they grow older.
Response: I think lots depends on the birth experience. After my best birth, I felt like it sooner after, and was full of oxytocin. Took ages after the more traumatic one because of, well, birth trauma.
Response: I can echo lots of the comments about feeling ‘touched out’, but also about babies’ ability to sleep through a lot of potential disturbance! Beware let-down at orgasm – luckily a friend had warned me about this! Partner being ready and willing to feed at the right moment helped reduce the leakage. So it’s good to have a partner willing to help out with overfull breasts in the middle of the night, when baby starts to sleep longer!
Response: My high needs baby woke at least hourly for the first two years of her life. There were times when she woke and was fed back to sleep without us fully stopping what we were doing.
Response: Shall I tell you about the time we were disturbed by a toddler who climbed on my husband’s back and asked “horsey” in a hopeful voice?
Response: We co-sleep with a breastfeeding toddler, so have designated a spare room as the “sex bed”! Means we can sneak in there whilst my daughter has the Super King to herself.
Response: Yes, we’ve recently said ‘in theory I really want to, but actually I want to watch bad TV and eat chocolate more tonight‘ and it’s been ok!