17 things you need to know about sex after baby

Emmy Samtani

Emmy Samtani

Emmy is the founder of Kiindred and mother to 3 little ones. Over the last 4 years, she has worked with some of the most credible experts in the parenting space and is a keen contributor on all things parenthood.
Updated on Jun 14, 2024 · 8 mins read
17 things you need to know about sex after baby

No matter what your sex life was like before having a baby, it’s inevitably going to change after your little one arrives. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to change for the worse, it just means it might be different for a while.

Before you had a bundle of joy waking you up around the clock, you had the luxury of time – your body was yours to do with what you pleased, and when. You could enjoy sex morning, noon and night. But you already know that – chances are that’s how you got pregnant!

But then on the other side of pregnancylabour and birth, things are VERY different.

Sex is probably the furthest thing from your mind in those first few weeks and months as your libido takes a back seat to your baby.

When you do get the all-clear from your doctor or midwife to have sex (typically at your 6-week check-up), there will be some questions, possibly some concerns – and definitely a little hesitation.

So here are some things you should know – which won’t all apply to everyone, of course. But you know we like you to feel prepared, so here goes…

1. The first time is likely to hurt

Just like back when you did it for the very first time, chances are it’s going to hurt. Or there may be some level of discomfort, but this should ease with time. If the pain is extreme or doesn’t seem to be going away, you should speak with your doctor or midwife or a women’s health physio.

2. Take it slow

If it’s painful, make sure you take things slow and explain this to your partner. Foreplay is your friend. Intimacy is about more than just sex, so, if intercourse is painful or you don’t feel ready, explain this to your partner and talk about other ways you can be intimate together. Then, once you feel comfortable, you can build on this.

3. Lube is your BEST friend

Chances are you will be quite dry down there thanks to all the hormones focusing their efforts elsewhere right now. Lube will work wonders and help make the whole process a lot easier and may help with the pain too. Don’t be shy – get the lube!

4. It might feel different – but different doesn’t mean worse

Chances are it’s not going to feel exactly like it used to, in time it should return so just be patient. Just because things don’t feel the same as they used to, doesn’t mean they can’t be better. Practice makes perfect!

5. Get creative with positions

Your body has been through a lot, so if it’s not working for you one way then try something different. Try different positions or some extra foreplay – get creative (and don’t forget that lube)!

6. Your sex drive might take a while to catch up

Your sex drive takes a serious nose-dive after having a baby as your hormones suppress your libido. That’s mother nature’s way of inadvertently helping you avoid another pregnancy too soon… clever right.

So even though your head wants sex you can’t figure out why your body isn’t feeling it? You’re not alone, this is completely normal and out of your control. Oh let’s not forget the fact that you haven’t slept and spend all day looking after another human being. You’re tired, which is also the enemy of your libido…

7. Breastfeeding further fuels low libido

The other enemy of your libido? Breastfeeding. Between all the hormones, the sleep deprivation and having a little human feeding off your body 24/7 it’s completely normal to not want to be touched sometimes. When you’re breastfeeding your hormones are busy working on creating milk for your baby and boosting your connection with your little one… So they’re too busy elsewhere to focus on helping your sex drive.

Plus not to mention breastfeeding is extra exhausting, as your body is constantly working creating milk even when you don’t realise it.

8. Your boobs become a no-go zone

Breastfeeding makes your boobs sore and tender when they’re being used 24/7 to feed your baby. So the last thing you want is someone else fondling them. Nope, just nope.

9. Your boobs might leak

Yep if you are breastfeeding, be warned that they may leak during sex. This one is good to know in advance because it will 100% freak you out in the moment.

It’s probably best not to grab for the breast pump during sex though – even if it does break your heart seeing good milk going to waste…

10. You might struggle to feel sexy

It can be really hard to switch from the mum role into the wife/partner role. Spending all day singing nursery rhymes and covered in vomit doesn’t exactly make you feel like a freak between the sheets.

Have a think about what helps you to feel sexy and what gets you in the mood and schedule in some time for that. Whether it’s having a bath while your partner gets the baby to bed or slipping on some nice lingerie – whatever works for you.

11. Emotional orgasms

Whilst physically the sex can take a little while to get back to “normal” the emotional connection with your partner on the other side of childbirth can be extra special. There’s nothing that strengthens the bond between a couple like bringing a baby into the world. This newfound respect and admiration for the female body, this can help strengthen your physical connection too.  And is there anything sexier than a partner who gets up to do a feed for you so you can stay in bed? Things that turn you on might be a little different at the moment but whatever works!

12. It might be better than ever for you

Whilst for many women it takes time to enjoy sex again, for some lucky mamas they say postpartum sex is better than ever. Whether this is due to the physical feeling of intercourse or an emotional connection that is deeper than ever before depends on the individual…

13. Struggling with your new body

It is completely normal to feel a little lost in your own body for a while. Especially in those early weeks and months. You might not be feeling physically yourself (you just had a baby so remember to go easy on yourself) and you’re still getting used to your shape and the changes your body has been through.

Remember to celebrate all the amazing things your body has done to grow and birth your baby and try to embrace it. Buy some lingerie or a nice robe you feel great in and focus on all the positives you love about yourself and your body.

14. Windows for sex are small so get creative

There’s no longer the same opportunities you once had – a long lazy morning spent in bed? What is that? So you will have to get a little more clever at seizing opportunities – a mid-morning quickie while the baby naps, or as soon as the baby goes to bed… whatever works!

15. Scheduling is your friend

We know, we know scheduling is not exactly sexy but in these early years with kids, it can be super helpful to schedule in a little sexy time. It won’t always go to plan, but it’s also a good way to help get yourself in the mood if you know you need a little extra help in that department. Whether that’s scheduling a bath to help you unwind, preparing a nice dinner or simply remembering to wash your hair and shave your legs.

16. Try to get out of your head

So much of what is holding us back when it comes to sex and intimacy in these early weeks and months after having a baby is in our heads. Sure there are things out of our control like hormones and sleepless nights, but we can control our thoughts. Trying to remain positive about sex and not getting caught up in our fear or anxiety around it.

17. Switching off the mental load

As women, we are amazing multitaskers – we know this. But when it comes to the bedroom this isn’t always a good thing when we’re trying to get intimate yet our to-do list is running through our brain. If you struggle to switch your brain off, think about turning on some music or something to help distract your thoughts to help you remain present in the moment.

If you are really struggling with sex and you should talk with your doctor or midwife and they can help answer any questions or concerns you might have.

Remember intimacy is about more than just sex, so spend quality time together with your partner and communicate how you are both feeling. If you are not enjoying sex or are struggling with your sex drive, explain this to your partner and help them understand what is going on with your body.

Communication is key to helping you both reignite your sex life after baby. Remember that it may take time (and happen a little less frequently) but if you’re both on the same page the chances are it will be better than it ever was!

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