You’ve had your six week checkup and gotten the green light to have sex again after birth. Okay, well…now what?
Aside from the occasional jokes about over-eager husbands (hey, women have sex drives too) and horror stories about how bad it’s going to hurt, you don’t really hear much about what it’s really like to have sex after baby. We’re going to have a pretty frank discussion about sex and the things nobody tells you about how that works post-baby, so feel free to skip this one if that’s not your thing.
Just because your OB clears you for sexual activity doesn’t mean you have to jump in before you’re ready.
As always when it comes to intimacy with your partner, communication is important. When you are ready, it’s okay to feel a little apprehensive. While it might be a little uncomfortable the first time or two, sex after baby doesn’t have to hurt, and if it hurts for more than two weeks after you’ve started back, talk with your doctor. That pain isn’t normal and you may need pelvic physiotherapy to help address the underlying problem.
Lube is your friend.
No, really. #allthelube. Those first few times, don’t be afraid to lubricate with abandon, even if that wasn’t your norm before. Breastfeeding and other hormone changes can cause vaginal dryness, which can in turn cause discomfort during intercourse. If you’re using condoms, remember to choose a water-based condom-safe lube to be on the safe side.
Don’t skip the foreplay.
Your body has been through a lot, and pregnancy changes things down there even if you didn’t deliver vaginally. Going slow with lots of massage (remember, lube is your new BFF), especially in the perineal area, will help you relax and enjoy yourself more. Even if you aren’t quite ready to jump back into sex with penetration yet, massage and taking the time to connect with your partner is never a bad call.
If you’re a partner reading this, some new turn-ons to add to your repertoire are helping make sure mom is rested, has had a chance to shower, and putting in some extra help with household tasks. Real talk: it’s hard to get in the mood when you’re exhausted, covered in spit-up, and thinking about all the things that need to get done around the house.
Your boobs might leak.
If you’re breastfeeding, you might experience some leaking during sex or orgasm. That’s normal, and throwing down a towel before things really get going is a good idea. If it’s close to your baby’s next feeding, you might be a little engorged and any position that puts pressure against your breasts might feel uncomfortable. Your nipples will probably feel sensitive and it could be awhile before they have another purpose besides feeding your baby. They’ll adjust to their dual-purpose life soon enough.
You’re going to get interrupted.
Nothing kills the mood quite like a screaming baby.
It’s going to happen, and nobody really talks about how strange that can be for first-time parents. It’s hard to flip the switch from “sexy time” to “oh wait, I have to parent now” and back again. You may have to stop in the middle, tend to your baby, and get back to things, or your baby might thwart that plan entirely. Be patient with yourself if you find that switch difficult and have trouble getting back into the mood.
You will get used to it as your adorable interrupter gets bigger and keeps interrupting (That’s a thing now, btw. They will keep doing that- ask a fellow parent). Chalk it up to the joys of parenting, laugh it off, and try again soon. If you haven’t already, this might be a good time to start helping your baby get used to sleeping in their crib. Even if you aren’t ready to transition full-time, having the option to start there is handy.
The end of a long day of momming might not be the best time for you to have sex right now. Morning or afternoon may be better for you if your partner is available. Baby asleep in your room? Get creative with other locations. Intimacy is important, and sometimes as a parent you have to get it when you can and where you can. Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out. Have fun!