Baby Steps to Postpartum Intimacy
Having a baby is a wonderful, life-changing experience. But taking care of your newborn is a full-time job. Your time, attention, effort, and love are focused on your little one. And if you’re breastfeeding, it may seem your body belongs to baby, too. This may leave little time, energy, or desire for your partner.
Having a baby can impact how you and your partner feel and act as a couple—especially in those first few weeks and months. But it’s important to focus on your relationship needs, too. Begin by taking these “baby steps” to enhanced intimacy with your partner.
Plan Time Together
Reconnect by setting aside time for each other every week. Call a babysitter and sneak away for a movie. Or, make a nice dinner at home after baby is in bed. Even a scheduled phone call during the day to chat can help bring you closer.
Parenthood can be tiring and stressful. To help avoid conflicts, assign household and baby-related duties. It may reduce feelings of resentment toward each other (and increase loving ones).
Talk with your partner about your feelings regarding sex. Most doctors recommend women wait at least six weeks postpartum and until they are fully healed to resume sexual activity. However, both partners should feel ready before making love again. Discussing expectations can lower the pressure.
Respond to Changes
It takes months for your body to fully recover from pregnancy. Be proud of the body that carried and nurtured your baby and respond to its changing needs. For example, you may experience vaginal dryness after childbirth, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Using a personal lubricant can help. (Keep in mind that when you do resume sexual activity, you can get pregnant—even if you’re breastfeeding and before your period returns.)
Remember, there are many ways to be intimate with your partner without having intercourse. Cuddle in the morning. Take a bath together. Give each other backrubs. Stay up 15 minutes later each night to talk before bed. The important thing is to make time for your relationship.
Online Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian MD
Date Last Reviewed: 4/6/2010
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