The postpartum period can be a very testing period of time for any new family.
Mom is trying to catch up on every ounce of sleep, recovering from the birth and trying to figure out how to handle life with a newborn.
Needless to say, one of the first things to suffer in a relationship after a baby is love-making.
Not to mention the controversy surrounding when and how to initiate postpartum sex – love life can seriously can take a hit.
Not to worry though – that’s where I come in!
Read on as I guide you through some tips that helped me regain bodily confidence and intimacy with my partner.
1) Take it slow
I know that most women are advised from their doctor or medical practitioner to wait until the 6 week mark before trying sex.
To me, that sounded like hell on earth and luckily enough I had a midwife who told us that she was not going to make the decision for us as to when – that was down to us and how I felt.
So as I had almost no tearing from my peaceful homebirth, we did start earlier than the six weeks.
Please note I am not a doctor so please don’t make any decisions just from what you read here, I will not be held responsible.
Seriously, I could have exploded had I waited that long – but that’s just me and my hyperactive sex drive.
Even then, what I mean by going slow isn’t how much time you wait, but rather the approach you take to sex.
You wouldn’t start whizzing round the ice-skating track the first time you put your boots on.
Same goes with your postpartum body: give it what it needs, don’t feel pressurized into doing something too fast.
Try a little at a time, if you feel it hurts you or makes you uncomfortable, stop and try again another time.
2) Know what to expect
Read up beforehand on the postpartum period and what it involves. The fourth trimester is an important phase that often gets left out of preparation for a baby.
I would say it’s one of the main reasons that women find it hard to come back to sex with their partner: they weren’t prepared as to what it would feel like.
Note: this is not to discourage you, rather the contrary. At least a month before baby came along I had a box ready of postpartum essentials that I’d ordered on Amazon to make things easier.
(Really – so much more practical ordering tons of pads online rather than stacking them up to your eyelids in a store and having to pass the checkout like that)
Even then, there are some thing you can’t buy and those are decent rest and a good recovery.
Anyway – all that to tell you, the more you’re ready for it, the less of a shock you’ll get.
At first, you might not so much pleasure as your body adjusts and your lady parts go back into place. It’s a good sign already once it feels comfortable and doesn’t hurt.
3) Talk about it
Don’t be afraid to have a little chat about how you’re feeling, any fears you may be having, any doubts cropping up.
Your partner (hopefully) is someone that you deeply love and trust. He will be supportive of you no matter what you say – he knows what you’ve been through.
When you’re ready, have a sit down on the sofa with a cup of tea (baby permitting) and talk about your healing process.
The more you get off your chest now, the more you can really relax and get into it when the moment comes.
Tip: don’t just talk about you, ask your partner how he feels, does he feel ready? There’s this huge assumption that men are rampant animals waiting to pounce on women no matter what life phase they’re in.
A man that cares for you will likely be a little nervous about re-initiating contact or afraid to hurt you.
4) Cuddle, cuddle and more cuddle
Did I exaggerate a little? Seriously not only will you feel closer to your partner, you’ll also get a natural rush of oxytocin which will help speed up your recovery as oxytocin provokes uterine contractions.
It’s a good idea to have some films ready for those first few days – chances are your little one will only want to feed so you can all snuggle together.
Then, once baby is asleep in bed for the night (ok, 3 hour stint) you can get even more cozy…turn the lights down lower if it helps. You don’t have to go all out, just start by some gentle touches and caresses.
Related post: Breastfeeding and sex, what’s the deal?
The more you take time for the little things – running your hands through each other’s hair, giving a little neck massage, the more comfortable you will be when it comes to trying something more.
Enjoy this phase too – many women (me included) feel as if it were their first time all over again. Remember that giddy feeling with your first love? That’s what I want you to aim for.
5) Treat each other nicely
Granted, this can be a challenge when you’re running on four hours sleep and have baby vomit all over you, again.
It’s so easy to get caught up in this little being that you’ve brought to the world…and rightly so, but don’t let that make your couple take second place.
One of the best pieces of advice my midwife gave me was to actually have a little conversation during the day – not just feedback on the baby’s poop, how much you’ve slept and what’s for dinner.
Trust me, the more nurture you feed your relationship with now, the more chance you’ll feel ready when it comes down to intimacy again.
Hint: it’s a really great opportunity to tell him what’s working and what’s not -i.e. clean dishes are a real turn on!
I know that I for sure am much more of a relaxed person when things are done around the house and I have a shorter mental to-list to deal with. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed you’ll be in the bedroom.
6) Warm up properly
I can’t emphasize this one enough – you didn’t go into labour head first without any prep now did you?
Postpartum sex is no different. Your body has gone through some serious changes and is currently trying to adapt to life after baby.
Now is the time to rekindle the romance and start things off with some gentle foreplay.
It doesn’t matter if you get to penetration or not, the idea is to lose the fear and let go.
You might find that you get a little further each time and start to really loosen up.
Plus, now’s a great time to rediscover yourself or try new things – anything goes! Get creative, look online for some sex tips, just do what you gotta do to keep that flame alive!
7) Use lube whenever necessary
As your vagina is still healing from pushing a baby out (was I the only one to squeam at that even 8 months on?), it will need time to re-adjust as we have stated above.
Even if you’ve stopped bleeding, you may still find that even though you’re horny, there’s no persuading it.
This is especially true for breastfeeding mothers as the release of the hormone prolactin leads to vaginal dryness.
What can you do? Invest in a decent lube, and apply as needed. Nowadays you can get organic water-based ones that do the trick perfectly.
I personally prefer my go-to coconut oil for just about everything under the sun. Just make sure to have two separate jars for culinary and bedroom use, okay?
You can get organic non-raffined coconut oil here. Bear in mind it is (obviously) oil based, which you may want to be careful of if you suffer from yeast infections.
Try out and see how you go, adjust til you find what works for you.