Sex while breast feeding baby

Can I Have Sex When Breastfeeding? Experts Explain


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You can definitely make it work, if you want to.

by Samantha Darby


Originally Published: 

Sex after baby is a big enough change. There are a lot of things to adjust to as your body recovers from giving birth. Sex if you’re breastfeeding? You're definitely going to be trying something new. But if you're wondering, “can I have sex when I’m breastfeeding?”, the answer is simple — you can. As long as you don't mean sex while you’re breastfeeding because, I don't know, that might be a little awkward. But having sex as a breastfeeding mom? It’s far from impossible.

Breastfeeding & sex: Can I have sex when I’m breastfeeding?

Yes, you absolutely can have sex when you're breastfeeding says Rachael Anastasio-Collins, a International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and Registered Nurse. “It is safe for a breastfeeding mom to have sex and having sex with your partner will not impact your milk supply or the quality of your milk,” Anastasio-Collins says. “So, put that worry aside and crank up the Marvin Gaye.”

Some moms experience a decrease in their libido and maybe even some vaginal dryness while they are breastfeeding, Anastasio-Collins also notes. Again, not a big deal. “There's no need to worry, these are not permanent changes,” she says. “Just be open and honest with your partner about your needs. If you have the desire, but dryness is an issue, don’t worry — there’s a lube for that.”

Sex while breastfeeding: Will sex make your breasts leak milk?

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There are definitely some physical changes to be aware of when it comes to breastfeeding and sex. “Hormones play a large role in our ability to make breast milk and sometimes those hormones can affect our sex life,” Anastasio-Collins says. “Some moms find that an orgasm causes their breasts to leak. Oxytocin, the hormone that causes our milk to flow when the baby nurses, is the same hormone that plays a huge role in orgasms and those feelings of closeness and bonding.” However, she's adamant — it's not a big deal. If you experience leaking during sex, Anastasio-Collins recommends that you simply press against your breasts for a few seconds to stop the flow or break out some fun, sexy lingerie and give yourself a break from the nursing bras and tank tops. You don't have to let a little breast milk in the sheets stop you from being intimate.

The most important thing to have if you want to have sex while breastfeeding is a sense of humor says Lori Atkins, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and owner of Oh, Baby Lactation Care in Connecticut. She recommends you have “a towel nearby. That oxytocin surge with an orgasm is fun, but can be a little messy. Laughter is key.”

So, can you have sex when breastfeeding? If you feel like it, you absolutely can. Just remember that it might be a little different, and keep the lines of communication open with your partner. Being sprayed with breast milk during sex doesn't have to mean you give up your intimate moments, it just means adjusting, like every moment of parenthood. (Because trust me, there's a lot more messy moments to come.)


Rachael Anastasio-Collins, a International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and Registered Nurse

Lori Atkins, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and owner of Oh, Baby Lactation Care in Connecticut

This article was originally published on

What to Know About Intimacy Postdelivery

Breastfeeding and Sex: What to Know About Intimacy Postdelivery

Medically reviewed by Holly Ernst, PA-C — By Kimberly Holland on July 31, 2018

Sex after delivery

There’s no required waiting period for intercourse after delivery, though most health care experts recommend you wait four to six weeks to have sex again. This gives you time to heal following delivery or surgery.

Between the late-night feedings and early-morning dirty diapers, however, sex may be the last thing on your mind. Your body is undergoing a lot of change during this time. This includes changes brought on by breastfeeding.

Some women find that the extra attention to their breasts, as well as the engorged shape, make them feel less attractive. Others feel more attractive.

All of these things are normal. Keep these factors in mind when you feel ready to be intimate with your partner again after the arrival of your baby.

Does breastfeeding affect sex drive?

Yes, breastfeeding can affect your sex drive. Results from a 2005 study found that women who were breastfeeding were more likely to delay resuming intercourse following the birth of their child than women who didn’t breastfeed.

After delivery, your estrogen level will fall, and the levels of two hormones, prolactin and oxytocin, will rise. These two hormones have very different impacts on your body, and each can interfere with your sex drive.

The combination of increased prolactin and oxytocin may make you feel great pleasure from breastfeeding. Your emotional and physical intimacy needs may be met by breastfeeding your little one, so your sex drive may decrease. You may not feel the need or desire to seek affection from your partner.

The opposite can happen too. The increased hormones and sensual touching can increase your sexual desire. The breasts are an erogenous zone. You may find that you’re more easily aroused thanks to the surging hormones and sensations in your body.

If you think breastfeeding is affecting your sex drive, it’s important to know this is normal. Between hormonal changes and lifestyle interruptions after a baby’s arrival, your libido may peak and fall for a period. In time, your sex drive should return to what it was before the arrival of your baby.

Is breastfeeding a natural form of birth control?

Breastfeeding can be a natural form of birth control. This is known as the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM). If used properly, breastfeeding can be 98 percent effective at preventing pregnancy within the first six months after the baby’s delivery.

However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. LAM requires a very precise method. First, you must have a baby who is less than 6 months old. Second, you must exclusively breastfeed your infant, with feedings at least every four to six hours apart. If you use formula or solid foods in addition to breastfeeding, this method won’t work. Lastly, if you’ve had a period since childbirth, this method is no longer effective.

Research shows that only 26 percent of women practicing LAM actually met the criteria for it. If you’re using breastfeeding as a form of birth control, talk with your doctor about a backup method if you’re trying to avoid pregnancy. Learn more about birth control that’s safe to use while breastfeeding.

Will sex make your breasts leak milk?

Be prepared to experience leaking if you’re breastfeeding and having sex.

Within days of giving birth, your breasts will fill with milk. Touching, rubbing, or sucking on the nipples during intercourse may release breast milk. You may even leak or spray breast milk during orgasm.

These three techniques can help you manage this:

  1. Nurse or pump ahead of time. If you have the time, try to reduce the amount of milk in your breasts before having sex. This will reduce the risk of a leak.
  2. Wear a bra with nursing pads. If you and your partner are fine with keeping your breasts covered during intercourse, nursing pads tucked inside a bra can absorb any leaks.
  3. Talk about it beforehand. Talk with your partner about the chances of this happening during intercourse. If it doesn’t bother you, don’t worry about it. It’s natural.

Painful sex and breastfeeding

While you’re breastfeeding, your body produces less estrogen. Estrogen is a key hormone for arousal and natural vaginal lubrication.

With the low levels of the hormone, you may find that getting turned on takes longer and your vagina is too dry for comfortable penetration during intercourse.

Take your time with foreplay, and keep a bottle of a water-based lubricant handy to make things easier when between the sheets.

Likewise, you may experience nipple pain because of breastfeeding. The feeding and sucking from your little one may make your flesh sensitive. If you’re uncomfortable having your partner touch your breasts during intercourse, make sure to talk about this ahead of time. Let them know you’d prefer to have a “look but don’t touch” rule. This way, your partner can get arousal from the visual while you feel more comfortable and relaxed.

How to talk to your partner about sex

During this new and exciting time in your lives, it’s important that you be open and honest with your partner. Sex postpartum can be fun and pleasurable. However, as with everything else that’s new in your life right now — like 3 a. m. feedings, runny diapers, and tiny socks — you need to work through it with your partner.

Have a conversation about sex and how you feel about it. This can be tricky or uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be. Use these talking points to guide you:

  • Be honest. Reveal your insecurities and concerns. You will be a better partner and allow your partner to better serve you if you’re honest about how you feel — the good and the bad.
  • Consider what you want. Ask yourself what you really seek in pleasure and intimacy right now. If it’s not penetrative sex, say so. If something doesn’t feel comfortable, speak up. Likewise, listen when your partner expresses their concerns and desires.
  • Respect your body. You’ll know when you’re ready for sex again. If it’s not as soon as you want, that’s fine. You and your partner can explore other ways to be intimate. If you’re worried about pain or discomfort during intercourse, talk with your doctor. You might consider bringing your partner with you to the appointment too. This way you can both ask questions and feel more secure in your choices.
  • Don’t avoid awkward conversations. Your body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy and in the months after your baby is delivered. If sex doesn’t feel as pleasurable anymore (delivery can stretch muscles), talk with your partner about trying a new position. Don’t assume it’s better to stay silent. Pleasure and intimacy are a two-way street.

Other ideas for intimacy

Intimacy is more than sex. Sex is more than penetrative intercourse. If you and your partner are looking for ways to reconnect and engage one another in intimate ways, consider these techniques:

  • Spend time together. You may feel like you don’t have a minute to spare when there are dishes to be washed and bottles to be filled, but make spending time with your partner a priority. This way, you both know how important you are to one another, and your sexual passion can naturally reignite.
  • Kiss and make out. And keep your clothing on. This allows you to feel aroused again and may encourage sexual activities in the future that both of you can look forward to.
  • Try new techniques. Mutual masturbation, oral sex, and sex toys may also be a good idea in this postdelivery period. These techniques allow you both to get the level and type of intimacy you need while feeling connected with one another.
  • Care for one another. When you’ve had only a handful of hours of sleep and you’re covered in spit-up, the last thing you may feel is sexy or desirable. Be honest with your partner about your needs so they can help you. You may just need them to hold the baby while you shower. These small acts of care and love can go a long way to increasing sensuality and feeling loved.
  • Take care of yourself. You may feel like the walk from the couch to the bathroom is far enough, but you may also find that some forms of moderate exercise go a great way toward helping you feel better. Caring for yourself can go a long way toward helping you feel better, more desirable, and more passionate too. Exercise for your mental health — and your sexual health.

The takeaway

The period after you come home with your baby is a time of great change, learning, and adjustment. You will sleep less, perhaps eat more, and may find that you have no time or desire for sexual intimacy. This is normal.

Likewise, breastfeeding may also increase your desire for sex and intercourse. The surge of hormones can make arousal and sensual touching more pleasurable. This is also normal.

Whatever you’re experiencing, you can find ways to engage in sexual activities after your baby’s delivery and still reap the rewards of intimacy. You may have to be more strategic. Don’t be above penciling in a planned sex date on the calendar. You may also have to be more vocal about what you do and don’t like.

With a little time, effort, and dedication, you and your partner can find comfortable and meaningful ways to reconnect and enjoy one another in this postdelivery period.

Last medically reviewed on July 31, 2018

  • Parenthood
  • Postpartum Care
  • Post Delivery

How we reviewed this article:

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • Birth control methods. (2017).
  • Breastfeeding and breast milk. (2017).
  • Fabic MS, et al. (2013). Assessing the quality of data regarding use of the lactational amenorrhea method [Abstract]. DOI:
  • Lactational amenorrhea method (LAM). (2017). html
  • Rowland M, et al. (2005). Breastfeeding and sexuality immediately post partum.

Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

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Medically reviewed by Holly Ernst, PA-C — By Kimberly Holland on July 31, 2018

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Is it possible to have sex and breastfeed at the same time?

During childbirth, many women curse sex with all their might, screaming that they will never and never again get involved in this terrible vile occupation. But some six weeks, three months or two years pass - it's different for anyone - and sex returns to their lives. Amazing thing, isn't it?

And every family, every couple, decides on the place and time for making love in their own way. And this decision depends on many factors at once: living conditions, sleep patterns and the age of the child, the degree of looseness of the spouses, and also on whether the woman is breastfeeding the baby. nine0003

According to the author of The Art of Breastfeeding, a true lactation gospel, combining breastfeeding and sex exists throughout the world and in all cultures. “And the assessment of normality depends solely on the perception in a given family,” point out Pitman, West and Wissinger.

Moreover, they believe that breast milk can even become part of sexual games - it can be splashed or used as a lubricant for massage. However, representatives of La Leche League emphasize that all manipulations related to lactation and sex should depend only on the free choice of partners. Many lactating women, for example, generally turn off the breast from the list of erogenous zones for the entire period of breastfeeding - it seems to them that lactation has turned this organ into something non-sexual, even a little alien. nine0003

His favorite place to sleep????? #peacefulbirth #peacefulbaby #unassistedbirth #homebirth
A post shared by SpiritualTashaMama (@spiritualtashamama) on

But such thoughts and feelings, which are certainly absolutely normal, are not visited by everyone. For example, blogger and experienced nursing mother Tasha Meile says that she may well have sex at the moment when the baby is on her chest.

She, in particular, stated this in 2015 in one of the videos that she uploads to her YouTube channel. A staunch vegetarian and advocate for long-term lactation, her views are similar to fellow breastfeeding activist Sophie Emma Rose, who also vlogged and shared her principles on YouTube (Sophie died in Thailand this year in a car accident).

Meile calmly talks about lactation, shares his thoughts and talks about his experience for several years. But for some reason, that very entry about the combination of feeding with sex on the Internet was noticed only this summer. nine0003

Shortly after the video was circulated in specialized and then news publications, Tasha, like Emma Rose, who became famous for the phrase that children can be breastfed up to eight years old, was invited to air the morning show This Morning on British television.

During a conversation with the hosts, she calmly breastfed her youngest child and answered questions confidently and without any attempt to throw that same breast into the embrasure in order to force everyone to make love during lactation. What can not be said about the hosts - they kept trying to hook Meila, asking how normal it is to take a shower with a baby and whether they understood correctly that she considers having sex "in front of children acceptable." nine0003

Tasha stated that she does not see anything wrong with adults loving each other and sex, and in no way injure a baby either physically or mentally while making love. “When a child is three months old, he sleeps, kissing his chest, nothing terrible happens. He doesn't sit and look at you. He is a completely innocent creature, ”said the blogger. “If the child is safe, then everything is in order,” she concluded.

The hosts, however, continued to push, asking her at what age, in her opinion, the child would no longer be able to be present at the act of intercourse of the parents. To this, she replied that sleeping children are not present when adults have sex, they just sleep. “Well, if he enters the bedroom and catches you, then sex from this will not cease to be the norm of life,” Tasha said. nine0003

After this broadcast, a storm of criticism and insults hit the blogs on Mail. However, she also had defenders. One Facebook user wrote: “I agree with her. I haven't done it myself, but I understand how it's possible. She said that the baby was sleeping, suckling to the breast. I think they did everything carefully, and not like rabbits, and the child did not notice anything at all. And if a child can only fall asleep on his chest, then the couple simply has no choice, but they also somehow need to be close and maintain an intimate relationship. And that's right. Even psychologist Ekaterina Blukhterova says that if a man and a woman are attracted to each other, a child hanging on their chest will not prevent them from making love. nine0003

All this sounds reasonable, but not for those who decided to teach Tasha how to live. So many boorish comments were written to her that at some point she advised the haters to stop drawing conclusions about her life: “Everything you say has nothing to do with me. You don't even know me. And I don't know you. So it's all just stupid."

At the same time, she responded to accusations of oversharing, noting that she shares everything that happens in her life with her subscribers, including the compositions of the smoothies she prepares for breakfast, but for some reason only a small story about sex during lactation attracted attention . About an episode that just happened in life along with other events. nine0003

Oh my heart #familyofboys love these little gods so much! The amount they teach me on a daily basis is out of this world! These star children are blasting off faster then we can imagine! Let us honor them in every way possible in their missions here on planet ocean ???????????
A post shared by SpiritualTashaMama (@spiritualtashamama) on

And for a baby, it was just another dream, another attachment. Meile complements this idea with this statement: “Is breastfeeding offensive to a child? It will become such only if you inspire it with this thought. Despite the fact that many of Tasha's other views and principles can be called controversial, her rules of life regarding feeding and sex are quite sound: everyone does as he likes. nine0003

However, this whole story should not have been made into a manifesto at all, because sex and feeding are indeed practiced by many couples. And many do not practice. Both those and others grow up ordinary children who sooner or later will still find out what sex is and (horror) that even their parents sometimes do it.

Postpartum sex and breastfeeding

Sexual life is an important part of family life, and after giving birth, parents may have questions: when can you start having sex, what to do if you don’t feel like sex, and what features of breastfeeding affect this sphere. The question of the term for the resumption of sexual activity mainly depends on the condition of the mother, the severity of childbirth and should be decided, first of all, by a gynecologist. From the side of breastfeeding, there are no restrictions in terms of starting a sexual life, but sometimes partners may encounter some peculiarities. nine0003

Don't want sex while breastfeeding

Some women experience decreased libido, difficulty reaching orgasm, and reluctance to have sex while breastfeeding. Sometimes women complain: "I don't want my husband after giving birth." Indeed, the action of the hormones oxytocin and prolactin can reduce sexual desire. The body of a woman after childbirth, first of all, is tuned to the restoration and feeding of the child. However, according to studies, this occurs only in some women, and some, on the contrary, note an increase in libido [1]. nine0003

What can be done in this situation?

Often, mothers are so exhausted after the birth of a child that they cannot allow time for sleep to be taken away by other activities. First of all, rest and reasonable expenditure of energy are important here. The help of fathers in this situation is invaluable: if mom can relax while sleeping with the child, or while dad is walking with a stroller, instead of cooking and cleaning the apartment, she will begin to have strength for something else. In addition, according to studies, non-sexual contact helps to establish sexual contact [1]. Simply put, start by hugging more often, just lying next to you, doing non-erotic massage, strengthening your intimacy. Pay attention to the mother's self-esteem. Changes in the figure after pregnancy, childbirth, the beginning of breastfeeding sometimes upset a woman so much that she begins to consider herself sexually unattractive. Often this is completely inconsistent with how partners perceive them. Compliments can help clarify this issue. In addition, proper nutrition,


m, breastfeeding cosmetic procedures can help mom get in shape faster. If the methods described above did not help in your situation, you should contact a sexologist.

How long will the "return" of libido take? Could weaning help him?

According to research, most breastfeeding mothers return libido no later than 12 months after childbirth[1]. Abrupt weaning can be psychological stress for mom and baby, a woman's hormonal system is also heavily affected, so you should not resort to this method. nine0003

Pain during sex after childbirth

There is a misconception that women after a caesarean section suffer less pain during intercourse than women after a natural birth. In fact, due to hormonal changes, including those associated with breastfeeding, a woman's body releases less natural lubrication even during sexual arousal [1]. Using a water-based lubricant solves this problem in most cases; if this does not help, you need to contact a gynecologist. nine0003

Sore nipples and milk leakage

Many mothers note that during breastfeeding, the nipples and areola become a non-erogenous zone, moreover, touching them is unpleasant, especially if the mother also experiences pain while feeding the baby. To avoid discomfort during intercourse, you can use positions in which there is no friction of the nipples, or wear a tight bra. Also, in lactating women, during arousal and orgasm, milk may leak from the breast. If this causes discomfort, you can pre-express the breast or feed the baby, and you can also use a bra with breast pads. nine0003

Is it possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding?

In the first six months after childbirth, a couple can use the lactational amenorrhea method, in which a woman cannot become pregnant due to the lack of ovulation. It is a fairly effective way to prevent pregnancy, but it works only under certain conditions and only in the first 6 months after childbirth, which you can read more about in our article. Please note that the absence of menstruation does not mean that a woman cannot become pregnant. Partners may also use barrier methods of contraception (such as condoms) as well as oral contraceptives compatible with breastfeeding, as directed by a gynecologist. The first year after the birth of a child is not easy and very exciting, but at the same time it opens up new facets in the relationship of spouses. Love and be loved! nine0081 Literature .

Learn more