real life

How breastfeeding ruined my sex drive.

This is one side effect of breast-feeding that I never saw coming.

From the moment I fell pregnant my body image changed. I felt incredible. How amazing that my body could create a person. Everything fascinated me from the morning sickness to my swelling belly to how sensitive my breasts became.

Sex was better while I was pregnant. Once we got over the common fear of hurting the baby through intercourse, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves until the moment I gave birth.

Then it all changed.

The birth of my first child was more complicated than I expected and recovery was difficult. I felt like my body wasn’t my own. It felt different and looked different. It felt bad, and I felt very disconnected from it. My husband did his best to assure me that I was still beautiful, but I longed to feel the way I used to.

Breastfeeding made me feel even worse.

I loved breastfeeding.

I loved breastfeeding - once I got the hang of it - but it increased the sense that my body wasn't my own. I wasn't even my own. I was existing for the sole purpose of caring for this beautiful little child. How I looked and felt didn't matter. I just had so much to do every single second of every day and I needed time to recover.

As I began to feel better my sense of disconnection didn't improve because no matter how much the rest of my body improved, my breasts were not my own. They were there for the nourishing of our child. They held no sexual meaning for me whatsoever.

My husband didn't understand what was going on. We had always been so close and so intimate, even when it had nothing to do with sex, but now I really couldn't bear to be touched intimately. I felt this way long after I was given my six-week exam and given the go-ahead to resume 'marital relations'.

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I decided to be honest with my husband and explain how uncomfortable I felt. I needed to tell him because I didn't want him to think it had anything to do with him or how I felt about him. It was all about the fact I had lost custody of my breasts. They didn't belong to me and I didn't want him visiting them at all.

It was a slow road back to intimacy for us. I really wanted to breastfeed for at least six months and almost made it. I breastfed for just under five months before making the decision to wean my baby. I wanted my body back.

Looking back I know that it was only because giving birth and being a mother was so foreign to me. It was all so surreal. With my next child I was better able to enjoy my body with my husband even as I breastfed, but my breasts were always packed away in a heavy duty bra. We just focused on other areas.

Breastfeeding changed my boobs.

I don't want to take away from the experience of breastfeeding. It was really important to me to do it and I breastfed for longer the second time, I just had to get my head around all the different sensations and emotions of being a mum. I'm so grateful that my husband was so understanding.

My boobs are looking a little worse for wear these days but are back on our permanent roster, thank goodness. You can't predict how you'll feel emotionally or physically after childbirth and while breastfeeding and sometimes it's different for each child. You don't have to try and 'fix' it. I didn't want to pressure myself into becoming comfortable with my body again and I didn't want to force myself to let my husband touch my breasts during sex. That would have made it worse.

You'll feel better when you feel better.

How did becoming a mum affect your sex drive? Did it make you feel like a goddess or a milking machine?

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