The baby’s here—now what? Far too many women think the change in roles, from always down wife to exhausted mama, means they need to keep the two halves of themselves separate. This is not the case. But don’t rush trying to jump back in the saddle before you’re ready, and know that what you’re going through is normal.
First and foremost, wait until all bleeding has stopped. This can take from 3 to 6 weeks. If you try to return to fighting form too soon, you risk infection. And though 6 weeks is the recommended minimum amount of time your body needs to recover, you may not be ready to get busy physically or emotionally. That lovin’ feeling may be buried under exhaustion, postpartum depression, body image issues and the stress of your new responsibilities.
Don’t panic; your pre-baby sex life isn’t gone for good. Also note that you’re not alone; your man may be experiencing his own hormone swings, too. A father-child bonding hormone called vasopressin tamps down his libido a bit.
Just make sure you keep the lines of communication open. Discuss how you feel and maintain the emotional bond between you and your partner until your body is able to catch up.
Once that happens, you should keep these basics in your back pocket:
- Remember: Lubrication is your friend. Your body is going through unique changes, and vaginal dryness is a normal issue. Counter that with a good, water-based lubricant.
- Continue doing kegel exercises to strengthen your bladder muscles. Try to squeeze in three sets of 10 each day.
- Foreplay after breastfeeding to avoid accidental leakage.
- Use birth control. Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding does not prevent pregnancy, so talk to your physician about contraception—unless you want to have another baby quickly. If that’s the case, by all means, throw caution to the wind.