So you’ve just had a baby, you’re running on little to no sleep, still getting used to your new mom-bod (not quite back in your skinny jeans), and now it’s Valentine’s Day. Don’t despair! Here are some tips to help out your hubby ...and yourself too!
1- Make a Plan
Open, honest communication is a key component to any healthy relationship and especially when it comes to sex! How can you make sure both of your needs are being met if you don’t talk about it? Talk to your partner about what you are feeling, how your physical recovery is going and your desires for your relationship. When you are both in agreement it’s time to be intimate again, work together to ensure you have the time, energy and privacy necessary to really focus on each other.
2 - Get some rest
Rest, with a new baby, you’re kidding, right? Nope! Taking care of yourself is key. It is hard to feel sexy when you haven’t slept more than 2 hours at a time and can’t remember the last time you showered. Instead of tackling your never-ending to-do list, take a nap, take a shower, maybe pull out your adult coloring book...whatever it is that will help you feel more human. If you know you can’t relax with laundry in piles and dirty dishes in the sink, communicate that to your husband. You will be amazed how quickly those dishes get washed with the right incentive!
3 - Get a room
Making time to be alone may take some creative thinking but it can be done! While baby holding devices are not recommended for long-time use they can come in very handy when you need a few minutes alone with your hubby. Put a movie on, pull out the pack and play and sneak away to your bedroom, or the living room...or the kitchen… ;). Showering together is also a great option for combining practical needs (like getting clean) with some sweet bonding and playful touch. If you find you have a hard time keeping your mind on your husband and off your child, perhaps a babysitter is what you need. Call up that friend who has been begging to help. Drop off Junior for a play date, pick up some takeout from your favorite restaurant and go back home for a romantic date night in the comfort of your own home.
4 - Get some lube:
Vaginal dryness is a common struggle, particularly for breastfeeding moms, as a result of the high levels of prolactin and low levels of estrogen and progesterone. It is basically your body's way of saying, "I'm not ready to get pregnant again." Once fertility returns, things tend to go back to normal and your sex drive will likely increase. In the meantime a good lube is very important. Any food grade oil can be used (coconut, olive, grapeseed, etc.), or you can buy products like those from GoodCleanLove (which just happen to be plant-derived and organic). In honor of Valentine’s Day and because we want to encourage your marital intimacy, use these coupon codes for a special discount: VDAY40 (40% off) and BESTEVERBABY20 (another 20% off). Enjoy!
5 - Get creative
Especially if you had significant tearing or a C-section, the amount of healing time it takes before a mom can comfortably have intercourse again might be extended. Using lubricants, starting slow, and having a patient and understanding husband will go a long way. For C-section mamas, often the biggest struggle is the discomfort from the incision. Your go-to positions might have to be tweaked, since hubby being on top might put too much weight on the incision, and your being on top might require too much movement. What a great opportunity to try new positions!
6 - Get in the mood
Low sex drive is very common and goes along with the hormone levels telling your body you’re not ready to get pregnant again. Let your partner know what turns you on. The foreplay you enjoyed before baby may not cut it anymore, allow some extra time to get reaquainted with each other and figure out what your new postpartum body likes. Turn on some music and your essential oil diffuser! Scent is strongly tied to memory so by diffusing an oil like Orange (which is a known aphrodisiac),you can train your body to associate the scent with a certain mood or circumstance so using the same oil every time means that when you smell an orange...bowchickawowow!
7 - Get some help
If you and your husband are using a great lube, going slow, getting creative and still things just aren’t working out, make your sexual health a priority and seek out professional help. Consult your healthcare provider, learn how you can strengthen your pelvic floor, even seek out physical therapy. Many women have bought into the myth that long-term painful intercouse is a normal and unavoidable part of giving birth; it isn't’! We like what Katy Bowman has to say on this topic.
8 - Get a schedule
Being intentional sometimes looks like keeping intimacy on the calendar or even tracking your unions with an app (for example, Ovia Fertility). Popular opinion suggests that most men feel the need for release (as in, it starts to become uncomfortable for him) every three days, on average. Based on that information, we recommend a goal of at least biweekly intimacy. Each couple will have to figure out the time frame that best meets their individual needs. And though it may not sound super romantic to schedule sex, it is romantic and loving to care for our husbands, consider their needs, and invest in our marriages by being intentional with physical intimacy.
9 - Get busy
One of the very best helps? A patient, understanding husband. If you want to help him be able to go slow and not climax too early more frequent sex is key. Some of this rests entirely on him, of course. Is he making the effort to wait and satisfy his wife? But this is something that together you can help "train" his body to be able to last longer and longer. Some couples find that helping him achieve some release prior to attempting postpartum sex can help give him the control necessary to go slow after six weeks of abstinence.
Regardless of how you gave birth (vaginal or Cesarean), it will change how you approach physical intimacy. We know, both from personal experience and from talking with our clients, that there is a wide range of what's “normal.” Some women find that they are chomping at the bit and eager to resume intercourse before their six weeks of pelvic rest is over, while others feel they need more time. (Generally, you want to at least wait until all bleeding has stopped to prevent risk of infection.) Either way, we at New Creation want to encourage you to be proactive in your pursuit of a healthy and fulfilling sexual relationship which honors God, just as He intended.
Be patient. Be a servant. And be thankful for your Valentine.