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Breastfeeding – Good for Your Baby, Bad for Your Sex Drive

So you've given birth to your beautiful bundle of joy, and you're experiencing the unspeakable bliss of motherhood. Breastfeeding is extremely healthy for your newborn because it fulfills all of your baby's most fundamental needs: healthy nourishment and maternal bonding. But what about your needs? Yes, yes, the baby is great, but before you brought your precious angel into the world, you used to have quite the social life of your own. You remember the excitement of having sex with your partner, but lately, the spark just isn't there. You may find sex uncomfortable, or you may have no interest in the activity at all. This lack of activity is especially bad news for your partner, but what's going on? Has motherhood matured you beyond the point of requiring sexual congress? Probably not. Actually, you may be able to blame your diminished sex drive on the breastfeeding.
Why Your Breasts Are Growing But Your Libido Is Shrinking
As a new mother, you're going to learn quickly that children are takers. They'll take your money, your freedom, your energy, and, for a while, even your libido. It's all worth it, of course, and no mother would trade in their kids for any thing, but if you're new to the game, it's important that you understand what you're up against. According to Susan Kellogg, PhD, breastfeeding mothers tend to experience diminishing estrogen levels. Reduced estrogen can contribute to vaginal dryness, thereby making sex uncomfortable. Women also lose testosterone, which contributes to lost libido. Finally, breastfeeding can actually increase your production of a protein known as prolactin, also called lactotrope, which regulates the immune system. Excess prolactin can render your sex drive deader than a mob snitch on the ocean floor.
To sum it up more simply, your hormones are out of balance. They have been out of balance ever since being knocked up, but breastfeeding especially contributes to a dramatic loss of all the hormones most fundamental to your sex drive. Get used to it, because that bald little bundle will be hampering your sex life until he's 18-years-old. At 6 months, he's depleting your hormones, at 4 years, he's sleeping in your bed because he had another nightmare, and at 16, he's keeping you awake and in fear because he broke his curfew...again. I don't know the remedies for childhood nightmares or teenage rebellion, but let's focus on restoring your sex drive.
Reviving the Magic
If you're a breastfeeding mom, and you just can't bring yourself to get excited about sex anymore, there are a number of herbal preparations that can help to restore your estrogen and balance your hormones. In addition to addressing the hormones themselves, herbs like Catuaba, Epimedium, Mucuna Pruriens and Pyrola have been shown to increase blood flow to the genital area. This promotes improved sensitivity and greater potential for arousal.
If hormonal replenishment fails to do the trick, there may be other factors at work. For instance, you're a new mother with new responsibilities. It's possible that you're just exhausted and preoccupied. If nothing else works, just be patient and give it time. You have embarked on a brand new, life-changing journey, and that's a heavy transition. In time, you will return to some sense of normalcy, but in the meantime, don't put too much pressure on yourself. If your partner takes issue with it, just remind him that you're the one who had to pass a human bowling ball through your body.
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