Setting the Stage: Sex for the First Time After Baby

We Should Wait How Long?

Before you left the hospital the nurse checking you out gave you the normal instructions: Tylenol or prescribed pain medication every 4 – 6 hours as needed, drink lots of water especially since you are breastfeeding, sleep when the baby sleeps, and no penetrative intercourse for the next 4 to 6 weeks or once you get approval from your OBGYN at your postpartum appointment. Both you and your partner raise your eyebrows as you think about no sex for the next 6 weeks. Your inner voice says, “Ha! Nothings making an entrance up there after this. No way.” Your partner’s inner voice is probably taking a different tone, “no sex for six weeks?! Is that a joke?”

When You're Ready

Lo and behold six weeks flies by and you’re at your postpartum appointment. You wince through a painful exam, tear up while talking about not being able to eat cheese (or some other ridiculous and arbitrary thing), and leave with the go ahead to go home and get busy. After that exam, you are probably thinking you are nowhere near ready, but you after you left you were probably still wondering if it’s even possible.

Will it hurt? Will I enjoy it? Am I going to spray milk in his face if my breasts are too engorged? Will it hurt? The list goes on. Here are a couple of tips to help you prepare before you get back at it.

  1. Lube. And lots of it. You hormones might still be having an effect on your ability to self-lubricate, which is completely normal. If you had a vaginal birth you have experienced a significant amount of trauma, and while you may have healed well up to this point, it will likely still be uncomfortable at the least. Personal lubricant will definitely help ease discomfort and make the act more enjoyable.
  2. Talk with your Partner. Discussing your fears about your first time back at it with your partner may help alleviate anxiety. Letting your partner know that you are afraid of it hurting or that you are worried about disappointing your partner by needing stop because of discomfort will only help your partner understand your point of view. This will also help your partner recognize your hesitation and encourage alleviating your concerns.
  3. Don’t have any Expectations. You may have envisioned a romantic night out with your spouse followed by a sensual massage and steamy make out session before hitting the sheets, but the less expectations you have, the better. You may feel apprehensive at first, or feel less secure about your body image. You might start and realize you aren’t quite ready or start and stop multiple times, and that’s ok! It might also be a great experience but don’t set yourself up to be disappointed if your first try back isn’t the scenario you imagined.
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What is most important is how you are feeling. Listen to what your body is telling you and communicate with you partner about your desires, feelings, or insecurities. Even if you get approval from your doctor, do what feels best for you.