Does Having Sex Increase Milk Supply?

The stress of new parenthood can take its toll on many moms. Late-night feedings, decoding baby cries and recovery from childbirth can drain your energy.

Most new mothers experience a dip in their libido after having a baby. This is completely normal. However, breastfeeding also reduces the production of estrogen and progesterone which are the hormones that boost libido.

Stress Reduction

Many new mothers are tired after a long pregnancy and intense breastfeeding period. Practicing stress reduction techniques can help, and getting a good night’s sleep is important too. But what’s the best way to get a good night’s rest? For some, sex is the answer. Having sex postpartum stimulates certain hormones, like oxytocin and cortisol, that promote relaxation and decrease the stress hormones like prolactin, which can lower milk production.

As Women’s Health explains, it’s normal for lactating moms to leak milk during sexual activity or even when they’re just being intimate with their partners. This is because of the pesky hormone oxytocin, which is responsible for both sexual arousal and milk “letdown.” If you’re concerned about leaking, you can try feeding your baby before lovemaking or putting direct pressure on your nipples to stop milk flow during orgasm.

It’s also important to remember that pain from sore nipples, breast engorgement, plugged milk ducts, mastitis or thrush may make the idea of sex unappetizing. If you are struggling with these issues, talk to a doctor or lactation consultant for help. You can also try wearing a supportive nursing bra or using sexual positions that don’t put pressure on your breasts during intimacy. In addition, be sure to use lots of lube, as breastfeeding can reduce your natural estrogen levels, which may lead to vaginal dryness and discomfort.

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Sleep

The arrival of a baby can shake things up – including sleep, eating habits and body image. It can also affect sex, particularly when breastfeeding, but that doesn’t have to mean it’s the end of lovemaking.

The hormones that help support lactation can also lower libido, so breastfeeding moms may not feel the same desire to get down as they did before their babies came along. This can be a result of hormones dropping, as well as the fact that they’re tired and on sensory overload from all the new tasks they have to take on.

It’s not uncommon for breastfeeding mothers to experience leaking milk during sex. This is due to the release of oxytocin which causes a milk “letdown.” The good news is, it doesn’t have to be an obstacle to lovemaking. Using a personal lubricant, avoiding overly full breasts and expressing or nursing before lovemaking can reduce the chance of leaking milk.

Many women find breast and nipple play to be erotic, so don’t let this be an excuse to not get down. In addition, a little bit of lactation during sex can actually increase your milk supply as it stimulates blood flow and encourages the production of more prolactin. This can help to boost both long- and short-term milk supply. Just be sure to communicate clearly with your partner about your expectations and boundaries and to always use good hygiene.

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Mood

When breastfeeding, the high levels of prolactin caused by frequent feeds cause your body to suppress ovulation and encourage longer-term milk production. As a result, your libido can take a hit due to falling oestrogen levels and the lowering of progesterone. Luckily, breastfeeding also promotes secretion of oxytocin, the ‘love hormone’ which causes your cells to contract and duct passages to widen. Oxytocin is also released during orgasm, and it’s not unusual for breastfeeding women to leak or squirt milk in response to the physical stimulation of their breasts or nipples during an orgasm.

Getting back to sexual activity postpartum can be a mix of emotions. Whether you’re excited or nervous, it’s important to be open about your expectations and goals with your partner. This can help reduce tension, prevent misunderstandings and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Although breastfeeding can decrease a woman’s libido, resuming sexual activity after your body has recovered can increase the oxytocin that is naturally released, as well as the other hormones involved in orgasm and lactation. Using lots of lube, touching the nipples and exploring different positions can all contribute to feelings of pleasure, arousal and intimacy.

Physical Activity

Many new moms worry that exercise will decrease their milk supply, especially if they’re already struggling with low production. But it’s important to remember that, throughout history and in most cultures, women with babies have always worked (as well as slept), and most people don’t suffer from low milk supplies unless they have been deprived of sleep for extended periods of time.

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Sexual activity that involves physical touch or oral stimulation of the breasts can trigger lactation, as oxytocin is released both when you orgasm and when you breastfeed. You may also experience leaking or spraying during sexual activity due to the letdown reflex, which is similar to the one that triggers milk “come in.” This is usually not a big deal but can be embarrassing if you’re not prepared for it. To avoid leaks, you can express milk or breastfeed right before sexual activity or place nursing pads inside a sexy nursing bra.

If you’re interested in experimenting with lactation during sex, talk to your partner about it and find a position that both of you are comfortable with. It’s also important to use lots of lube and make sure both of you are feeling pleasurable. If you’re not having much pleasure, try different positions and techniques or nipple clamps to stimulate milk flow and enhance sensations.

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