For most parents, this is an intensive time when they fall in love with their baby. There is so much tenderness and intimacy associated with baby that sex may well be postponed for a while. However, any lacking libido, or sex drive, usually returns. Just be patient and keep the closeness between you alive. See the tips in the article below.
A love affair with the newborn baby and intimacy
The new aspects of being a family and of being close may be a thrill in themselves. Little gestures of love and support, such as giving each other an encouraging hug if the night was draining may be more important than anything else right now.
This is a transitional period, and neither of you need to worry too much. Your child won't be a tiny baby waking you at night for ever. If sex doesn't seem important right now, then shared closeness is still important to preserve. So, take good care of each other. Talk. Hug. If you keep up this kind of intimacy, the sexual desire will return.
New dads, partners and sex
The husband or partner's libido after the birth of a baby is less talked about perhaps. But the other person who just became a parent needs time to process all the new feelings and impressions and to bond with and get to know their baby. Life changes, and not much is like it was before baby arrived.
Having a baby is a huge event and the roles in your relationship may be new and different now. Lack of sleep, constant tending to the new little member of the family and all the new routines to establish are maybe not the best basis for sexual desire as a couple. New fathers and partners may not want to have sex and this has to be accepted. Give everyone time to settle.
New mums and sex
New mums may not be interested in sex either, which is natural too. Here it's just as much about what the body just had to cope with during the birth and now, during all the breastfeeding, not to mention the amazing and overwhelming fact of having a baby to care for. The body takes time to recover after giving birth, and there may be tears or wounds to heal too.
For the first few months after giving birth, a woman's body is awash with hormones that affect her sex drive. After about six months, hormonal levels decrease to the normal level, but there's also a little new member of the family who will at times 'steal' sleep and time. Discuss things with each other and try to be open about your needs and wants.
Further reading: Sex after pregnancy – the female body giving you practical advice.
A child means adapting
Sex drive is also affected by tiredness. And was there ever anyone more tired than a couple who just had a baby? As you settle into your new roles, and concentrate on meeting your baby's needs, there may not be much time left over for thinking about each other. The new little person in your lives takes up lots of time and energy, and that's how it's meant to be initially. If you miss being sexually intimate, try to work out what you can do to make more time for each other and rekindle the passion.
13 tips for getting intimacy and your sex life back on track after pregnancy
• Hug and embrace each other and lie close without making any demands for anything other than this closeness. Give it time and don't rush things. Sometimes, the body comes alive again given calm and quiet. If there's no arousal or only a little twinge, perhaps the time's not right yet, but you have still rested a while in each other's embrace. Perhaps the two of you fell asleep, close and connected.
• Come up with fun things together. Take the time to do the things you shared before you had a baby.
• If one of you is keener than the other, then talk about what sex and making love mean and involve for each of you. Some of the longing and the needs in a relationship can be fulfilled in many ways.
• It's also no disaster if one of you is turned on, but not the other. It's not uncommon, and most couples manage to deal with it. Great sexual intimacy happens when both of you are keen.
• Show each other appreciation, give each other compliments, attention or a nice surprise now and again. Every one of us needs to see, hear and feel that we're wanted.
• Remind each other why you got together in the first place.
• Share the ordinary homely chores fairly, so both of you are happy with the division of labour on the homefront.
• If you don't really want to make love, it's important to give each other lots of hugs and other intimacy. Stroking his cheek, putting your arm around her shoulder, loving eye contact, a great conversation…
• Talk things through. Not only about sex, but everything in your lives that is unfamiliar, thrilling, different, inspiring. Talk about your baby and all the amazement and pride, but you should also talk about the things that you were interested in and talked about before.
• If you are in a negative spiral and only complaining to each other about how tired and drained you each are, then decide to listen to each other and then come up with some solutions together.
• It's natural to complain at times when things are tough, but you can make a rule that for every moan, you also have to say something positive, as a way of breaking a negative trend. There are upsides and downsides to most things in life.
• Find someone to babysit every once in a while if you need time together. This may boost your energy and drive for when you get back to normal.
• It is common for the vagina in breastfeeding women to be drier and more tender than usual. This is caused by hormones, and soon gets back to normal when breastfeeding comes to an end. If having sex is a problem, and a lubricant doesn't help, seek the advice of a health professional on what can be done. Pharmacies sell oestrogen creams over the counter that are useful while breastfeeding.