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Feeding your baby can have a huge impact on your sex life – in a whole load of different ways. Here are the facts to wheel out on your next mum night out.

1. Breastfeeding can affect your sex drive

When you’re breastfeeding, your sex drive can take a double hit. This is thanks to falling oestrogen levels making you feel dryer than usual and lowered progesterone lowering your libido (NHS Choices, 2015). All of which means your sex life may not be top of its game.

Oxytocin is released when you’re breastfeeding as well as when you have an orgasm, meaning that you may not feel the same need for sex (Coventry 2009). Instead you’re getting your affection hit from that epic 3am night feed.

Give your libido a chance though, it may go up and down. We know. Confusing.

2. Breastfeeding can be sexually fulfilling

When breastfeeding, the body releases oxytocin that relaxes you and contracts the uterus. For many, the contractions create pleasurable sensations and for some, sexual arousal. And for a small proportion this leads to orgasm (Yurtsal & Uslu, 2023).

You may find that breastfeeding fufils your need for affection and reduces your need for sex, which can be a source of frustration for your partner. 

3. You may release milk during sex

Yep. Wait for everyone to start going ‘Actually…’ with their own confessions when you tell them this one because it’s very common. The milk spurts out because you release oxytocin when you orgasm and when you breastfeed, hence the confusion (Polomeno, 1999).  

If it bothers you, feed your baby before you have sex so that your breasts aren’t so full. You could also wear pads inside a bra.  

4. Your breasts may be out of bounds for a while

Since you started breastfeeding, you may find that your breasts no longer give you as much sexual pleasure (Riordan, 2005). Or your nipples are too painful to enjoy much contact. That’s totally normal but make sure your partner gets the message.

Once your partner knows things are a little different, you could try some other things to help bring your breasts back into the action. You could try light stroking using the back or palm of the hands. Gently lifting or swaying breasts and licking nipples has worked for a lot of breastfeeding women.

5. If your nipples are stimulated, the inevitable will likely happen

Yep, if your partner sucks on your nipples you may release milk. This might take them a tiny bit by surprise.

Unlike the milk of other mammals like cows, human milk tastes sweet because of its natural milk sugar content. If you and your partner enjoy it, incorporating breast milk into sex is completely natural (Polomeno, 1999; Coventry and Spatz, 2009)

This page was last reviewed in April 2018

Further information

Our support line offers practical and emotional support in many areas of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood: 0300 330 0700.

You might find attending one of our NCT New Baby groups helpful as they give you the opportunity to explore different approaches to important parenting issues with a qualified group leader and other new parents in your area.

Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.

To find out more about breastfeeding, check out NCT’s information on it here.

Yurtsal, Z.B., Uslu, D. (2023). Sexual Aspects of Breastfeeding and Lactation. In: Geuens, S., Polona Mivšek, A., Gianotten, W. (eds) Midwifery and Sexuality. Springer, Cham.

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