It’s that time of year again. Valentine’s Day. And after having a baby, many couples put their relationship on the back burner, and focus mainly on being “mom” and “dad”. So if you are planning night out with your significant other, or just having a quiet dinner with them after the kids head to bed this Valentine’s Day, here are a few tips to help it be more fun and less stressful:
Make the time!
Even if it’s a quick back massage for your partner, or a quick cup of coffee at the local coffee house, taking the time to do something special can make all the difference. Sure, a night out in a limo with champagne, dinner at a five star restaurant, and dancing sounds great, but it isn’t realistic for most parents. Doesn’t a nice back massage sound wonderful, or knowing that your special someone went out of their way to do something they weren’t “expected” to do?
Focus on each other.
If you do get the chance to get away, try and talk about other things than just the kids. You have every day to do that.
If you are leaving your baby, plan ahead – Have some expressed milk on hand for the baby while you’re away, or plan to be out for a short time so you can be back home before the next feeding.
Go ahead, have a glass of wine. You might be wondering, “can I do that, I am a breastfeeding mother?” Yes! You can. In general, if you are sober enough to drive, you are sober enough to breastfeed.
Let’s talk about sex.
Now the big question we are all thinking and are embarrassed to ask…What about SEX? Sex can be a hot button issue for many couples. Moms are waking during the night to breastfeed, so most of us are sleep deprived. Many of us fall asleep breastfeeding, and wake up breastfeeding. So when our partner comes “looking” we feel a bit “touched out”. We need to remember the importance of our relationship with each other as much as our relationship with our babies. Nursing lowers your estrogen levels and this decrease can cause vaginal dryness. Having lubrication handy will make it a more enjoyable experience.
You might be wondering, what if my breasts leak during sex? Try wearing a nursing bra during sex for the first few months. A woman’s milk letdown reflex is a result of increases in oxytocin, the hormone associated with warm, loving thoughts. In other words, leaking milk during sexual activities is a good sign that you’re enjoying yourself.
If you are not quite ready to have sex, be honest with your partner. When is the last time you sat on the couch and held hands with your partner while watching a movie? Even that little bit of closeness can re-connect you with your partner.
So, go ahead and make those plans…head out to dinner, make your partner a special dinner or just sit and watch TV and be a couple.
And Happy Valentine’s Day from the BRC!
Contributed by Louisa Brandenburger, IBCLC for the Breastfeeding Resource Center