Boob Tube episode 19 – Dealing with Fertility Challenges

2018-09-18T20:51:11+00:00September 18th, 2018|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , |

In this episode we talk about the challenges some moms have trying to get pregnant. Tobi talks about her own journey to motherhood and we hear from other moms and moms-to-be about their struggles with fertility. For more of the Boob Tube check out The Boob Tube at Fairhaven Health.

Episode 19 – Infertility and reasons you might not be getting pregnant

Posted by Belly to Breast: Fairhaven Health on Thursday, September 13, 2018

Sex and Breastfeeding – A New Level of Intimacy

2018-03-10T17:19:38+00:00March 10th, 2018|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , |

Loving our baby comes easy, the cute toes and irresistible baby smell win our hearts from the moment we meet. Caring for sweet our new little ones is a big job- so it’s lucky for them they are so cute. Sleepless nights, endless diaper changes, spit up covering every surface can leave you feeling like a milk soaked zombie –but a happy zombie that wouldn’t change a thing.

Sex might be the last thing you want to think about after a day of caring for your baby. The obvious reasons – exhaustion, insecurity with your body and living in sweatpants are only part of your lack of interest in being intimate with your partner.

A few common reasons for your lack of desire may be:

1. You may feel like your body isn’t yours anymore. Your baby finds comfort in your snuggles, food from your breasts and your nose detects if it’s time for a diaper change. The 24 hour a day nature of caring for our babies can leave us feeling like we sacrificed ourselves to motherhood and there is nothing left over for our partner. It feels good to tell someone “No, I don’t want to be touched.” Since you can’t say no to your baby’s hunger cues, reclaiming some control of your body may lead you to avoid physical contact with your partner.

2. Your breasts are painful. Breastfeeding means almost constant stimulation of your nipples and breast tissue. In the early days of breastfeeding, nipple pain is very common, reported by 80% of new moms. Usually the pain resolves by day 14, but your breasts may feel oversensitive for months. Some moms feel “touched out” and just want their breasts left alone when not feeding.

3. Your hormones are working against your libido. Prolactin has a positive effect on your milk supply, but the flip side is putting your sex drive in low gear. Maybe this is nature’s way of helping us space out our pregnancies, or conserving energy to care for our young. No matter what the reason, your lack of desire is normal while breastfeeding.

4. Unusual vaginal discharge. By 6 weeks post-partum, when intercourse can resume, bleeding and discharge from labor and delivery (lochia) may have tapered off or stopped – but may come back for 2 months or more. Breastfeeding also lowers your estrogen levels and can change the pH of your vagina, leading to odor.

5. Painful sex. Once you give birth, your estrogen and progesterone levels decrease dramatically. For some women this hormonal shift can cause in hormone levels can lead to atrophic vaginitis (thinning of the vagina walls) as well as soreness, itching and dryness. Along with these symptoms, you may not produce as much natural vaginal lubricant even when you get sexually excited, making sex even more uncomfortable.

6. Braless leaky breasts. You may worry about spraying your partner with your breast milk, and you might. If you reach orgasm, the same hormones are released as when your milk let-down. If you have a powerful let-down reflex when nursing or pumping, you may notice the same sensation and milk ejection during orgasm. If your partner wants to touch or suck on your breasts, he may accidentally, or intentionally, taste your breast milk.

With all the ways breastfeeding makes intimacy challenging, it can also be an exciting addition to your bedroom activities. Some partners find lactating breasts erotic. Your breasts may be larger and more sensitive; you and your partner might find new ways to enjoy your body together. Some partners are curious about the taste of breast milk and are excited by seeing milk ejection. But, you may see your breasts as purely functional, food makers for your baby and enjoying them sexually may be difficult for you.

Talk about your feelings and listen to your partner. If you are struggling to feel sexual desire, tell your partner what you need. Small gestures can make you feel cared for and reignite the attraction you felt for your partner before baby arrived. Could he take the baby for a walk while you nap? Watch the baby while you have dinner with girlfriends? The key to navigating the difficult waters of parenting is communication.

As your family grows it will only become more important to talk about tough issues like sensuality, parenting responsibilities, and time demands. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind. If your breasts and nipples are tender, tell him look but don’t touch. Or you might try gentle cupping, no squeezing or sucking. If vaginal dryness is making you uncomfortable, explore some fun lubricant options. Your partner wants to be close to you and this is the perfect time to deepen your connection as you listen without judgement and expect the same in return. If you spend the day focused on your baby, your partner may need intimate time with you to feel like he matters too. Intimacy can mean different things, talk to your partner about meeting his needs for closeness and connection; don’t expect to read his mind either!

Talk to your partner about what you need, and listen when your partner talks about his expectations and insecurities. Try not to judge your partner’s feelings but listen and try to meet them as generously as possible. As your family grows, communication becomes even more important. Discussing your changing sexual preferences deepens your connection with your partner and lays a foundation for a strong family for years to come.

Breastfeeding as Birth Control

2018-02-21T20:28:40+00:00February 21st, 2018|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , , , |

Throughout history, women have used breastfeeding as a natural contraceptive. Researchers have found evidence of Egyptian, Native Alaskan and early European populations recognizing the connection between breastfeeding and family planning. This method of birth control is known as the Lactational Amenorrhea Method or LAM.

The LAM method works because when you are breastfeeding, prolactin production is in high gear. The same hormone that tells our body to make milk, also keeps ovaries from releasing eggs. Without eggs available for fertilization, no pregnancy can occur. Studies show that LAM is 99% effective for short-term contraception as long as guidelines are followed.

The guidelines for the LAM method are simple to follow-

1. Watch for return of menses – For exclusively breastfeeding moms, you can expect to have a 6-12 month break from your monthly “lady’s days.” When your period returns, ovulation often comes too.

2. Exclusively breastfeed – Breastmilk provides all the food and fluid your baby needs to grow. There is no need to supplement with any additional foods until after 6 months or when your baby is ready to start eating complementary foods. Some babies aren’t ready until 7-8 months, watch your baby for signs they are interested in trying new foods.

3. Your baby is under 6 month of age – sleeping through the night 6+ hours and the introduction of complimentary foods usually happen around the 6 month milestone. Ovulation suppression is governed by how much milk you are making so the less milk your baby requires the lower prolactin level and ovulation restarts.

When all three of these conditions exist, you have has less than a two percent chance of becoming pregnant. Since no birth control method is 100% effective, LAM is as effective as condoms or oral contraceptives.

Scientific studies conducted around the world by the Institute for Reproductive Health and other organizations have proven that when guidelines are followed, LAM is an effective, safe, convenient short-term way for breastfeeding women to plan their pregnancies.