Intimacy after having a baby and integrating it back into everyday life.

  • Ergobaby
  • Feb 13, 2024

The topic of sex after birth remains a turbulent one. After all, everything suddenly revolves around your new baby. And yet, your own needs and your relationship should not be neglected. You can be rest assured, you are not alone with this topic. Intimacy after having a baby is something that comes up for most couples. Dutch sexologist and anthropologist Mandy Ronda confirms this. Time and again she receives questions like: “Since we had a baby, it’s really impossible to have sex spontaneously. We sometimes hear about putting sex on the agenda. But how can we schedule it?”

Read more about what the “sex expert” advises….

Mandy Ronda, sexologist and anthropologist:

“The fact is, your couple relationship changes after the birth of your baby. And it’s the same with your sexual relationship. A first step would therefore be to accept that sex or the desire for sex no longer arises spontaneously. So don’t compare your sex life after the birth with the time before the birth. Because now a whole new era begins… at least temporarily. Don’t forget: everything is just a phase. It won’t always look the way it does now. It’s perfectly normal for intimacy to look different at this stage of your relationship, both in frequency and in behavior.

And please, don’t compare your sex life to anyone else’s either. Because even if midwives insist on the importance of contraception after birth (which is different for every woman), that doesn’t mean that you can expect sex to be on everyone’s agenda again soon. Because the question rightly arises: Where do other people find the time and energy between sleeping, feeding, changing and washing? So now you have only two options: Either you accept for a moment that there is temporarily less space for spontaneous sex, or you both do your best to create that space.

How can you create space for intimacy after having a baby?

“But how?” you may be asking. In fact, some sexologists advise putting sex literally on the agenda. Because before you know it, weeks or months have passed. This isn’t entirely far-fetched, because we have busy lives with babies and the threshold for intimacy can get higher the more time that passes.

However, I’m not in favour of it because you cannot schedule sex drive. After all, it doesn’t come out of the blue. It requires sexual stimuli and sensitivity to these sexual stimuli. For example, if sex is scheduled for Saturday because your baby is with the babysitter (if you’re at all comfortable with that, because just like sex, it’s also very quickly expected of parents in our society) or because the baby is asleep, then it may well be that you’re not at all receptive to sexual stimuli in that precise moment. For example, because you had a sleepless night as your little one’s teeth are breaking through. Then you might prefer to use this blocked time to SLEEP. And that is perfectly natural. After all, you are mum and dad for a reason. It’s a 24/7 job and it takes energy!

Why intimacy doesn’t have to mean sex

That’s why I recommend putting intimacy after having a baby on the agenda rather figuratively. Simply to make sure you don’t forget each other as romantic life partners. Stay aware of each other’s love language and keep talking about your needs in terms of intimacy and sexuality. What do you really need when it comes to intimacy at this stage of your relationship? Is it time for togetherness or maybe more? Can it be compliments or affection that shows you know how your partner is doing in this new phase as mum or dad? For example, having your partner bring your baby into the living room after a restless night so you can sleep in, or taking the little one for a walk so you can have the house to yourself for a while.

a person smelling roses from her partner as an example of sharing intimacy after having a baby
Photo by Viktoria  Slowikowska

These are all thoughtful gestures that give you some breathing space and relaxation and make you feel seen and appreciated. But that may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘intimacy’.

Why it’s important not to lose sight of you as a couple

Perhaps this is not enough for most people. You want more activities together, sexual activities, if possible. It may be that you will also get the impulse to go “away” for a weekend. After all, “you must not lose sight of each other as a couple”. But maybe you don’t feel the need to be “away” from your baby? You don’t have to, because that often creates extra pressure to make the most of the weekend. Chances are you’ll spend most of the time sleeping and looking at pictures of your baby together.

Photo by Laura Garcia

And yes, it is important to continue to see your partner as a partner and not just a co-parent. A recent analysis by Statistics Netherlands shows that although the number of divorces has been decreasing for seven years, the proportion of parents who separate in the years after their child is born is still increasing. More than 16 percent of unmarried cohabiting couples have separated before their child is six years old. So be sure to invest time and energy in your relationship!

If you are in danger of losing sight of each other, or struggling with intimacy after having a baby seek advice. You don’t have to wait until things aren’t going well. There is a lot to be said for talking to a relationship therapist or sex therapist early on about how to manage your new life together as parents, including your sex life. After all, there is no standard. Every couple chooses their own parenting style, so the space you have as a couple will be different from that of your neighbours.

Bottom line: it’s perfectly normal in the early stages of parenthood to focus only on your little miracle and not on spontaneous sex sessions. And that’s a good thing. Because this helpless creature desperately needs you to survive. So this is cleverly arranged by nature!

Just see if you can find some space for you as a couple in the morning/afternoon/evening. Not for sex (no pressure), but for intimacy in the broadest sense. And maybe out of this relaxed togetherness a sexual conversation will spontaneously arise that makes you want more …”

Are you curious about more from Mandy Ronda? Then follow her on Instagram @mandyronda or take a look at