Touched Out? 5 Tips to Help You Reclaim Intimacy

touched-outI had long heard of moms who warned of feeling touched out after breastfeeding their newborn all day. But I didn’t experience it myself until I had my third baby.

Like his sisters, my son wanted to be held constantly as a newborn. Unlike his sisters, he was exclusively breastfed. He was also a snacker and wanted to cluster-feed frequently. By the end of the day, when I was finally alone, my husband wanted to spend some time with me. In my mind, I was craving that time, too. But the last thing I wanted was for anyone to touch me. I was touched-out. For a little while, this put a lot of strain on my relationship with my husband. In order to overcome this, I had to figure out exactly what was going on in my head.

Here are my top 5 tips to overcome the feeling of being touched-out and reclaiming intimacy with your partner:

Related: Let’s Talk About Postpartum Sex (Baby)

1) Communicate

Tell your partner you are feeling touched out. He needs to know — otherwise he will feel confused or angry. Eventually this misunderstanding may grow into resentment or worse. Be open with what’s going on to prevent it from creating major issues in your relationship that may be difficult to overcome later.

2) Encourage non-sexual touch

Part of the cause of feeling touched out is feeling that all you’ve done the entire day was give to others and not receive. It’s actually not about too much touching, as it is about too much giving. When your partner comes home and wants alone time, it feels like another person is wanting to take from you. Again, communication is really important here as you encourage him to give you nurturing, non-sexual touch. A back massage or foot rub can do a lot in helping you feel nurtured by your partner.

3) Self care before couple time

This goes along with the tip above — it’s important to find ways to give back to yourself so that you don’t always feel that you’re giving, giving and giving. Prioritize self-care. To reduce that touched out feeling, take a few minutes here and there throughout the day to do something just for yourself.  A couple of my favorite things to do include eating a chocolate bar without having to share with anyone else, or doing a home foot spa. Ahhhh….

4) Ask a breastfeeding specialist if concerned

Some babies just breastfeed very frequently and it’s perfectly normal, but sometimes seemingly constant breastfeeding is a sign that you need to talk to your breastfeeding specialist. It could be a sign of reflux, under or oversupply, food sensitivities, or other breastfeeding challenges that need to be addressed by a professional. And if that’s the case, your very frequent nurser may slow down a little and lessen your touched-out feeling.

5) Get a mother’s helper

If you’re feeling overwhelmed while your partner is at work or away, consider hiring a mother’s helper to care for older children or a housekeeper to cut down on the chores you need to try to fit in between nursings. The more balanced you feel earlier in the day, the less likely you’ll feel touched-out later in the day, and the more likely you’ll be in the mood to be touched by your partner when he comes home.

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