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All Touched Out–The 4th Trimester

In the early weeks after your baby is born, you may feel like you never get five minutes alone.  Or even just five minutes without someone touching you.  If this isn’t your first child, you may feel this even more than you did the last time.

With the LM, I remember thinking I would never get to use my left arm again (her preferred resting place, leaving me to type one handed).  This time around, as I am breastfeeding on demand, and the baby girl (also known as the breastfed girl–BG) only sleeps well when co-sleeping in my arm.  On top of that, the LM has decided that coming into our bed every night between 3 and 6am is a great idea, and curls up in the circle of my other arm.  And I have a husband who wants, and deserves to be touched (even if I’m not cleared for sex yet).

Readers, I have never wanted to touch or be touched less than I do right now.

My husband’s response to that, for the record, was “speak for yourself, woman.”

It is absolutely normal for there to be a mismatch of desire in these early baby days, with the primary caregiver feeling over-touched and the other partner feeling under-touched.  You are at a stage in the relationship where you are balancing for the first time, or re-balancing your relationship with each other and your newly expanded family.

Suggestions

Even if you are breastfeeding, there is a 90 minute to 3 hour gap between start of feed and start of feed.  In that period, someone else can hold the baby so you can go shower/watch an episode of your favorite show/sleep by yourself/ write a blog post/ fill in the blank.  Consider encouraging  your partner to be this person.  Or a friend, or a family member, or hire a “mother’s helper” for $10 an hour to hold the baby while you get some alone time.  If money is tight, consider finding another mom and trading off with her.

Distinguish between touches where you are the caregiver and when you are receiving care.  Ask your partner (if you need it…I certainly do) to make his/her/their touches on your body to be about caregiving.  That they are making you feel better when you touch, rather than asking things of you (such as an orgasm).  From personal experience, I can testify that I’m far more open to satisfying a partner’s needs once mine have been attended to (and I’m not just talking orgasm…back rubs/scratches are my personal touch request).

Don’t let resentment build…be open with your partner(s) about what you’re feeling and try to find the solution that works for your family.

 

If all else fails, this stage will likely only last until about 13 weeks when your baby starts sleeping longer stretches, colic tends to fade, and in general life seems to get a bit easier.

 

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