Psychological and sexual changes after the cessation of breast-feeding

Catherine Forster, Suzanne Abraham, Alan Taylor, Derek Llewellyn-Jones

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    17 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective: To characterize the effect of breast-feeding cessation on the mood and sexuality of women after the birth of their first child. Methods: Women in good physical and psychological health, who had been breast-feeding for 6–23 months and had responded to a request for subjects in a parents’ magazine, collected data daily for 2 months before and 2 months after weaning. They were asked to rate 14 measures of psychological, physical, and sexual variables at the same time each day on 3- or 5-point scales. Results: Nineteen women completed the study. Five of these subjects became pregnant before weaning and ceased breast-feeding when pregnancy was confirmed; their last menstrual period was 6 weeks before weaning. The nonpregnant women weaned their babies just before or during menstruation. After weaning, the nonpregnant women reported a significant decrease in fatigue, improvement in mood, and an increase in sexual activity, sexual feelings, and frequency of coitus. Significant changes in fatigue and mood occurred during the second week after weaning; in fatigue, sexual activity, and sexual intercourse during the third week; and in the frequency of sexual intercourse in the fourth week. The results were not caused by the subjects’ expectations about breast-feeding and sexuality or perineal comfort. The women who conceived did not show these changes; a gradual increase in fatigue and decline in sexuality was observed. Conclusion: In women who are not pregnant, the cessation of breast-feeding is associated with an improvement in mood, fatigue, and sexuality.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)872-876
    Number of pages5
    JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
    Volume84
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1994

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