Solutions for Moms Who Feel Touched-Out

After 9 months of pregnancy, it’s a shining moment when you finally get to hold your baby and, naturally, you envision years of cozy cuddles and closeness.

But what if your body starts rebelling against touch?  

What if unsettled hormones, sleep deprivation, sore boobs and holding your baby non-stop has you wanting just a little bit of personal space?

Well, then you probably have a classic case of being all “touched-out.”

Touched-out syndrome isn’t a medical condition per se, but it’s certainly an emotional and physical one. During pregnancy, you realize your body is no longer your own, but once your baby is born, the feeling grows ten-fold; now you’re at the mercy of leaking breasts and round-the-clock feedings, and all the baby holding, sling wearing, co-sleeping can definitely reach a tipping point.

And then there’s your spouse…Oh, how you used to love his touch, but now the thought of his hugging and spooning makes you catatonic. And forget about sex. Your current fantasy is Netflix and a 5 foot no-touch zone.

There were days when I just felt like I should lie naked on the bed and tell my family, ‘Go ahead, take whatever you want.’ It felt like my body just wasn’t mine.
— Mom of baby and toddler

And you’re not alone.

No human can sustain constant touch without needing to re-group. And under no circumstances should you feel bad, guilty, or embarrassed. What you’re experiencing is completely normal, and this stage, like all stages, shall pass. At some point, your boobs become your own again, and you survive the touched-out toddler years, and then you realize you can’t even get your kid to walk next to you, let alone snuggle.

So, if you start feeling touched-out, here are some solutions: 

Communicate. Tell your partner what’s going on. Communication will help reduce stress, and prevents him from blaming himself. Let him know it’s a natural response to being “on” all day with your little one. If he’s been gone all day at work and you’ve been home with the baby and having a hard time, give him a heads up so he knows what to expect before he walks in the door. Communication helps you work as a team to resolve how you’re feeling and create space to calm your mind and body. 

Recharge. You need to de-stress. While your spouse is with the baby, take a soothing shower or bath; find a quiet space in the house where you can be alone (just you and your personal space!) and listen to calming music (wear headphones, if needed); put in earplugs and take a nap. Just having some quiet time alone is a big help. It’s all about getting much needed physical space so your body can relax.

Get out. Go for a walk, or meet a friend for coffee. Grab something to eat or drink and go for a drive or head to the gym or a yoga class to clear your head. Is there a friend or family member who can help out with baby so you get a window of time to yourself during the day?

Usually, just being aware of how you’re feeling, keeping communication open with your partner, and taking the smallest of steps can go a long way in getting through this touchy, temporary stage.