Background:Although postpartum sexual problems are common, the impact of the infant
feeding method on sexual life is still unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate
the effects of different infant feeding methods and other influencing factors on female
sexual life 3 months postpartum. Materials and Methods:Three hundred women from three
obstetrical institutes were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. An online questionnaire
was administered 3 months postpartum. Women were categorized into three groups: exclusive
breastfeeding (n = 180), mixed feeding (n = 75), and formula-feeding (n = 45) groups.
The infant feeding method was assessed by self-constructed questions. Sexual dysfunctions
were evaluated by the Hungarian version of the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI).
Results:Of the women, 50.55% reported sexual dysfunction in the exclusive breastfeeding
group, 42.66% in the mixed feeding group, and 31.11% in the formula-feeding group.
Lack of sexual desire was the most prevalent dysfunction regardless of the infant
feeding method. Significantly lower median scores were found in the exclusive breastfeeding
group compared with the formula-feeding group for the total FSFI score (p = 0.002),
arousal (p = 0.034), lubrication (p = 0.020), orgasm (p = 0.015), and pain (p = 0.021)
subgroups. Breastfeeding (p = 0.032) and the quality of prepregnancy sexual life (p
< 0.001) were significant factors, whereas prepregnancy dyspareunia, parity, age,
income, and educational level did not predict women's postpartum sexual function.
Conclusions:Our findings indicate that exclusive breastfeeding women have an increased
likelihood of sexual problems 3 months postpartum. Extensive and professional counseling
is needed for couples about postpartum sexuality and influencing factors such as breastfeeding
to maintain sexual health and promote long-term breastfeeding.