Irregular Periods while Breastfeeding

Experiencing irregular periods while breastfeeding is quite common.

The stimulation of a baby at the breast, causes the body to give off hormones that aid in milk production and suppress menstruation.

Lactation suppresses the menstrual cycle, this process is called Lactational Amenorrhea.


Bleeding or Spotting during Breastfeeding

It is very common to experience a bit of bleeding after the birth of a baby, which is sometimes mistaken for a menstrual cycle. If your baby is fed formula, then your menstrual cycle should return during the first month or two after birth.

There are cases, in which breastfeeding mothers have gone up to a year or two without their cycle returning. Sometimes their first period after breastfeeding only occurs when the baby has been completely weaned.

Irregular periods while breastfeeding, are normal whilst the mother is breastfeeding; skipping a month or two is normal. Sometimes there might be menstrual symptoms without bleeding, which is an indication that your menstrual cycle is returning and it would be a good idea to use precautions, if you are not intending on falling pregnant soon.


How do Menstrual Cycles affect Breastfeeding?

  • When menstruation occurs, there could be a slight decrease in milk production and increase in nipple tenderness just before a menstrual cycle starts, which is due to a fluctuation in hormones.
  • The baby might drink more or less during these times, because the mother’s milk might taste a little different.
  • The mother might experience unusual uterine cramps during her period.


Fertility during Breastfeeding

It is quite possible to fall pregnant if you are breastfeeding. There have been rare cases, in which some mothers have become pregnant before their period has returned.

If you are experiencing severe menstrual symptoms, here are a few suggestions:

You could use a combination of 1500mg calcium and 400mg magnesium, taken together. This will keep your milk supply up, regulate your period, help for sore nipples and prevent cramps.

Evening primrose can help to prevent sore nipples during a period.  

There are instances in which a mother was breastfeeding, with no period occurring for nine months with her first baby, but with her next baby, her cycle returned after only 11 weeks. 


Ways to Delay a Period while Breastfeeding

  • Regular breastfeeding, at least every four hours during the day and every six hours at night.
  • Breastfeeding on demand, this is when the other allows her baby to breastfeed, whenever he/she wants to. (Newborn babies, need to be fed at least every two hours)
  • Breastfeeding at night is especially important, because these long periods of time without stimulation, is when the body will tend to regress back to the old cycle.
  • Allow for comfort feeding, the extra stimulation will suppress the menstrual cycle as well.


Things that Cause your Menstrual Cycle to Return

  • Using a bottle, and feeding your baby solid food before six months. If your baby is drinking other fluids, this will also cause your cycle to return earlier.
  • If your baby is using a pacifier instead of comfort feeding.
  • If mum and baby sleep through at night without nursing.
  • And if the mother starts using certain medications or the pill.

Read more about fertility while breastfeeding. 

Read more about natural family planning

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