Breastfeeding and Menstruation


Your Period while Breastfeeding

Return of menstruation while breastfeeding

Many mothers think that if they are breastfeeding exclusively, their periods will not return. But the truth is that many mothers will soon start to menstruate - sometimes as early as a few weeks after birth.

Each woman is different and has varying levels of hormones. The period in which lactation suppresses your menstruation and fertility is called lactational amenorrhea.

Mothers may even find that with each pregnancy, they start menstruating at different times.

“I breastfed my son for nine months before my period started, but this time around my baby is only 11 weeks old and my period has started" by Tammy (Canada) 


Delaying Menstruation

breastfeeding and period, lactational amenorrhea

Can you keep your period away longer while breastfeeding?

  • Breastfeed your baby on demand. The more you breastfeed, the longer your period should stay away. Nurse at least six times per day.
  • Breastfeed your baby at night, too. The main reason why most mothers will start their periods early is that they stop nursing at night. Nurse at least once at night.
  • Start your baby on solid foods only after six months.
  • Avoid the use of artificial nipples and pacifiers.
  • Allow comfort nursing. Babywearing can also help.


Breastfeeding and Menstruation

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What's Normal?

baby in a sling, wearing baby, baby wearer


What’s a normal period during breastfeeding?

Menstruation during breastfeeding can be very unpredictable.

  • Most mothers experience some postpartum bleeding after birth, but this is not a mother's period.
  • Mothers who bottle feed their babies will usually start their periods within a month or two after giving birth.
  • Mothers who breastfeed may go without their period for weeks, months and even years while breastfeeding.
  • Some mothers may have no period while breastfeeding, and only start having their periods again after they have weaned their babies completely.
  • A mother may have irregular periods while breastfeeding and may skip some months. A missed period while breastfeeding is normal.
  • Moms may have premenstrual symptoms without any bleeding; this may be an indication that your period will be returning soon. It's best to start taking precautions at this stage if you do not want to fall pregnant.
  • Lactating mothers may notice some spotting
  • A mother may find that her milk supply drops a little, just before a period starts; this is due to hormonal fluctuations.
  • Some extra nipple tenderness is very common in breastfeeding mothers during a period, and this is also due to hormonal changes.
  • Some babies may drink more or less during a period, as milk might taste a little different.
  • Mom may experience some uterine cramping during a period.


Breastfeeding and Menstruation


Getting Pregnant while Breastfeeding

Can you fall pregnant while breastfeeding, if your period has returned?

Yes, you should consider yourself fertile once your period has returned. It is also possible to become pregnant before your period returns, but this is a rare occurrence.


Breastfeeding and Menstruation

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Coping with Period Pains

Symptoms during breastfeeding and menstruation

  • A combination supplement of 1500 calcium/400 magnesium per day (always taken together, never separately); this will regulate your periods, prevent nipple tenderness, keep milk supply up and also prevent uterine cramping.
  • Evening primrose (1 per day) can be taken to relieve nipple tenderness.


One Mom's Personal Experience




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Featured Comments

Help, irregular periods and breastfeeding!

Hello, my baby is almost 15 months old, and we are still breastfeeding.

My period has been coming pretty regularly since my daughter turned about 5/6 months old, but they were always late.

Last month I had a normal period, but this month I haven't started at all? I am worried about pregnancy because I don't want another baby this soon.

My husband and I do use protection when we "get" to have sex. Is it normal to be this late during breastfeeding?

My daughter still breastfeeds on demand, but she, of course, eats solid foods too. She also nurses throughout the night since she sleeps with me, she nurses most of the night."

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Re: Help, irregular periods and breastfeeding!

by: Tracy

"Hi!

Yes, it is normal during breastfeeding to have irregular periods.

Your hormones are always changing, according to the time your child spends on the breast. The more you breastfeed, the less likely you are to get a period. But this is not the case with everyone, we all have different hormone levels; a mother may have regular periods, even if she skips feeds regularly, or combination feeds."

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Irregular Periods.

by Karen LaRose

(Georgetown)

"My last period was 25th, November, however around December, 18, last I began having premenstrual symptoms, but I am still waiting for a period.

In addition to waiting in expectation, I am experiencing at times severe cramping in my right side, but this usually lasts for a few minutes and would subside, its also irregular, sometimes a day or two would pass and no cramps at all.

I refused to take a home pregnancy test because I keep getting premenstrual symptoms and believe my period would come at any moment. Both before and after my son was born, I have experienced irregular periods, but once I began to get cramps, it would usually come shortly.

I am concerned about this because I don't know if its normal what I am experiencing, because I am still breastfeeding my 28-month-old."

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Re: Irregular Periods.

by: Tracy

"Hi Karen, Any irregularity is normal during breastfeeding, the pains that you are experiencing could be hormone related.

I am breastfeeding my 18-month-old and still skip months in which I also experience some cramps, but no bleeding.

If the pain is severe, it’s best to see your doctor. Those pains can also be an early sign of pregnancy.

Hope this helps."

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