Do You Get Periods While Breastfeeding?


Can you get your period while breastfeeding? The answer to this question is not as straightforward as it seems. A mother’s menstrual cycle can be delayed for many reasons, including breastfeeding. Many women do experience a return of their periods while breastfeeding, but it does not happen for all.

You can get your period while breastfeeding. There is no exact science behind when you will get your period again after having a baby. If you exclusively breastfeed, you may not have periods for six months or longer, but it varies from woman to woman.

In this article, we will discuss the various factors that might cause a woman to delay her period from returning and how periods can affect your breastfeeding journey.

Can you get your period while breastfeeding?

You can get your period while breastfeeding, and you may experience spotting and irregular periods as well. Unfortunately, it is quite common to have an irregular menstural cycle while breastfeeding your baby.

Prolactin and oxytocin are the two hormones responsible for signaling your body to produce milk. When prolactin is made in the body, it prevents the production of other hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. This is what causes your menstrual cycle to stop for some time while you are breastfeeding. 

Every woman gets their first period after delivery at different times. The average time for your first period after delivering the baby is usually six months, which is around the time many families are introducing their babies to solid foods.

Why did my period return while breastfeeding?

A mother’s hormones beginning to return to their prepregnancy levels are usually the reason her period returns. for the most part, reduced levels of the milk-producing hormones will signal the body to return to its regular scheduled programming, and start having regular menstrual cycles again.

You may find that your first postpartum period may actually be a non-ovulatory period – where you have not ovulated, but your uterus is shedding its lining anyway. It is quite common for irregular bleeding like this to go on for many months as your body is settling.

Can I conceive while breastfeeding?

While there is no specific timeframe after pregnancy for your first real period to show up, you can expect your periods to return any time after birth, and as such, your fertility can be affected. You can get pregnant even before your periods start again.

Your obstetrician can provide medical advice specific to you, depending on whether you are exclusively breastfeeding, what your regular menstrual cycle looks like, and how your body has recovered after birth. It is generally recommended that you do not have sex for at least six weeks after giving birth, and your doctor or obstetrician will usually provide contraceptive advice at your first postnatal appointment.

Do Periods Affect Breastfeeding?

When your period starts after delivery, there is no harm in breastfeeding your baby at all. It is perfectly safe to breastfeed your child. Your breast milk will still be nutritious and healthy for your baby.

If you get your period while breastfeeding, hormonal changes that affect your breastmilk and your baby’s feeding pattern. You may also notice nipple tenderness, a difference in breast milk taste, and a decrease in breastmilk supply for a few days.

Sometimes, breast milk supply and taste change during the ovulation period. Usually, there is an increase in sodium and chloride level in breastmilk and a decrease in lactose and potassium level. The breast milk may become less sweet and somewhat salty at this time.

During the ovulation period or the start of your period, there are some changes in estrogen and progesterone level affecting the breast milk. If the estrogen and progesterone level increases, it will make your breasts feel tender and fuller. It may also affect your milk supply.

Breastfeeding mothers do not have very regular cycles compared to women who are not breastfeeding, so if it has been longer than usual since the start of your last period, do not be too concerned. Your body may just need a little more time to readjust after giving birth and while nursing your baby.

Generally, while your baby may be a little fussier during this time, they’ll get back on track soon. If you find that baby’s fussiness is affecting your milk supply, speak with a lactation consultant. You may need to pump to maintain your supply until baby begins nursing regularly again.

Do I need to wean my baby if the taste of my breast milk changes during periods?

No, a change in breast milk taste during your period does not mean you need to stop breastfeeding your baby. Human milk is the best source of nutrition for newborn babies.

It’s possible that your baby will return to his or her normal eating habits in a few days. If you do notice a change in your baby’s breast milk intake, speak with an IBCLC or lactation consultant. You may need to pump regularly until your baby is nursing comfortably again.

How You Can Delay Your Period

Women who breastfeed their baby have a more extended period of amenorrhea (the time before their period returns after birth) than people who do not breastfeed.

Breastfeeding may delay your period for a few months to a year. The duration of delay usually depends on your body type and how long you breastfeed your baby. However, there are several factors to take into consideration that affect your period cycle. Let us look at those factors.

#1. When your baby sleeps more than three hours during the daytime and six hours at night

Many times you may not breastfeed your baby while he or she is sleeping. This may reduce breast milk production and cause your period to start sooner. 

But if you breastfeed your baby, the reduction in breast milk may be just temporary. This lasts until your hormones are well balanced.

#2. When you co-sleep with your child

Many times, co-sleeping mothers breastfeed their babies while they are sleeping as well. This increases breast milk production. Thus delaying the occurrence of the period.

#3. When you introduce solid food or formula milk to your baby

Breast milk production will gradually reduce when you start feeding your baby with solid food and formula milk. You may have some hormonal changes that will lead to restarting your periods.

Many mothers don’t see their periods return for months after stopping breastfeeding – this time frame varies from mother to mother. If it has been six months since you stopped breastfeeding and you have still not seen the first signs of mensuration returning, reach out to your obstetrician or doctor.

In conclusion – you can get your period while breastfeeding, but every mother is different

As you can see, there are many factors that affect the return of your period when breastfeeding. If you do experience a change in breast milk taste during your periods or if this is something new for you, do not worry – it probably has to do with changes in hormones and does not mean that you need to stop nursing at all. However, consult an IBCLC or lactation consultant if baby seems more fussy than usual so they may help diagnose any underlying problems which could lead to reduced milk supply.

Breastfeeding your baby can delay the return of your period for a few months to a year. If it has been six months since you stopped breastfeeding and you have still not seen the first signs of menses returning, seek out an obstetrician or doctor. Every mother is different in terms of when they get their periods back after weaning off breastmilk so do not be alarmed if yours returns sooner than others.

Carly Wight

Mother of two young boys (6 and 3!) and an avid "Googler", Carly is the kind to research something to the nth degree. Be it about products, hacks, or techniques, she shares what she finds out at her website - Fairy Good Mommy.

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