What You Need to Know About Menstruation and Breastfeeding
You might have a few questions when it comes to menstruation after giving birth. Like, when will I start, can I still get pregnant, how will menstruation affect my supply? We are here to answer your questions, mama!
Menstrual Cycle - When Will I Start?
As you’ve probably been told a million times throughout your pregnancy and birthing process, every body is different. There is no set in stone answer that is the same for everyone.
Because of the hormone, prolactin, that causes you to make milk, it also stops you from having your period. If you are exclusively breastfeeding during the day and night, you shouldn’t expect to see your period until you wean. Some women see their menstrual cycle soon after giving birth, while some women do not start their cycle again until they have weaned their baby, which can be months or years later depending on how long you and baby nurse.
Keep in mind, there are different factors that determine when your period will return when you are breastfeeding. If you often give your baby a bottle, pumping instead of nursing at the breast, this can affect your hormones, causing your period to return sooner. When your baby starts sleeping through the night, you will be nursing less frequently so your body may return to menstruating.
Most breastfeeding mamas say their period returns between 9 and 18 months after having their baby. While some mama’s menstrual periods begin after 3 months. However, it is most common that your period will return when your baby is not nursing as frequently and is weaning from breastfeeding. If you are still lactating (producing milk), your periods may be irregular. The duration of your period may also be affected.
If your periods are irregular, you have continued spotting, you notice heavier than normal bleeding or long cycles, make sure you contact your doctor.
Will My Period Affect My Supply?
Again, every beautiful body is different. While it is common for you to experience a drop in supply during your menstrual cycle, don’t be alarmed if you do not notice a difference at all. With your changing hormones and sensitivities, it might also be less comfortable to nurse. But remember, it is only temporary! The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding recommends “A daily dose of 500 to 1,000 mg of a calcium and magnesium supplement from the middle of your cycle through the first three days of your period” to help reduce a supply drop. Some women just note the drop a few days before their cycle and the beginning of their cycle. Your supply should increase again when your hormones balance back.
Can I Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?
Yes, you can get pregnant even while breastfeeding!
You can ovulate before your period returns. This means there is a chance that even before your period returns, you can get pregnant.
Also, you can still continue breastfeeding even with the return of your period. But, the return of your period also indicates that your body is fertile and you can conceive a baby.
If you have not already spoken with your doctor about your birth control options, make sure you make yourwants clear. You will also want to share that you are breastfeeding, because if you choose birth control pills, some pills can interfere with your supply.
As always, you’ve got this mama! Was this helpful? Let us know in The Official Milky Mama Lactation Support Group. It’s filled with Milky Mamas just like you who have come together for support and education during their breastfeeding journey. We’ll see you there, mama!