When To Expect First Period After Birth When Breastfeeding?

New moms sometimes believe that if they exclusively breastfeed, they may prevent getting their period. However, it is just a myth, bringing to the question of when to expect the first period after breastfeeding?

The truth is that you will begin menstruation shortly after childbirth. Your postpartum menstruation may begin as soon as a few weeks after birth. However, there are instances when women might not be menstruating, even after prolonged lactation. This condition is called lactational amenorrheaiXAbsence of menstrual period in women, either temporarily or permanently(1). The lactational amenorrhea method is a lactational infertility that relies on the body’s natural mechanism of preventing ovulation while breastfeeding.

Continue reading to learn more about breastfeeding and menstruation.

Return Of Period While Breastfeeding

Your period shall return after the birth of your baby. If you are not breastfeeding, you can expect your cycle to return within 3 months. However, it might vary from mother to mother (2).

  • Even if you are nursing, you can get back your periods. However, in some cases, your menstrual cycle may get delayed by about a year when you are breastfeeding. This delay occurs due to the increased prolactin release that inhibits estrogen levels required for ovulation, thus resulting in menstrual suppression.
You can get back your period even when nursing
  • When you are nursing round the clock, you can expect your cycles to stay away for greater lengths. Again, when you are not feeding so or offer the baby a pacifier and start weaning, you may start menstruating.
  • In some cases, menstrual return may be delayed for a few months unless you have stopped breastfeeding completely.
  • Once your period returns, it will continue every month. It will not stop or discontinue even if you start breastfeeding again.
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Jeannie, a mother of four, shares her experience with her first period after giving birth on her YouTube channel. She says, ” With this baby, I just got it at 8 months postpartum. About a week before I got it, my back was so sore and killing me, and I was probably ovulating. About two weeks later, I got my period, and it was super heavy and super awful. I was sweaty, bloated, my back hurt, and it lasted a while (ⅰ).’’

Breastfeeding While You Are Menstruating

Often, mothers have the misconception that breastfeeding during menstruation is not a right thing to do.

  • Infant feeding while having periods doesn’t cause any harm to them.
  • The quality of your breast milk remains the same.
  • The taste of your breast milk may change because of hormonal imbalance or changes that your body undergoes.
  • Sometimes, you may notice a decrease in the milk supply. These occasional changes can make your little one a bit fussy. There is nothing to worry about. It’s all a natural phenomenon (3).
  • If you feel your milk production reduces while you have your periods, you might try to spend more time with your baby skin to skin or offer the breast more frequently.
  • You can also talk to your doctor about mineral and vitamin supplies to ensure your little one is getting sufficient milk.
Consult your doctor about vitamins
  • You may also notice sore nipples. It is a condition that you may experience because of your menstruation cycle.
  • It might get a little difficult for you to breastfeed your baby once your period starts, mostly because of the physical pain the phase brings with it.
  • Try to apply coconut or olive oil to release soreness. Regular breastfeeding helps maintain a good supply of milk and also reduces the chances of problems like engorgementiXEnlargement, swelling, or tightness felt in breasts due to milk retention , mastitisiXSwollen, hot, or painful breasts due to bacterial infection, blebsiXFluid-filled blistersand plugged milk ducts.
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First Period After Breastfeeding

After pregnancy, the first period may vary in intensity among women. It’s common to experience irregularities initially, with periods eventually becoming heavier or more intense. While some mothers may notice it while breastfeeding, others might experience it as they reduce feedings. Some women may also experience delayed or missed periods. Don’t fret; this is common, and your periods should typically return to normal within a few months.

Additionally, some women may observe increased cramping and PMS symptoms post-weaning. On the flip side, others notice a shift towards more regular periods with fewer PMS symptoms after pregnancy. These variations are also normal and part of the postpartum experience (5).

With the return of your periods, returns your fertility. You need to keep in mind that your chances of getting pregnant remain high even when you have not started menstruating. Strange it may sound, but the human body doesn’t follow a stringent rule. Here are few points you should learn about (4):

  • You may start ovulatingiX A stage in the female menstrual cycle when a mature egg is released from the ovaryeven before your period begins.
Ovulation may start before your due cycle
  • In case you are not adopting the birth control measures, you may expect again without getting the first postpartum period.
  • If you do not wish to plan another pregnancy, rely on contraceptives.
  • You can talk to your doctor about the birth control options. Make sure to tell the doctor about the type of birth control you use, since it might interfere with your milk production.
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It is not known when exactly does your menstruation return after childbirth. Several factors may determine the resumption of menstruation after delivery. Breastfeeding mothers may get their periods back a little later than the mothers who do not breastfeed. The return of menstruation may be further delayed for mothers who exclusively breastfeed. However, it is unique, and some exclusively breastfeeding mothers may see the resumption of their periods sooner than others. It is best to use contraceptives if you do not wish to get pregnant again soon. Also, breastfeeding cannot be considered a reliable contraceptive method.

Key Pointers

  • Lactating women typically resume their regular menstrual cycle within three months after giving birth.
  • Breastfeeding may cause lactational amenorrhea, where some women do not menstruate.
  • Menstruation may alter the taste of breastmilk due to hormonal changes, but it does not impact the baby.
  • Consult a doctor before choosing a birth control method as it may affect milk production.

My period came back while breastfeeding and I’m not sure what to do! Learn how to manage your period while breastfeeding in this helpful video.

Article written by Baby Plumbing

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