Breastfeeding affects a woman’s menstrual cycle. That said, while you may miss your period during the first months of having your baby, your period will eventually come. This first period is called the postpartum period, and getting your period while breastfeeding is not uncommon.
During breastfeeding, some breastfeeding moms find that their periods are delayed longer, whereas other breastfeeding moms have their periods back almost immediately.
The likelihood of getting your period back sooner is more due to the following;
- Don’t breastfeed
- When your baby stops waking up during the night for feeds
- Wean your child
- Don’t breastfeed exclusively
- Provide child with solid food
Generally, the more frequently a child is breastfed, the later periods will resume. However, breastfeeding can affect fertility differently depending on each individual.
Each person’s “normal” time frame varies. It is common for some women to resume menstrual cycles immediately after delivery, while others wait until the baby has been weaned before they resume. An explanation as to why these differences happen is unclear.
Here is Some Information About Breastfeeding and Getting Your Period:
When Can You Expect Your Period?
The duration it takes for your period to come back after having your baby is heavily dependent on breastfeeding. Parents who exclusively breastfeed both night and day may not experience their period until they start introducing the bottle.
Parents who use a combination of bottle feeding and breastfeeding may get their period as soon as five weeks after having the baby.
Studies have shown that over 65% of parents who don’t breastfeed will get their period within the first 12 weeks of giving birth.
You will experience post-birth bleeding after giving birth, either virginally or through the C section, this bleeding is not your mensuration cycle, It’s called Lochia.
The lochia starts out as a deep red and will be accompanied by blood clots. Over time, the lochia begins to fade in color and turns to pink and then brown after a few weeks. The blood clots also decrease and become nonexistent altogether.
The lochia may continue to fade to a yellow and then to a whitish color before completely ending.
Getting your Period While Breastfeeding
Most women have heard that their period won’t start until after they’ve finished nursing. Well, don’t be surprised if you get your period while breastfeeding, because it is normal for women to get their period while breastfeeding.
Since every woman’s body is unique, each woman will have a different experience when it comes to whether their period comes while breastfeeding.
Getting Your Period 4 Weeks Postpartum
It’s possible that you’ll have your period within four weeks of giving birth, whether you’re breastfeeding or not. Many women get their period within 6 to 12 weeks after giving birth.
If you are not breastfeeding, your period should return about six to eight weeks after giving birth. When a period returns after breastfeeding, the timing can vary. Those who exclusively breastfeed might not have a period the entire time.
Falling Pregnant While Breastfeeding
There is a possibility of falling pregnant even while exclusively breastfeeding and while still not getting your period. According to experts, this figure stands at around 5%. It occurs due to the possibility of ovulating even while nursing.
It is a good idea therefore to evaluate different birth control methods and choose one that best suits you if you want to prevent getting pregnant right away.
First Period After Breastfeeding
Women report that their first period after giving birth and stopping breastfeeding is heavier, with more bleeding and cramping. While uncomfortable, this is very normal. However, do not hesitate to contact your doctor if you are needing to change your pad or tampon every hour.
Now that we’ve established that it’s possible to fall pregnant even while breastfeeding, it makes sense to consider birth control.
Some birth control methods are recommended by doctors such as intrauterine devices, or condoms.
Your doctor is maybe able to suggest birth control pills that won’t interfere with your hormones and milk supply, especially now when your body has undergone and continues to undergo major hormonal changes.
Changes to Your Period
When your period returns, you may notice a few significant changes. For one, your period may be irregular and the reason for this is breastfeeding.
The period may also be heavier. You may notice that you cramp more than you used to before getting pregnant. For some women, the cramping is a lot less than before they got pregnant.
For other women, periods may become much easier to deal with after having a baby. The reason for this is the uterus having stretched due to the pregnancy.
That said, it is important to keep in mind that having a menstruation cycle is not a sure sign that you will receive a regular cycle. It is also possible that you menstruated without having ovulated.
Period Decreasing Milk Supply
Sometimes, your period will affect your milk supply where you will notice that it diminishes. To ensure that you keep your milk supply at an optimum. Ensure that you take foods rich in calcium and magnesium.
Sometimes, the period may also affect the taste of breast milk, and you may notice that the baby isn’t taking to breastmilk quite as they used to before the period.
During your period, the levels of chloride and sodium increase, while the levels of potassium and lactose go down. This may be the main reason the baby notices a change in the taste of breastmilk as a result of the increased salty taste.
Ovulation also causes the levels of estrogen and progesterone to shoot up which may also cause your breasts and nipples to feel tender and fuller. Your milk supply may also go down during this time due to a drop in calcium levels.
Tender nipples may also be oversensitive and could result in you feeling pain when the baby latches on. Never use numbing cream as this could negatively affect the baby.
You may however want to consider pumping your breastmilk if you simply cannot take the pain of your nipples.
When to Call Your Doctor
Women’s bodies will behave differently during the onset of the period after breastfeeding. There are instances when you should call your doctor.
- If you notice that you are soaking one full pad in one hour. This should prompt you to see the doctor immediately.
- If you are experiencing short and severe pain during your menstrual cycle.
- You develop a high fever
- When you note that your breathing is affected.
- When the blood clots are bigger than a plum
- Experience pain when urinating
- When you start getting headaches during your mensuration.
- When the discharge smells bad.
Breastfeeding and Weight Loss
The benefits of breastfeeding include nourishing the baby, protecting it from getting sick, and helping you lose weight gained during pregnancy. To produce milk, your body uses the fat stored in your body during pregnancy along with calories from your diet.
Breastfeeding may cause postpartum weight loss in some women, although this is not the case for everyone. Stick to a diet rich in protein and fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise to lose the baby weight.
Breastfeeding Making Periods Lighter
The hormone prolactin inhibits the menstrual cycle. As long as you breastfeed, these hormone levels remain high, meaning that you are more likely to have a light period or none at all.
As your baby weans off breast milk, your period will likely return fairly quickly. Every woman is different, and breastfeeding may still result in your period regardless of your best efforts
Are You More Fertile After Having a Baby?
The answer to this question is no. There are a variety of factors that affect your fertility, like breastfeeding, stress, diet, and age.
It\’s nearly impossible to determine your chances of getting pregnant after giving birth unless you\’re using contraception. Every woman\’s body is unique, and the timing of the first postpartum ovulation varies.
Bleeding While Breastfeeding
If you are breastfeeding, you can get your period, get spotting or have an irregular cycle. This is totally normal. Similarly, hormones responsible for amenorrhea are also responsible for this condition, so do not be alarmed if you experience it.
Menstruation may take longer in some women than others due to the hormones involved when a woman is breastfeeding. You should never rely on your hormones as a form of contraceptive.
It is always a good idea to use other forms of contraceptives, such as a non-hormonal intrauterine device. In case you notice that your bleeding is excessive, or you are having discomfort, always consult a doctor.