Breast Feeding and Menstruation

Breastfeeding and Fertility

The return of menstruation is a critical subject for all women who breastfeed. Many mothers have been told that if they breastfeed that they will not have a period, this is simply not true. You may start menstruation within a few weeks after giving birth regardless of whether or not you breastfeed. As a matter of fact in the pre-birth control era, it was not uncommon for a woman to give birth within a year of the first child’s birth.

Not all women will have a period while breastfeeding, but it should not be a substitute for birth control. The time when a woman’s menstruation is suppressed while breastfeeding is called lactation amenorrhea. It can be very unpredictable lasting for weeks or months. If you do find that your period has returned, you may continue to breastfeed with no real difficulty. It may be best to ask about a safe method of birth control before your period comes back.

What Can I Expect if My Period Comes Back While I Breastfeed?

First it’s perfectly safe to continue feeding if your period does come back. You may find that you have slightly less milk than when you’re not menstruating. This drop tends to be small, and you should be able to satisfy your baby. If you are worried that your child isn’t getting enough milk you can try to give the baby the breast ever six hours even at night.

Another concern is that when you are menstruating the taste of your milk can change. Some children will like the taste and drink more, others, however, may decrease the amount of milk they take. The child will take enough to stay healthy but if it becomes a concern speak with your specialist.

Other Concerns

Extra nipple soreness is normal when on your period. If this becomes an issue, you can take 1500 calcium/750 magnesium. They should be taken together to be effective. You may also notice that you have more severe uterine cramps. Both of these are normal due to hormonal effects and should not continue on a long-term basis.

Your primary concern is that if you do menstruate, you are fertile. Having children so close together is very hard on a woman’s body. The mental stress of trying to care for two infants so close in age can also cause physical illness. Many women can take the mini-pill or use other methods of birth control. Be sure to talk with your doctor for both your sake and your child.