Periods while Breastfeeding: What to Expect

There is a widespread myth that periods will not resume, if woman breastfeeds. This is not true. It will resume depending on the specifics of woman’s body and nursing pattern of the baby. There’s no exact time for the first postpartum period among breastfeeding women, but usually it happens at around six months.

In this article, let us discuss some questions that mothers ask about periods while breastfeeding.

If your baby sleeps four hours or longer at a time, uses a pacifier, eats solid food, or is being supplemented with baby formula, you are more likely to resume your periods sooner. In contrary, if you nurse your baby frequently and on demand, exclusively breastfeed (no formula, solids, pacifiers or water), and carry your baby during the day and co-sleep at night, the likelihood that your periods will resume early  is lower. The general trend is that frequent nursing inhibits the release of hormones preparing your body for pregnancy. If you decrease the stimulation of your breasts for any reason, especially at night, periods are likely to return.periods while breastfeeding

FAQs about Periods while Breastfeeding

Do periods affect the quality of breast milk?

There is a persistent myth among mothers that breast milk sours or “goes bad” during menstruation. In fact, it does not become less nutritious for your baby. However, hormonal changes in your body may cause a drop in your milk supply a few days before periods. This is a temporary drop, and the supply will increase  once your hormone levels return to normal. Most babies compensate this temporary drop with more frequent nursing.

Some lactation consultants advice taking calcium/magnesium supplement to avoid nipple tenderness and supply issues associated with menstruation. Try adding 1500 calcium/750 magnesium to your diet upon ovulation until the third day of a period.

What about irregular periods while breastfeeding?

Irregular periods during lactation are normal. It’s not uncommon to have shorter or longer than normal periods while breastfeeding. Periods may even become more or less painful during lactation than they used to be before pregnancy. It is also quite normal to see the first period and then have no periods for the following few months. However, if your periods remain irregular after weaning from breastfeeding, consider consulting your obstetrician-gynecologist.

Do periods affect the taste and the smell of breast milk?

Many mothers are concerned if the taste and the smell of breast milk change during menstruation. Some children may become fussier at breast during periods and may even refuse nursing. However, there is no proof that breast milk changes its taste and smell during menstruation. More likely, the fussiness is connected with supply issues discussed above.

Is breast discomfort normal during menstruation?

Some women may experience  discomfort while nursing few days before periods. You may feel that breasts have become bigger,  more sensitive, and tender. Due to hormonal changes in your body, your nipples may become sore. Try not to let the pain affect your breastfeeding relationship. If it is too painful, consult your doctor about using over-the-counter pain reliever for the days it hurts. You may also consider pumping.  Our article on dealing with sore nipples may provide you with few useful tips. Avoid using numbing creams, because they can numb the baby’s month and create problems with the let-down. Breastfeeding discomfort usually disappear once period starts.

Many mothers become worried with the fussiness of their babies and supply issues during periods . Some of them may even consider supplementing with baby formula. Before you take a decision to supplement, consider other options that are less risky for your breastfeeding relationship. Calcium/magnesium supplements, more frequent nursing and switching sides, pumping, and supplementing with frozen breast milk may help you deal with the challenge of those days.

What is your personal experience of dealing with periods while breastfeeding? Did you experience discomfort or drop in milk supply? How did you deal with it? Share with us.Periods while Breastfeeding_

 

 

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