Post-Birth Periods and Breastfeeding

While not having to contend with your period for nine months while you’re pregnant is a bonus, the uncertainty of when it will return post-birth is not so great. There are many myths around breastfeeding, menstruation after having a baby, so we are going to distill some of those.

Here we look at myth busting Post-Birth Periods and Breastfeeding:

You Don’t Get Your Period If You Are Breastfeeding

While your periods can be delayed after birth if you are breastfeeding, it is not uncommon for periods to return soon after birth. You are more likely to delay the return of your period if you are demand feeding, and breastfeeding exclusively. As soon as your baby starts to sleep for longer, or drop feeds, or start solid food your cycle will likely return.

You Can’t Get Pregnant When You Breastfeed

The risk is too great, unless you definitely want two children very close together, it’s advisable not to rely on breastfeeding as your contraception. Our bodies are unpredictable and can ovulate at any time. Given most of us don’t know when we ovulate, you could easily risk pregnancy and still be breastfeeding.

A Bit Of Spotting Doesn’t Mean Your Period Is Returning

It is completely normal to experience some spotting before your period has returned, and while you are breastfeeding. This is not a sign that you have ovulated or that your period is starting again, (although it might be) it is more a case of your hormones behaving as hormones do, which can be a little unpredictable.

If You Don’t Breastfeed You’ll Get Your Period Straight Away

It takes time for a woman’s body to recover from giving birth. Even if you choose not to breastfeed, it may still take several months for your period to return.

Your Baby Will Reject Your Milk If You Have Your Period

If you do get your period while you are still breastfeeding, there is no need to give up breastfeeding. There is some evidence to say that the taste of your milk changes slightly over the days of your period, and some women experience a slight drop in their supply, causing their baby to fuss at the breast. However, this does not last any longer than your period, so you can happily continue to breastfeed your baby.

Some Things To Remember:

  • You can breastfeed exclusively and still get your period.
  • Once your period returns it may not be as regular as prior to your pregnancy – this is normal.
  • Your first period (not including post-partum bleeding) may be quite heavy, this is also normal.
  • Breastfeeding is not a reliable method of contraception.
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