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Inside: Do you have questions about breastfeeding and menstruation? I have answers! I’ve been breastfeeding for almost two decades and I’ve pretty much experienced it all! Come and get answers to your questions!
If you’re looking for breastfeeding support, you’ve come to the right place!
BREASTFEEDING AND MENSTRUATION: DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS?
One of my favorite benefits of breastfeeding (aside from the very obvious cuddly aspect of snuggling my baby 🙂 ) is that it suppresses menstruation (I realize this isn’t true for every woman).
I have highly enjoyed not having my period for almost two years every time I nurse my babies.
After nursing seven babies, I can honestly say that I haven’t had my period for most of my adult life!
But I do know that at some point it has to return!
If you’re nursing and you haven’t gotten your cycle back yet, then it will be helpful to be prepared and know what to expect. If you already have started your period again, then maybe you have some questions.
Does Getting Your Period Back Mean That you Have to Stop Breastfeeding?
Not at all!
When your period returns depends a lot on several factors.
- How often your baby is nursing is the biggest factor.
- Whether or not he sleeps through the night
- How much food he eats
- Your own physical makeup
These things all play a part in when your period will return.
There are things you need to know about breastfeeding and menstruation in order to continue to successfully nurse your baby.
It’s Normal to be Irregular Even if You aren’t Normally
Pretty much anything goes regarding breastfeeding and menstruation.
You might find your periods are very irregular while nursing. This doesn’t indicate a problem and is just a normal side effect of nursing.
Additionally, you might see your period come and go with no real rhyme or reason.
Irregular could mean that your cycle is longer or shorter than usual. But it could also mean that your period is more sporadic on a monthly basis.
Additionally, it could mean that your flow is different, i.e. heavier or lighter than usual.
Nursing Might Hurt
It’s very normal to have tender or sore nipples during ovulation, the days leading up to your period, and during your actual period.
Hormonal fluctuations can cause breastfeeding to hurt. This is very normal.
Your Baby Might Know
If you notice your baby isn’t nursing as well or seems antsy at the breast, then the chances are quite likely that she senses something is different.
Theory suggests that the breast milk might change in flavor, which is very normal and due to the change in, you guessed it…hormones.
It could also be because:
Your milk supply might drop.
Again, those pesky hormones might be causing your milk supply to drop. Breastfeeding and menstruation are both driven by hormones and can interact with each other.
If you sense a drop in your milk supply, there are many things you can do. Don’t lose heart and think you have to stop nursing just because you’re period returned.
Consider adding a calcium magnesium supplement to help with the hormonal imbalances once your cycle returns.
For more specific details on how to supplement with calcium/magnesium, this article has very helpful information on how to do that.
It should be noted that the drop in milk supply is temporary and should level out after your period subsides.
Please note that I am not a doctor and it’s always best to talk to your health care provider before taking any supplements.
Your Baby’s Response
You might find your baby nursing more or less often than normal and either one is perfectly OK.
If your breast milk changes flavor, then your baby might not be interested in nursing much at all.
During this time drink lots of water and pump in order to keep your milk supply up. On the other hand, your baby may nurse more often as a means to get your milk supply up naturally.
Either one is normal and nothing to be concerned about.
Your Period Means Ovulation
That’s right, if you’re having your period, then you have ovulated.
That means if you’re not ready for or another baby, then make sure you think about what you would like to do for prevention.
Personally, I recommend Natural Family Planning for many reasons. I recommend looking into it for a great way to plan (or prevent) your pregnancies.
You Might Not Notice at All
You may be one of those women who is not affected at all by breastfeeding and menstruation.
Your cycle might stay exactly the same as it always has been, despite the fact that you are breastfeeding your baby. If it does, that’s totally OK.
Don’t worry about it if you don’t noticed anything at all.
In fact, count your blessings, that nursing isn’t painful and your milk supply is staying the same.
Related: Which Breastfeeding Support Pillow is Best for You?
Related: Top Breastfeeding Coverups You’ll Want to Have
Keep Nursing for the Best Chance of Keeping Your Period Away
If you want to keep your period away as long as possible, then nurse, nurse, nurse!
Don’t supplement with formula and make sure your baby doesn’t go too long in between feedings. (Hint: Check out this article to make sure that doesn’t happen!)
As I said earlier, I have successfully nursed seven babies and kept my period away for almost two years with each of them.
Obviously, that means my kids were eating solid foods and I was still nursing enough to not have my cycle return.
The trick is to nurse as often as possible.
Just Because You’re Nursing Exclusively, Doesn’t Mean Your Period Won’t Return
Don’t be shocked or devastated.
Having your period is a part of life and it just means that your body is doing what it’s supposed to do. If it returns sooner than you’d hoped, its OK!
- Add an extra pumping session in between nursing if your milk supply is dipping
- Take herbs or supplements to increase your milk supply. Find out which ones, here
- Relax and know it’s going to be OK and you’ll be back to your normal self soon
- Add more iron rich foods to your diet and try some of the delicious lactation products such as, Milkful Lactation Bars and Milk Makers Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies to help boost your milk supply
Just remember that your having your period return isn’t the end of the world! I promise! 🙂
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