Is It Normal to Have Irregular Periods While Breast Feeding?
While it's possible to have irregular periods while breast feeding but often there is always a misconception that if a mother breastfeeds exclusively, her period will not return. That is not necessarily true. It really depends on the mother; there may be some mothers who:
- Starts menstruating soon after giving birth (in some cases, as soon as just a few weeks after birth)
- Starts menstruating but experience irregular periods whilst breastfeeding (for example, skipping some cycles)
- Have no period whilst breastfeeding, and having their period return only after their baby has been weaned off completely
- Starts experiencing pre-menstrual symptoms without any bleeding
- Experience some spotting
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4 Reasons You Are Experiencing Irregular Periods While Breast Feeding
After having gone through such a huge change as pregnancy and giving birth (and subsequently breastfeeding the baby), it is normal for a woman to experience irregular periods even if her menstrual cycle before pregnancy was perfectly regular.
These are some of the factors that might cause irregular periods whilst breastfeeding:
In most cases, breastfeeding provides a natural delay in a woman’s return to fertility. Almost all mothers who are breastfeeding exclusively are free of menstrual period for the first six months.
This ‘condition’ is called lactational amenorrhea. During breastfeeding, our pituitary gland releases the hormone prolactin which helps in breast milk production, but it also suppresses ovulation (through suppression of our estrogen levels).
How long the lactational amenorrhea lasts depends on the mother’s nursing pattern and her physiology.
2) Nursing style and nursing duration
As baby nurses less or nurses for a shorter period of time (for example, as they grow older and start eating solid foods), the mother’s hormone level will be affected and that’s when their menstrual cycle may resume.
However, even then, do note that breastfeeding can continue although your baby may be a little fussy at the start (perhaps due to the temporary, slight drop in mother’s milk supply).
It is normal then, for the mother’s menstrual period to be irregular for the first few months, in addition to other symptoms such as moodiness and irritability.
3) Switching to bottle-feeding
Similar to the change in
Bottle-fed mothers might start to see their period come back as soon as between 1 and 3 months after giving birth.
4) Uninterrupted sleep
As baby grows older and sleeps more through the night, it also means the mother is more likely to enjoy a good night’s sleep, thus allowing her body to regenerate and she’s more likely to resume her regular cycle.
It's normal for a mother to have irregular periods while breast feeding. #PregnanctFacts
When Should Your Regular Period Resume?
While there is no predefine date when you’re period will come back, but most new moms will have back their period after 6 months but some can be longer than that. If you’re not breastfeeding, your period might come back as soon as 1 to 3 months after your delivery.
However, if you do not want your period to come back so soon, nursing frequently can help to delay your period cycle from coming back.
Some mothers can take longer than 6 months to have their period return but this is completely normal. As some woman can take up to 24 months before seeing their period come back again.
A general indication that your period is about to return is when you start to feel the symptoms of a period without any blood present. Such feeling is a good sign that period cycle is coming back to you soon.
Watch this video to learn about the 3 important things you should know about your period after delivering your baby…
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You Still Can Get Pregnant
Having irregular periods while
Your doctors will usually advise waiting for 18 to 24 months before start to plan for your next baby. This is to give enough time for your body to heal, regulate hormone levels and also reduce the risk associated
However, if pregnancy does happen, do visit your physician and have an exam done. This will ensure you to take proper precautions during your pregnancy and also to deliver a safe and healthy baby.
If you’re thinking about planning for your next baby but at the same time experiencing irregular period due to breastfeeding, this short video might able to provide you with some good tips…
Is There Any Side Effects To Breastfeed During a Period?
It’s completely safe to continue breastfeeding your baby even when you are having your period. It’s also worth to mention that your period will not impact your milk production. Some mothers claimed that their milk production becomes less after having
However, certain hormone changes that happen when you begin having back your period might result in changes of your breast milk’s taste. This changes of taste might make your baby becomes fussy about the new taste, but there is nothing to alarm about as this fussiness will go away after a few days once your baby gets use to the new taste.
Mothers Experiences With Irregular Periods While Breast Feeding
Here are a few experiences that mothers shared regarding to irregular periods while breast feeding:
My daughter is 11.5 months old and nursing. I've gotten two periods so far. They've been about 6 weeks apart. My periods used to be every 4 weeks and very regular and while breastfeeding has been irregular.
With my son, I had one at 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and then every 6-8 weeks after that until he fully weaned and they went back to the normal 28 days.”
I got my first period when my son was 6 weeks old. Now they seem to be about every 6 weeks or so.
With both of my children, I resumed my period at 10mths. After my 1st it was very regular, but after my 2nd child, it was very irregular. Anywhere from 4-8wks.
What Else Do You Need To Know
In short, it should not be alarming for your period to return but differently or irregularly while breastfeeding. It could very well just be your body re-adjusting itself until it fully regulates as before or it might even be finding a new norm post-giving birth.
In my case, my period started back after I’d been breastfeeding for a year (almost to the dot! J). It was surprisingly regular after that (surprising to me, because I’d expected it not to be). However, I noticed that the time between my monthly cycles is now a few days longer than before, and the period itself clears up 1-2 days faster than it used to.
Compared to pre-pregnancy, I also no longer suffered from stomach cramps (although nowadays I seem to get a bit of a nagging headache during those few days). All in all, if you continue to have irregular periods for a while even after stopping breastfeeding, and you’re feeling concerned, it is best to visit your doctor for a consultation.
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