Although periods while breastfeeding isn’t conventional, but here is all you need to know in case your periods resume while breastfeeding.
It is a widely known fact that pregnancy and breastfeeding are phases during which you will not see your monthly visitor- Periods! However, can your periods reappear while breastfeeding? Read on to find out.
Frances Jones, a lactation specialist, says that women who exclusively breastfeed their babies do not get their periods until several months after the birth of their babies.
Why do you not get your period while breastfeeding?
The hormonal flux during breastfeeding is responsible for your absent periods. The pituitary gland secretes prolactin and not only helps your body secrete breast milk but also prevents ovulation and, thereby, periods. Depending on breastfeeding duration and frequency, your period or menstrual cycle will take different lengths of time to return or normalize.
Factors that determine when your period will reappear
Frequency of breastfeeding your baby i.e., If you bottle-feed your baby more often, there are higher chances of your period returning faster. Hormone levels and your body’s reaction to these hormones, and the duration of breastfeeding your baby are all factors that determine when your periods will return. Babies who sleep longer or throughout the nights will also influence your period reappearing sooner because of reduced breastfeeding sessions.
Doctors estimate that your periods will take anywhere between six months to two years following childbirth to normalize completely.
Signs that your periods are Returning:
- Occasional Spotting
- Reduced milk supply, which may be temporary
- Some pre-menstrual symptoms.
Periods While Breastfeeding – Changes to Notice
Though not all women face these issues, the commonly reported changes are,
- Sensitive nipples due to increased progesterone and estrogen.
- Slightly lower milk supply during the time of menstrual bleeding.
- Fussy babies due to altered milk quantity.
Ovulation also alters the composition of breast milk. Sodium and chloride levels in the milk are increased during these times. This is accompanied by a subsequent reduction in lactose and potassium levels. Breast milk tastes saltier than sweet due to these changes.
Reduced calcium in the blood will lead to a reduction in the milk supply and also increased breast tenderness.
What can you do if you notice a lower milk supply?
- Calcium and magnesium supplements taken daily for a few weeks can boost your milk supply. Also, it is essential to allow your baby to feed more often. This will stimulate your body to produce more prolactin and help increase the milk supply.
- Alternating both breasts during feeding and doing breast compressions are also good ways to improve breast milk production.
- Reducing the number of bottle feeds or the use of pacifiers will encourage your baby to feed longer and more frequently.
- Pumping of breast milk at times you are not feeding the baby will also help improve production. However, if all these methods fail, it is advisable to contact your doctor to get help.
- Furthermore, a balanced diet, adequate water intake, and supplements can improve breastmilk’s quantity and quality.
Relieving Sore Nipples
If the pain is mild, continue breastfeeding, the tenderness will reduce on its own over time. Avoid using too many chemical products on your breasts, as these may alter the taste of milk when your baby breastfeeds.
Pump milk and feed this to your baby if breastfeeding is too uncomfortable. If the pain is severe, contact your doctor to seek more help.
To keep in mind
Though some women do not get their periods while breastfeeding, this does not necessarily mean that ovulation is not taking place. This means that there are still chances of you getting pregnant even while breastfeeding!
If you do get pregnant while breastfeeding, it is best to get medical advice as this may be stressful for both the body and the mind.