Here's How Nursing Messes With Your Period

Life after baby is never quite the same as before. Your body is different. Your mind is differ. Your priorities are different. Everything, essentially is different. A new mom may find that it takes some time to get used to her postpartum body and feel “normal” again. After all, you just went through nine months of growing a human being and then delivering them. One area that might never be quite the same is your menstrual cycle. Although it can become regular again, there are some factors that influence a postpartum woman’s cycle. You might be asking, “does breastfeeding affects your period when it comes back?” And the answer, like most things, depends on your body.

According to La Leche League International (LLLI,) breastfeeding has a huge impact on a woman’s menstrual cycle. First of all, exclusive breastfeeding will delay the return of your period. The hormones your body produces when you breastfeed inhibit the body from the monthly preparation for a new pregnancy. According to LLLI, ovulation does not take place, and you do not have menstrual periods.

The catch is that “exclusive breastfeeding” has a pretty specific definition. Dr. Sears explained that a mother must breastfeed often (without regard to schedule and during the night as well,) avoid using a pump, since skipping sessions can decrease your supply, and your baby must not be eating other solids. Following those “rules” may mean that you get to enjoy “lactation amenorrhea” (ie. no period) for months.

However, no one knows exactly what causes some women’s periods to return sooner than others. Some women breastfeed for two years without their period coming back, and others get their period regularly after only a few months of following the exclusive breastfeeding rules.

When your period does return, breastfeeding may affect their regularity. According to Breastfeeding Problems, having irregular periods while breastfeeding is very common. You may experience some menstrual symptoms without bleeding (an early sign your cycle is coming back,) your periods may be spotty or lighter than usual, your uterine cramps may be a bit worse while you’re breastfeeding as well.

The article also stated that you may notice a slight drop in your milk supply right before your period starts, which may make your baby a bit fussy. Don’t worry though, it will pick up within a few days.

All in all, since every woman’s body is different, it’s hard to say exactly how breastfeeding will affect your cycle. It’s perfectly safe (and encouraged) to breastfeed often before and after your cycle returns.