If you are a breastfeeding mom, you know all too well the changes your body goes through when nursing. Your breasts face numerous physical changes, and you may even feel contractions when your baby latches on, but what about your vagina? Specifically, the way it smells. Vaginal odor changes with menstrual cycles and pregnancy, but does breastfeeding change the way your vagina smells, too?
Romper spoke with Danielle Spradlin, Certified Lactation Consultant from Oasis Lactation Services, who says that there is no published data that shows a relationship between vaginal odor and breastfeeding, but there are a lot of postpartum factors that can impact vaginal health.
Postpartum bleeding, or lochia, can change the way your vagina smells, says Spradlin. According to the Cleveland Clinic, lochia can have a stale and musty odor, and might increase while breastfeeding, as nursing can cause your uterus to contract in the first few weeks after birth. This could make a mom think that breastfeeding is causing the change in smell, when it is really just the smell of the lochia.
Spradlin says that your vaginal flora can take time to come back to normal, especially after taking medications like antibiotics or cervical ripening suppositories, which can contribute to changes in smell. She adds that because you may have a hard time doing basic things, like showering, drinking water, and eating nutritious food when caring for a new baby, it could lead to a shift in vaginal odors. Keeping hydrated, clean, and eating healthy (good luck) may help your vagina go back to its normal scent.
While breastfeeding may not change the way your vagina smells, it can turn it into a desert. “Breastfeeding can dry out your vagina because of hormones,” says Spradlin, “and because substantial fluid in the body is spent on breast milk production.” So the dryness may factor into a very present smell.
If you smell different or notice an aroma you hadn't before, let your doctor know so you can make sure you don’t have an infection. Breastfeeding makes a big impact on your body — even in the most subtle ways.