Does Your Milk Supply Go Down When You're On Your Period?
One major benefit of breastfeeding is that it can delay the return of your menstrual cycle, but it's bound to rear its head at some point. It took me six months to get my Aunt Flo back and when it did show up, I panicked. Not because I had to buy tampons again for the first time in 15 months (major bummer), but because I had always heard that your period can decrease your breast milk supply.
If you're anything like me (and prone to worrying), you may have wondered the same thing. Just when you're getting the hang of breastfeeding, of knowing how much your baby's going to eat, and getting on a bit of a schedule, your period comes in like a wrecking ball and screws everything up. Or does it?
For me, I noticed that breastfeeding my daughter during that first period led to a fairly fussy baby. She didn't seem to nurse as long as usual, and she also seemed to be really cranky about it. Turns out, there can be a temporary drop in your breast milk supply when you're menstruating. According to KellyMom, you may have even noticed a slight decrease leading up to your period as your body prepares itself for a new cycle.
But the temporary dip in supply can last for a few days during your period, so don't get discouraged if you notice you aren't pumping as much or your baby seems to be nursing less or more than usual. The San Diego Breastfeeding Center notes on their website that the drop in your supply won't last forever, but that it may start a few days before your period and last for the first few days of your cycle. As with most things related to pregnancy and womanhood, you can blame all of those fluctuating hormones for this.
Because this is a totally natural thing that happens and is temporary, La Leche League International notes that it may take a little increased nursing, but your milk supply will go back to normal in no time. And if it doesn't — or you have any other concerns regarding your supply — don't hesitate to reach out to a doctor or lactation consultant.