For breastfeeding moms, getting your period back is an unpredictable event. Many breastfeeding women are completely period-free for the first six months of their baby's lives, while others are surprised when Aunt Flo returns only a few weeks after giving birth. Whether your period has returned yet or not, many women experience spotting, which can be worrisome, especially to new moms. But is spotting normal when breastfeeding? The answer may look different from one woman to the next.
Mother and Child Health noted that almost everything is "normal" when it comes to periods and breastfeeding. Each woman will have a different experience, making it hard to predict exactly when your period will return or when you could experience spotting. In the first few weeks after giving birth, some women may continue to spot, especially those who go on birth control pills or get the Depovera shot, according to Baby Center.
According to Breastfeeding Problems, it's normal for nursing moms to experience light spotting, as a sign that menstruation is about to occur. Health Line also pointed out that many breastfeeding women experience irregular, light, or spotty periods once they do begin to menstruate, due to the hormones their body produces to make breast milk.
Although breastfeeding does have a contraceptive effect (under strict conditions), La Leche League International (LLLI) noted that it is still very possible for nursing moms to get pregnant again once they're fertile, which could be one explanation for spotting. It is rare for a woman to conceive without actually menstruating fully, however, so you'll likely know that you're fertile before getting pregnant again.
If you're exclusively breastfeeding (meaning no solids or supplementing for baby), nursing every few hours around the clock, and you're less than six months postpartum, the same LLLI article noted that it's very normal for a period to not return.
Although there is a wide range of normal when it comes to postpartum bleeding, don't be too quick to assume that something is wrong if you're experiencing spotting.. Your breastfeeding hormones will cause your fertility to be a little out of whack and may not seem as familiar as your pre-baby periods were. More than likely, spotting is a normal symptom of the hormones your body is producing, but if it doesn't go away or you're concerned, seeing your OB-GYN is never a bad idea.