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When Can Breastfeeding Mothers Have their Period?

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In one of my chit chats with a friend who just delivered her first child, she asked me about the possibility of having a period while breastfeeding. She said she’s not ready yet to have another child in two years. So she was thinking that if she continually breastfeeds her baby, she will not get a period and in return, will not be fertile and get pregnant. As a former nurse, I have encountered many new moms who have this same question. And I know that many women are also curious about this topic.

There is a common misconception that if you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby, your menstruation will not yet return. But this is not true. In fact, you may start to menstruate as early as several weeks after giving birth. This is a case-to-case basis from one mom to another.

The period in which a mom skips her period because of lactation is called lactational amenorrhea. During this period, a woman is not fertile so there is no chance of pregnancy. This is considered to be one of the most effective natural birth controls, but only for a limited time. Among moms, their lactational amenorrhea may differ with each child birth. Some women are lucky to have their period back only after five or more months while others will have it as early as two months. There are even cases when a mom starts her period again only after completely weaning her baby. That is a blessing for parents who are practicing natural family planning method.

While it is the hormones that dictate whether a mom should already have a period or not, there are certain practices on how you can delay menstruation after childbirth. Their effectiveness may vary but there is no harm in trying them out:

  • Breastfeed more often, at least six times a day. This is more ideal for stay-at-home moms because they are around their children most if not all of the time.
  • Breastfeed your baby even in the evening. It is best to breastfeed your baby at least once every six hours or more frequently during the night.
  • Don’t start your baby with solid foods early on. Don’t introduce solid or mashed foods to your baby yet until your baby reaches 6 months old.
  • Do not bottle-feed or use pacifiers during lactation. Bottle feeding or using pacifier reduces the frequency that you infant will breastfeed so avoid them as much as possible.

While you benefit from the lactational period, it is also worth noting that during this period, you cannot just eat anything you like. It is one of the downsides of breastfeeding. There are certain foods to avoid while breastfeeding because they may cause side effects on the infant. You could refer to some online sources or consult your pediatrician about these foods.

So back to the question, is it possible to have a period while breastfeeding? With the information given above, the answer would be yes, it is possible.

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