What You Need To Know About Breastfeeding While On Your Monthly Periods

14 May 2019
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What You Need To Know About Breastfeeding While On Your Monthly Periods

Menstruation is a girl’s rite of passage to womanhood. It also signifies fertility and her ability to conceive and bear a child. Getting pregnant is another story and a journey that is worth taking. Struggles may arise along with the pregnancy, but seeing your bundle of joy after nine grueling months makes all of it worth the wait.

The next challenge is taking care of your newborn. Everything will become like new again, even if it’s your second, third, or even your fourth child. It will be a battle once again between your child’s welfare and your sanity.

Sleepless nights will be the norm again. Your nipples will be sore from your little one’s hourly breastfeeding. Your sex life may lie low for now. Your period will most likely be delayed for weeks or even months.

Speaking of monthly period, you may be wondering when it will resume after giving birth. If it does, how will your period affect your breastfeeding? Should you wean your baby from breastfeeding once your period resumes? These are some concerns that may not be new to you anymore.

But for new moms out there, it can help a lot to know whether monthly periods can affect your baby’s breastfeeding. Likewise, it may also help seasoned moms with this concern. After all, every childbirth can be different, as they say.

Of breastfeeding and monthly periods

Your “liquid gold” that is breast milk is one of mankind’s natural wonders. Not only is it nutritious for your little one but also cost-saving and practical. But due to hormonal changes, your monthly periods may be delayed when you are breastfeeding. In fact, some breastfeeding moms experience not having their periods for a year!

On the other hand, moms who bottle-feed or mix-feed their children may expect their periods to return soon enough. There are also some who experience irregular periods while breastfeeding. Nevertheless, it is normal to have delays in your monthly period post-partum, whether you’re breastfeeding or not.

As to when your period will resume, it will depend on the following:

  • Your baby’s breast feeding/bottle feeding frequency
  • Whether the baby uses a pacifier or not
  • Your baby’s night time sleep duration
  • Your baby already eats solids
  • Hormonal changes

Meanwhile, moms may experience bleeding shortly after giving birth. This is not your monthly period but is actually lochia. It is a combination of blood, tissue from your uterine lining, and mucous, and can last for more than a month.

Regular pads may not be sufficient during this time. That is why there are specially-made “maternity” pads that cater to post-partum moms. After six weeks or so, your first real menstruation will return.

Once your monthly period resumes, it means you are fertile. That is why you should be cautious especially if you do not plan to get pregnant for the meantime. However, there are some cases wherein women get pregnant before post-partum menstruation, albeit rare.

Can my monthly period affect my breast milk?

There are some who say that breast milk tastes “different” once your period resumes. Also, some women experience less breast milk production during their period. This can actually happen, and the main culprit is your hormones.

A medical journal published by The Physiological Society around the early 1980s stated that breast milk tastes saltier while on your period. Menstrual blood has nothing to do with this.

Rather, it is said to be due to the increased sodium levels and lesser potassium and lactose levels. At this point, babies may detect a difference in breast milk’s taste. In effect, they may nurse less than usual.

Before having your period, estrogen levels increase while calcium levels decline, according to medical research. The former makes your breast feel tender and may hurt a bit when touched. The latter, on the other hand, is said to cause nipple sores and a decrease in breast milk production.  

Can I increase my breast milk while on my period?

Low milk supply is temporary, and will mostly resume during or after your period. Give your body and your hormones time to adjust so you can return to abundant breast milk production. You can also follow these tips to increase your milk supply:

  • Eat foods rich in iron such as green leafy veggies and meat. Oatmeal, almonds, and Moringa oleifera leaves can also help increase your milk supply. 
  • Take magnesium and calcium supplements (500mg and 1000mg, respectively) before and during menstruation.
  • Encourage the increase of breast milk supply through stimulation (ex. massages, baby’s consistent breastfeeding)
  • Consult a doctor or a lactation consultant for more tips about increasing milk supply.

Also, make sure to monitor your baby whether he or she is gaining weight while breastfeeding. Otherwise, you should consult your pediatrician.

In closing

Your period can affect your breastfeeding and vice versa. Its effects may vary from woman to woman. But more often than not, these changes can be completely normal. At the end of the day, your baby’s nutrition is important, and so is your health.


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