Period While Breastfeeding: Missed or Irregular Periods 113

With my first two children, despite breastfeeding exclusively and co-sleeping, my menstrual cycle returned about a month after delivery and remained on a normal cycle therebreastfeeding period, period while breastfeedingafter. So, when after my third child my period resumed and then suddenly stopped, I was admittedly a bit scared I was pregnant again despite always using protection. Upon attempting to research why exactly this would happen, all that could be found were forums, lots and lots of forums, that required a lot of reading to find even half answers. I decided to combine this info with some information from my mid-wife to provide answers for others who experience an irregular period while breastfeeding.

When should your period while breastfeeding resume, if at all?

When menstruation returns depends largely on how often you breastfeed and your personal hormone balance. According to the lactation experts at the La Leche League, on average those who exclusively breastfeed, including at night and delay the introduction of solid foods, do not have a period while breastfeeding for 14.6 months. About seven percent of women experience a period within the first six months postpartum, 37 percent within seven months to a year, 48 percent during the second year of their child’s life, and a mere eight percent exceed year two, likely from the introduction of solid foods. These percentages are not accurate for those who supplement with formula or introduce solid foods within the first year. Menstruation is also more likely to return in mothers whose infants sleep longer at night. The rule is, the more a baby nurses, the higher the chance there will be no period while breastfeeding.

Are irregular periods normal while breastfeeding? Can menstruation stop as a result of breastfeeding?

Yes. You may experience irregular periods or spotting as a result of variances in the hormones released while breastfeeding. This could be a result of a decrease in nursing from say, a sickness in your baby, teething, getting a sitter, or just changes in appetite. This is why some women may have a first period after delivery, and maybe even begin having a normal period while breastfeeding, and then stop as an increase in nursing can cause menstruation to stop. Your own hormonal balance prior to breastfeeding may also affect how your cycle functions while nursing. This explains why in two previous pregnancies I had experienced a period while breastfeeding, but not with the third, my third baby was a piglet–always nursing. Unfortunately, thanks to the volatile nature of hormones while nursing, there is no “normal” menstrual cycle while breastfeeding, but that also means there is no abnormal.

Can you get pregnant while breasting?

Finally, with all those missed or irregular periods, how are you supposed to know if you’re pregnant? Can you get pregnant at all? Yep. It’s a pretty huge misconception that you can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding. In most women fertility is decreased while breastfeeding, but not non-existent. You can be on the look-out for other pregnancy symptoms if you experience no periods at all, especially when protective measures may have failed, or if you want to be extra cautious take a pregnancy test every month.

You may also enjoy:

Menstrual Blood Colors and Textures: What Do They Mean

3 Ways You Can Be Pregnant and Still Have a Period

How Common Are False Pregnancy Tests?

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113 thoughts on “Period While Breastfeeding: Missed or Irregular Periods

  • Kimberly A

    My name is Kim. I have been breastfeeding my LO for almost 17 months (02/10). My first period came back 12/24/2017. It appeared as normal as it was before it left. It started heavy and went about 6 days (my typical norm). This January 2018 no period. My son still breastfeeds. Is something wrong? What are your thoughts? I’d appreciate it!

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      It’s normal to have sporadic periods while breastfeeding, yes, but if you’ve also had unprotected sex, it may be worth taking a pregnancy test just to be sure, as you can become pregnant while breastfeeding.

  • Suraiya

    Hi i posted before about a similar problem but i just need so more advice and some peace of mind. Basically my daughter is 15months old and i did not get my period till she was 1years because i am breastfeeding after that i had a short period very light and then did not bbleed for afew days or weeks then i started to bleed again for afew days and it was like a period but i keep bleeding on and off. When i feel like i need a bowel movement badly i will spot red blood and after a bowel movement i will sometimes have blood too i bleed almost everyday well spot some days i wont but its very regular is it my periods sorting them self out or can it be something to worry about. I will really appreciate your help.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      If you’ve had bleeding on a daily basis for an extended period of time, I’d recommend just seeing your health care provider. It’s entirely possible it is hormonal, but it’s also not really something you typically see in breastfeeding moms without something else going on.

  • jenny

    hi ..this is my 1st baby through cs..copper t inserted on delivery day… i got my periods after my baby completed 6 months..still breast feeding my baby last period was on the 15 aug ..supposed to get it on the 15th aug but did not get it ..just little spotting..and now its nov 16th still no sign of period ..for the past 3 days i hv tender nipples n it hurts when i breast feed her..2 months missed period it normal or i hv a chance of being pregnant.??.i took a home pregnancy test 4 days ago and shows negative ..

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      If you’ve missed 2 months and your test is still negative, pregnancy is very unlikely. A blood test would be the next step if you still suspect pregnancy, but I always tell people that there is no normal while breastfeeding. It’s entirely ok to have irregular cyles and odd symptoms because even small changes in feeding levels can cause hormonal flux.

    • Veronica Cespedes

      My daughter is 15 months and also breastfeeds at night I’m waiting for my period to come and no show and I’m always protected as well. I just get frustrated and start getting nerved thinking I’m pregnant again.