Breastfeeding And Menstruation

Published on: 24/11/2021 | Last Updated: 08/12/2021
Breastfeeding And Menstruation

You should know that there is no exact time! It can happen at any time after birth.

One of the greatest blessings during these 9 or more months of pregnancy - apart from the baby of course - is the fact that the menstrual cycle is missing. Every woman, whether she has problems during this period or not, finds his absence a "wow" moment. But once you give birth, you know that the blessing will not last long.

Breastfeeding and menstruation

We tend to have many questions and worries about the first menstrual cycle after pregnancy: Will it recover while breastfeeding? Will breastfeeding affect? Is this a sign to wean the child? Will the post-pregnancy cycle be different? How will I deal with the pain and discomfort while caring for the newborn?

But the most common is: "When will the first cycle after pregnancy occur?"

You should know that there is no exact time! It can happen at any time after birth. In some women it returns within 2 months after birth, in others it is absent for 2 years, and in others it occurs almost immediately after birth. This is too individual. And all the above situations are completely normal. Even women who have had more than one pregnancy may report that their menstruation resumes at different times after each pregnancy.

 

However, breastfeeding suppresses menstruation for at least some time. Frequent breastfeeding suppresses the release of the hormone prolactin, which causes the body not to start preparing for a new pregnancy, ie ovulation is absent and therefore no menstruation. This period is referred to as lactational amenorrhea. This is nature's way of protecting the body from a new pregnancy for a while in order to recover.

The duration of lactational amenorrhea can be weeks, months and even years while breastfeeding continues. It also depends on the physiology of each woman. Some mothers should wean their baby completely before the first cycle. In others, after babies start taking extra food and sleep longer at night, it recovers. In some mothers who exclusively breastfeed their babies, the cycle resumes after 2-3 months, and in others whose children have already switched to solid foods, it is still absent and may be absent for a year. Everything is too individual and, as experts say, is considered normal.

How will breastfeeding affect the menstrual cycle?

The greatest effect of breastfeeding on menstruation is observed in women who practice it exclusively and on demand. Here are the principles that are followed in this type of breastfeeding:

 

  • exclusive breastfeeding of the baby (this means that he does not take any other food or fluid during the first 6 months of life);
  • soothe the baby on your chest;
  • do not use silicone nipples and bottles;
  • share the night's sleep with the baby to provide him with breastfeeding at night;
  • share daily sleep to provide him with breastfeeding again if he wishes;
  • feed the child on request, avoid schedules;
  • avoid any practices that restrict breastfeeding or weaning.

With all this in mind, you can slow down the return of the cycle. How to:

  • Breastfeed your baby on demand. The more you breastfeed your baby, the less chance there is of the cycle recovering. It is good to have at least 6 feedings a day.
  • Breastfeed your baby at night. The main reason why menstruation recovers too quickly is that nighttime breastfeeding is eliminated. It is good to breastfeed at least once a night.
  • Feed your baby solid foods after 6 months.
  • Avoid the use of artificial grains.
  • Many mothers who practice these principles strictly can delay their cycle by an average of about 14 months.

 

 

How will the menstrual cycle affect breastfeeding?

You have probably already accepted the fact that the menstrual cycle must be restored sooner or later, even if you are breastfeeding. So the next important question is: How will it affect him?

Will the taste of milk change?

Yes, there will be a slight change due to hormonal changes during ovulation and menstruation. You may notice this change if your baby suddenly pulls away from your breast after being twisted. However, this does not mean that the milk is bad or that you should start weaning the baby. It just means that it tastes different and the baby feels it. You do not have to worry - the taste will return to normal in a few days.

 

Will the supply of milk decrease?

Yes, there may be a decline in milk production. You will notice this when your baby requires more frequent feeding. Again, this is caused by hormonal changes. After the menstrual period has passed and the hormones have stabilized, milk production will rise again.

Will the milk be so nutritious during menstruation?

Absolutely! Your breast milk will continue to be the best you can offer your baby. It will be as healthy and nutritious as before.

Will you encounter any difficulties during breastfeeding?

Yes, maybe. Nipple sensitivity is something that most women complain of during menstruation after pregnancy. This may cause some discomfort during breastfeeding, but will go away again.

It all seems very complicated. Wouldn't it be easier to wean your baby? When to wean a child is definitely your decision, but menstruation should not be a contributing factor to this decision. All the changes you feel are just a game of hormones and everything will stabilize. Your milk is still the most useful food for the baby. And breastfeeding during a cycle does not pose a health threat to you or your baby.

What is normal after the cycle returns?

For some time it can be volatile and variable. It is not uncommon for it to be shorter or longer than normal before breastfeeding, to be more sparse or abundant, and it is also possible to have months again in which the cycle is absent. A missed cycle during breastfeeding is normal. Once you start limiting breastfeeding time and the number of feedings, the cycle will adjust.

When menstruation resumes, you will need to take measures if you want to prevent another pregnancy. Many women consider the first menstrual period after childbirth as a warning sign that it is now possible to become pregnant. But keep in mind that pregnancy is possible before her return, although quite rarely.

For many years, women have used breastfeeding as a method of protection against pregnancy. Researchers at Georgetown University have developed a method of birth control associated with lactational amenorrhea. To say that it is effective and the chances of pregnancy are less than 2%, the following things must be valid:

  • the baby is under 6 months old;
  • the menstrual cycle has not yet been restored;
  • the baby should be exclusively breastfed on request.

Can you get pregnant while breastfeeding but still not menstruate?

Although this article is not about pregnancy, we will look at this issue as well, as it is one of the biggest misconceptions of all. Yes, technically, menstruation is a sign of ovulation and you can only get pregnant after an egg is released. However, you should know that ovulation is possible before the first menstrual cycle. So if you do not use protective equipment it is possible to get pregnant!

 

How can you and your baby feel more comfortable during menstruation?

Take care of yourself first: Use comfortable sanitary napkins. Experts do not recommend tampons, as there is a higher risk of bacterial infections. To prevent these, it is good to change the bandages every 4 hours.

 

Baby Care: Lack of milk is what will worry you the most. One of the easiest ways to do this is to feed your baby more often. You can also focus on natural ways to increase breast milk - such as fenugreek seeds, iron-rich foods such as meat and green leafy vegetables in your diet. Taking a multivitamin can also help. If you decide to take medicines, you will need to consult your doctor.

More information can be found in the topics:

  • "How to increase and maintain lactation"
  • "How to feed a breastfeeding woman"

When should you see a doctor for a post-pregnancy cycle consultation?

So far we have said that everything is normal when it comes to menstruation after pregnancy. However, watch out for the following signs and if you notice them, it is advisable to consult a doctor to make sure that everything is fine with you.

  • If the bleeding lasts for more than a week and has a bright red color everywhere (usually the bleeding becomes darker or lighter towards the end).
  • While the accumulation of blood clots on the dressing is normal, larger ones, if seen frequently, should be checked by a doctor (you can probably judge what is not normal for you in terms of the size of blood clots and the frequency of their occurrence) .
  • If the leaks have a very bad smell, this may be a sign of an infection and you need to consult a doctor again.
  • If you feel pain that is much stronger and different from the usual menstrual cramps so far.
  • If you think that your period is coming to an end as the amount and color decrease, then suddenly you start seeing bright red bleeding again.

Tips for increasing milk production and relieving symptoms

In some women during ovulation or in the days before the cycle (and maybe in both cases) there is an increased sensitivity of the nipples. This, combined with the decline in breast milk, is becoming an increasing challenge.

  • To deal with the symptoms of malaise you can take a combined supplement of 1500 mg. calcium and about 400 mg. magnesium (always take together, never separately). This will regulate the cycle and help prevent nipple tenderness, maintain milk supply and also prevent uterine cramps.
  • An evening primrose tablet a day can also help relieve sore nipples.

Breastfeeding has a powerful effect on the body. Lactational amenorrhea is a normal, healthy part of the reproductive cycle that provides mothers with a natural break from the fertile period. Many scientists believe that its prolonged use may help explain the lower chances of developing ovarian, endometrial and breast cancer found in breastfeeding women.

 

More on the topic:
  • How to feed a breastfeeding woman
  • Diarrhea in breastfed babies
  • How to eliminate nighttime breastfeeding
  • Natural means of stopping breast milk


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