Periods + Breastfeeding

Let’s talk about breastfeeding + periods. When did your period come back after giving birth? For me, it came around 9 months postpartum. It was really nice not having a period for 18 months and it was one less thing to worry about. Yet, it was also nice to have it again knowing I am not pregnant (yet). Once it did come back, it was a lot heavier and painful than before having kids. For me, it felt like it even worse after each kid. Though it became more regular after having kids. Which was comforting because my periods were so irregular before kids.

Lactational amenorrhea is the term used when all mothers who are fully breastfeeding their babies are free of menstrual periods for 3 – 6 months or longer. (La Leche League International 2019) There’s a myth that your periods won’t come back while you’re breast-feeding which is totally not true. Also there’s a myth that “Any amount of breastfeeding will prevent pregnancy, regardless of the frequency of breastfeeding or whether mom’s period has returned” (KellyMom 2018) It really depends on the woman and how our bodies function. Also, it depends on frequency of breastfeeding and duration of the feeding. There are some cultures who believe that night nursing can also slow down the return of fertility and their periods. Introducing solids or supplementing with formula can also be another factor for fertility return. PThere are some women who get their periods a month or two after giving birth and there’s some that don’t have a period for at least 18 months. Though, that is not to say that a woman can’t get pregnant even if her period hasn’t returned and has been nursing. However, that is very rare.

Hormonal fluctuations during your period can affect milk but there are some ways to maintain your supply and relieve the pain naturally while you’re still breast-feeding.

  • If you’re regular and you know when your cycle will begin and end, it is advisable to start using lactation supplements to help maintain or increase your supply so that once you have your period your milk does not dip. I like using legendairy milk.
  • While mid-cycle up until day 3 on your period taking extra vitamins like magnesium and calcium will also help maintain your supply. A daily dose of 500-1,000 mg of both is recommended. I get mine from Trader Joe’s.
  • Some of my favorite products to use during my period (not related to breastfeeding) are:
    • CBD- this is not for everyone and it’s really a personal choice for all moms who nurse if they want to use it or not. I didn’t start using it until my daughter was a year old and I only nurse her when we’re together (before and after work) and she also eats regular food now. I use a CBD Calm roller from Nature’s Ultra for as a natural pain support for my cramps. I like applying mine below my abdomen.
    • Organic non-toxic feminine care products – I like Cora pads, tampons, and liners because they use pure and ethically sourced ingredients. These include GOTS certified organic cotton, plant-based core (for their pads), and BPA-free plastic (for the tampons with applicators). I am also for the mission and vision of their cause. Millions of girls around the world miss school during their periods because they cannot afford to buy pads. With every Cora purchase, the company provide pads and health education to a girl in need. Countries they serve include India, Kenya, and even here in the U.S. On a lighter note, I also love Cora’s packaging for its minimalist design. It doesn’t scream a color saying “Hey I have my period and watch me excuse myself to the bathroom to change!!!!!!!”

    To learn more about Cora visit https://cora.life

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