Are you wondering when your period will return while breastfeeding and how your period will affect your milk supply? We have these answers and more including pain management options while breastfeeding.
There are so many questions surrounding breastfeeding and periods, with so much info out there it is hard to know when will your period come back while breastfeeding. Every woman’s body is different and every breastfeeding journey is unique.
So we are breaking it all down for you! From when your period will come back, if it will affect your milk supply, and how to manage period pain while breastfeeding.
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When Will My Period Come Back?
There is no set time as to when your period will come back after delivery.
Some women see their periods come back as early as six weeks while some women do not get their period until their child weans.
Most of the time, women who are exclusively breastfeeding do see their period stay
If you are exclusively breastfeeding you could be without your period longer than those that are:
- Breastfeeding but not exclusively.
- Using a bottle.
- When your baby starts sleeping for longer stretches throughout the night.
- Going longer than four hours at any point during a feed.
The reason why many women do not get a period is that your body does not release hormones in your body that prepare you for a new pregnancy.
Of course, do not use this as a form of birth control unless you are following the strict requirements in order to qualify as using the LAM method – learn more about that method here.
Will my period affect my milk supply?
Many breastfeeding moms wonder if their period will affect their milk supply as well as the taste of the breast milk.
For many moms, their period should not affect milk supply. You will be able to continue to breastfeed your baby like normal with no issues.
However, there are many moms who suffer from problems with their milk supply or letdown due to their menstrual cycle – myself included! This drop can happen when you are ovulating, a few days before your period, or right as your period starts.
Regardless, there are few things more frustrating than having a baby frantically suckling at the breast and feeling as if your supply has dropped out of nowhere!
In my situation, I actually found that my supply actually was still plentiful – but what happened was that my letdown was extremely slow. As soon as it comes, the milk flows just fine. But if I didn’t have a very patient baby who will switch back and forth until he gets his milk, it could have been a different story.
If you find yourself in that situation – or you really have seen an actual drop in milk – I definitely recommend switch nursing.
But to help prevent the situation altogether…here’s what you should try.
Calcium and Magnesium for Milk Supply During Breastfeeding
This is a recommendation I learned about a few years ago, and I think it can be extremely helpful. Of course, always talk with your medical provider before starting any new vitamin supplementation.
From the time you ovulate until the first few days of your period, you can consider taking a calcium and magnesium supplement. From the time you ovulate until your period starts, you are experiencing a decrease in calcium in your body, and for some, this can be the culprit of a drop in milk supply (along with other uncomfortable period side effects, like cramping and weight gain).
The amount you should take can vary depending on your diet and current intake of these ingredients through your food. Calcium is best absorbed with other vitamins, which is why it’s recommended to take it with magnesium.
If you take more than the minimum dosage of 500 mg, you should split it up throughout the day. The amounts needed can vary between 500 and 1500 mg of calcium, and 250 and 750 mg of magnesium. Be sure to talk with your care provider to determine what is best for you and how to take it.
I do recommend getting a high-quality calcium and magnesium supplement. Here are a few recommendations that you can get on Amazon – and, of course, talk with your doctor for their recommendation.
- NOW Calcium and Magnesium – this is a combo option that should have enough to start out! You would likely need to take one pill at a time to make sure you don’t get more than 500 mg of calcium at once
- Vitamin Code Raw Calcium
- Amazon Elements Calcium (this does have Vitamin D3 as well)
- Rite Aid Calcium Supplement
- Plant Fusion Calcium
- Doctor’s Best Magnesium
- Magnesium Calm – I LOVE this. It has 325 mg of calcium in one serving, so a little less. But it tastes great and is good for anxiety as well.
- Sundown Magnesium
There are some moms who have their supply drop drastically during their period and can only improve it during that time with a prescription medication. If this is your situation, you can reach out to your doctor for advice.
Change in Milk Taste During Period
Although your supply might not change, your baby might notice a change in milk flavor. For most babies, they won’t even notice the milk tasting differently, but for those that do you might notice your baby not eating as much or not as interested in nursing as much as normal.
This is due to the composition changes that happen around ovulation, where the levels of sodium and chloride increase while the lactose (which tends to make breast milk sweeter) decreases. It can result in your milk tasting a little saltier.
Don’t worry though! Once your period is over your milk will return to its normal flavor and your baby will be nursing like a champ again! Most babies do not notice.
How to Treat Nipple Tenderness during Period
We all know that our bodies are a little more sensitive and tender while we are on our period and leading up to it! This can make nipple sensitivity heightened, which can be quite uncomfortable.
Although it may be difficult and painful you will want to still continue to breastfeed your baby while they are tender. Stopping breastfeeding can cause breastfeeding problems such as mastitis, clogged ducts, and engorgement as well as your supply decreasing.
If you are experiencing nipple tenderness try these tips:
- Take Warm showers- Warm showers help with breast tenderness, so when in pain take a warm shower.
- Try over the counter pain relief that is safe while breastfeeding, consult your doctor.
- Try a different latch- sometimes it is the position that is causing more tenderness, so switch it up and see if that relieves some of the pain.
Here are some additional tips for treating sore and cracked nipples.
Pain Management during Period while Breastfeeding
There is often pain associated with breastfeeding. Cramps during your period are sometimes so painful it will make you just want to curl up in a ball in pain.
These eight pain management techniques can help manage the pain of your period and are safe to take/do while breastfeeding.
Take Over the Counter Pain Relief
Pain relievers are a great way to get some relief from your period. They help manage the pain you are experiencing such as back pain and cramping.
Tylenol, Ibuprofen and Naproxen are all safe to take while breastfeeding but always consult your doctor first if you have any underlying health issues or are not sure if you should take it or not.
A heating pad offers great relief to your back and lower abdomen when experiencing discomfort or cramps. You may also apply heat by taking a warm bath or using a hot water bottle. The heat helps relax you and also reduces the blood vessels to allow better blood flow to your uterus.
It is proven that reducing or eliminating caffeine from your diet can help with period pain. So rather than reaching for your favorite caffeinated soda or coffee try drinking lemon water or even carbonated water if you are craving a bubbly drink.
Massaging Lower Back
A great way to help decrease your period cramps and back pain is to massage your lower back. You can get an at home electric massager that can help reduce the pain you are feeling from cramping or make your spouse do it for you!
Try Doing Some Simple Yoga Poses
Did you know that yoga can help decrease menstrual cramping? If you practice yoga once a week for three months you will start to see less cramping and pain.
If you practice yoga while on your period, be sure you do not do any inverted poses because you do not want it to interfere with your natural flow.
Drink Herbal Tea
Did you know that some herbal teas can help relieve cramps?
Try drinking Chamomile or peppermint teas to help with cramping and will aslo help calm your body.
Magnesium also helps relieve cramping. Try increasing your intake of magnesium by eating:
- Black beans
- Peanut Butter
If you choose to take Magnesium supplements instead, be sure to consult your doctor first.
While you are on your period exercise is sometimes the last thing you want to think about, but it actually helps with period pain.
As you exercise your body releases natural endorphins. These endorphins have a pain-relieving effect on your body. So try aerobic exercise or walking to help boost these endorphins.
There you have it! Your complete guide to breastfeeding and periods! How do you handle period pain while breastfeeding? Share in the comments!