Breastfeeding has been considered as natural contraceptive method since old times. It can be true for some women, who may not ovulate at all, till breastfeeding continues. But, in certain women, even after breastfeeding ovulation could start appearing after a few weeks or months or years, in spite of continual breastfeeding.
This can be attributed to different body set up, hormonal balance and varying breastfeeding patterns. Hence, one cannot consider breastfeeding as sole contraceptive method as there is no fixed time when ovulation may start appearing. The period during which lactation suppresses menstruation and fertility in women is called as lactation amenorrhea.
Menstruation And Breastfeeding Concerns
Mensturation During Breastfeeding
Everything is normal with respect to return of periods during breastfeeding. All women observe a postpartum bleeding, following birth that should not be mistaken as menstrual period. Breastfeeding suppresses menstruation for minimum of a few weeks and then menstruation may appear after weeks, months or years while still breastfeeding.
In some women, it may appear only after complete weaning. Irrespective of when menses reinitiate post pregnancy, all is considered normal as it is entirely based on a number of factors like women’s body chemistry, hormonal responsiveness during breastfeeding, nursing times, use of pacifier or bottle, introduction of solids and baby’s sleeping duration at night. It depends on reduction of breast stimulation by any unforeseen reason, the moment it is decreased, menstruation can return soon.
Irregular Menstruation – Not A Matter Of Concern
During lactation, even after return of menstruation, there can be irregularities in menstrual cycles. Nursing women may show shorter or extended duration of their menstrual cycles. None of these irregularities of period is abnormal, not even skipping period and finding it to return after a few months.
Changes Observed With Menstruation During Breastfeeding
Re-initiation of menstruation post delivery is the mark of return of fertility. Women must ensure to take necessary measures to prevent getting pregnant again.
Temporary Drop In Breast Milk Supply
Start of menstruation during breastfeeding should not be misinterpreted as discontinuation time for breastfeeding. Breast milk remains the same, does not turn bad or sour and is no less in nutrition as compared to times before menstruation. Though, a temporary drop in milk supply may be observed in a few women, prior and during the menses period.
This is owing to hormonal fluctuations that happen with menstruation. Once the hormone levels normalize, milk supply boost back to earlier high levels. Babies can easily pass through this temporary phase with frequent nursing than before.
Change Of Breast Milk Taste
Few babies may find a little change in the breast milk’s taste, just before a period due to hormonal changes. During these menstrual days, babies may feel disinterested or less enthusiastic for breastfeeding and may nurse less. But, it should not be a concern as babies will be still able to suffice their needs.
During ovulation phase of menstruation, some women may experience nipple tenderness and a few may even find nipple tenderness just before the period days too.
Nursing mothers may experience an antisiness feeling while nursing, during days of nipple tenderness. This is also influenced by hormonal changes and remains a temporary phase.
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