Sometimes Normal, Sometimes Huge Mystery

You may have heard that sometimes women don’t start ovulating and menstruating until their babies have weaned. Will this happen to you?

Breastfeeding mom and baby

Ask a breastfeeding mom when she got her period back and you’ll get a huge variety of answers. Six months. A year. When I weaned. Six weeks. Eight months.

Exclusive breastfeeding

Exclusive breastfeeding can certainly help keep it away -- that is, all nursing all the time. No supplemental bottles. No pacifiers. No baby food. However, it’s no guarantee -- I exclusively breastfed my kids until they were five or six months old and twice it came back at four months (I did continue nursing them for longer than that, however). With my current nursling, I was period free for eight months and it was amazing. I’ve heard of moms who didn’t see their Diva Cup or tampons until their babies weaned -- even at around 18 months. Obviously I got ripped off.

Return to regularity

You may think that once your period returns, you will be more or less on the same schedule you were on before your baby was born. The thing is, you can’t count on a regular period until a while after you wean -- which means that ovulation doesn’t always take place at your regularly scheduled time, either. If you’re hoping to avoid getting pregnant for some time, make sure you’re using protection or are thoroughly versed in natural family planning.

Some women go back to normal once Aunt Flo returns, but so many more do not -- so it could go either way for you. Some moms report that they go back to their old 28-day schedule. Other moms never know when to expect their monthly visitor.

A general timeframe

Usually -- but of course, not always -- your period returns once your baby starts breastfeeding less. The introduction of solid foods, sippy cups of water or formula supplementation can slow down your production of prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk production. This is also the good guy that keeps your periods away.

Tell us!

What has been your experience if you’re a breastfeeding mom?

More on breastfeeding

Breastfeeding as a working mom
Ten breastfeeding myths you should never fall for
How to breastfeed twins

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