When should your periods start when exclusively breastfeeding?

Marisa - posted on 12/05/2010 ( 76 moms have responded )

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Mine seem to have come back and my daughter has only just turned 8 weeks old.

I feel like I have done something wrong as I have been told that if you feed on demand, do not use a dummy, carry your baby in a sling and cosleep then your periods should not come back until you stop breastfeeding. I do all of these things but they have started already. Am I just unlucky?!

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow so am going to ask then but just wondered what other Mums experiences are?

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Lisa - posted on 12/15/2010

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Mine came back at about 7 weeks. I was terrified, as my prenatal instructor had told me that I wouldn't get it until I'd finished breastfeeding. Turns out that's not true. I'm still as regular as clockwork - though my periods are a LOT heavier than they ever were - and we're still breastfeeding at 15 months. Don't worry.

A - posted on 12/15/2010

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I think the cosleeping, baby wearing, and pacifiers do play a role for the majority of women. THe reason being, its the suckling at the breast that stimulates the prolactin levels in the mom. Its when the prolactin levels drop is when menstruation returns. If a child is using a pacifier in place of the mom (which is what it was designed to do- replace the breast) then its not stimulating the milk production and prolactin in the mom. Babywearing and cosleeping help keep the child close to the breasts and therefore encourage feeding children on demand, which in turn stimulates production and prolactin. So while everyone is different, I think those things do play a critical part in it.

A - posted on 12/15/2010

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Are you sure its a period, or is it light spotting? I would spot periodically for a day- it was a little pink in my cervical mucous, but not bleeding like a period. So if you just saw a little blood and assumed, you may not get a full blown period. Or you may!

Like many other women have said, every woman is different. I exclusively breastfed my son but I started following some bad advice and put my son on a feeding schedule for a short time. Once I did, I got my period back. It was 8 months post partum. Like I said I did spot sometimes though in that 8 months.

My sister however, got her periods back right away. So everyone is different. I think when you EBF the *majority* of women see a delayed return, but just because you don't doesnt mean you're doing anything wrong. Also, are you taking birth control? That may have an effect too. It may also have to do with supply. For example, my sister always had an oversupply. Her children only nursed for a short amount of time because of it, because there was so much milk. So maybe since she had plenty of milk and they didn't have to nurse as long, there was less prolactin stimulation from the breast. Me on the other hand my son nursed for 45 minutes straight at a time when he was a newborn. I'm sure many different factors can play in to it, but your body is going to do what its going to do. Keep in mind you may notice a SLIGHT decrease in supply before or during your period, but there's no need for concern- your child may just nurse a couple extra times or for a little longer. Its never effected my son. I'm still nursing him and he's 18 months now.

Jennifer Ann Saunders - posted on 12/15/2010

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Mine came back when my son was 9 months old and I called the doctor concerned as I was still nursing.

The answer I recieved was that every body is different, and as I talked to friends, theirs all came back at different times, even though you were nursing.

Good luck!

Michelle - posted on 12/18/2010

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You just one of us not so lucky ones. I got my period back 6 weeks after my first was born and every 4 weeks after that until I decided it was time to try for #2. I was EBF and on the minipill and it didn't make one ounce of difference. When my second child was born I had a whole 8 weeks without a period. I guess some of us just havve bodies that get back into the swing of things quickly.

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Amanda - posted on 05/26/2013

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i exculsively breastfeed my baby for six months then my period return and i have been having my period every two weeks since it return.
just want to know if anyone experience the same thing

Liz - posted on 12/19/2010

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it can start any time,some woman get it straight after having the baby.mine were when they started on soilds.good luck.

Sibonginkosi - posted on 12/19/2010

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You arenot alone Marisa. Iam breastfeeding my 3 month old son but my periods started when he was 3 weeks old and they have done so every month from then

Michelle - posted on 12/16/2010

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I guess it is different for everyone, my daughter is 15 months, eats a TON of solids on top of breastfeeding, I still haven't even seen a trace of a period. I'm not complaining about it, but it really did make it impossible to space my kids closer together!

Ayanti - posted on 12/16/2010

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That's perfectly normal. My periods started on their own when my son was just around 1.5 months.And it's been regular since and I've been breastfeeding him till date. although am stopping now. Every woman's body reacts differently to childbirth. Especially the normal delivery. So just take it as it comes...

Rachel - posted on 12/15/2010

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i don't think you've done anything wrong, just unlucky, like you suggested. I breastfed for 13 months and my periods didn't come back for another couple months after that, when I started hormonal birth control. it's different for every woman. i personally don't think that the cosleeping, baby-wearing, no pacifier, has anything to do with it though, just the breastfeeding.

Amy - posted on 12/15/2010

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I hear it's different with everyone. Some have regular periods right away, I guess. I didn't start my period again until two months after my son completely weaned.

Michelle - posted on 12/15/2010

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Its definitely worth talking to your doctor about, but it does sound like post partum bleeding to me, it also may not be an actual period but a phantom caused by the hormonal changes your body is going through. All women are different in this too, my son is 20mo and I only just got my period again a month ago, it had been 2 1/2 years since my last, when I told my friend this she was shocked as she had hers return when her daughter was 6mo and she is exclusively bf. It seems that there is no rule here so don't feel like you have failed or done something wrong if you are menstruating again. Fingers crossed that it isn't though, it has been lovely missing mine for so long and welcoming it back like a long lost friend when it returned :o)

Carolyn - posted on 12/15/2010

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The same thing happened to me. I had post partum bleeding for about a week (and it wasn't heavy at all). Then I got my period the day of my 6 week appointment (I was actually 7 weeks post partum at this appointment). Then I didn't get another one until my daughter was 3 months - but it was like a "mini" period. It was light and lasted only a few days. It seems it may have returned for real this time though because I have gotten it the past two months (my daughter is 6 1/2 months now) and they have been like normal periods - worse actually in terms of cramping, heavier bleeding, and back pain. :-/ How did your doctor's appointment go?

Amber - posted on 12/14/2010

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mine came back within 3 months. I was also doing all the "right" things and it just did not happen for me. It just depends on your hormones.

Sara - posted on 12/12/2010

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Just unlucky... the same thing happened to me. My period returned at 12 weeks after my 1st, and 9 weeks after my second, even though I was exclusively breastfeeding. Not fair, but that's just the way it worked for me, too!

Hayley Jayne - posted on 12/12/2010

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Hi, I think everyone is different, it can come back anytime after 6 weeks to a year when breastfeeding. My daughter just turned one and I just received my first period! I wouldn't worry about it.

Tine - posted on 12/12/2010

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You havn't done anything wrong, your body just works the way it works!
Some women just get thier period back really early, or you may just get one and then it could stop again for a while. I had mine return in my daughter's second year, which is common, (although I had one at 6 months then it stopped again) but there are plenty of women who start menstruating again soon after the birth even though they are exclusively breastfeeding.

The other possibility is that it could still be bleeding post - birth - I still had bleeding for nearly 3 months after the birth (turned out I had a bit of retained placenta that emerged when my daughter was 18 months old!!) so that is worth asking your Dr about.

If it's your regular period back, bummer, but nothing to worry about! :-) :-)
BTW, love your parenting style! Very much where I'm coming from too!! :-) :-)

Jaimi - posted on 12/11/2010

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I am still BF my 20 month old and have not had a period since I found out I was pregnant with him..Guess I'm lucky !

Katherine - posted on 12/11/2010

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i agree, every woman is different. it's been a year since my 2nd was born, nothing yet, but my postpartum clearing lasted 5 weeks. same as with my 1st. it all evens out i guess :)

Sarah - posted on 12/11/2010

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Mine came back when my first was 11 months old and it hasn't come back yet this time and my daughter is 6 months old. I've heard all kinds of things though, it seems to me just about anything can be normal!

Melanie - posted on 12/10/2010

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In my mothers group it was a huge variation. Mine were14 months with my 1st two & 9 months with my 2nd two. Other friends came back at 6 weeks.

Amberlin - posted on 12/10/2010

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My bleeding stopped in 5 days after having my baby... i breastfeed and have yet to get my period back... and shes 2 months old... but i wouldnt worry bout it at all

Allison - posted on 12/10/2010

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I have heard it depends on how much baby eats, and that for your period to stay away the baby has to eat every 2-3 hours all day AND night. My son stuck to this until he was 18 months, and as soon as night feedings cut back to once or less, my period came back.

Shavanda - posted on 12/10/2010

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not true i started breastfeeding immediately and i still started my period at bout 8 weeks after my baby was born. it's fine just because your breastfeeding doesn't mean you will stop your period

Ania - posted on 12/10/2010

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It happens for some women. Mine came back after 9 months and then dissapeard again. How often do you nurse? if its less than 3-4 h day and night then maybe thats why it came back so fast, but there are no rules in this you may still not be ovulating even if you have your period

Shontelle - posted on 12/09/2010

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my post partum bleed stopped at 4weeks then started getting my period when my daughter was 6weeks old i was hoping i wouldnt get it till after i stopped b.f was enjoying not having it but i was unlucky

Mindy - posted on 12/09/2010

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They can come back as quick as 6 weeks, or as long as a year - even if you only breastfeed. Mine came back at 6 months :( Grr...was hoping to avoid them a bit longer!

Colleen - posted on 12/09/2010

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Every woman is different. My daughter is 8 months and I have not gotten mine (and we would love to be pregnant again, so I'd actually love to get my period back so we can really try!). Our daughter has been sleeping through the night since she was three months and has had solid foods added to breastfeeding twice a day. Each woman's body does her own thing. It's not something we can really control.

Jodi - posted on 12/09/2010

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I think "normal" is all over the board. after my first child, I got my period after 7 months. With my second, I still haven't gotten it, and she will be 1 yr. in two weeks! Crazy!

[deleted account]

I didn't get my period back until my son was 8 or 9 months old. I have heard that even with on demand feeding some moms start early just depends on how your body works although I do think most of the time you won't start for at least a few months. Do you know who the Duggars are? The mom says she is one of those ppl who are fertile almost right away even though she exc. breastfeeds (they don't use birth control and have like 20 kids)

Megan - posted on 12/09/2010

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i breastfed both my kids and both times it came right after my bleeding from the baby no brake for me.

Jeany - posted on 12/09/2010

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There is a wide diversity of women's experiences in terms of return of menstruation. For me, it was 18months the first two times. The third time, I expected it to be longer, as I continued tandem feeding for longer, but menstruation returned at 16 months. You could see yourself as unlucky or as lucky - there will be no suggestion of needing to wean in order to conceive again,so you can happily plan to breastfeed through your next pregnancy and tandem feed after that (if your little one co-operates).

Elise - posted on 12/08/2010

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mine came back when my daughter started sleeping through the night without a feed at 9 months old. im guessing it was because of the longer gap between feeds.

Kassie - posted on 12/08/2010

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Mine didn't come back till I started giving my son solids when he was five months old. I was not cosleeping, was feeding on demand, not carrying him in a sling, was using a pacifier. A friend of mine was doing ALL the things you are doing and hers came back 26 DAYS after she gave birth to her son, so she had NO break at all. It all depends on your body, and what is normal for you is going to be different that what is normal for someone else. You have not done anything wrong, it is just what is normal for YOUR body.

Marie-Pier - posted on 12/08/2010

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I guess i am lucky my daughter is 6 months and I didnt get nothing yet it encourage me to breastfeed longer!! loll i always do pregnancy test just in case...I always think i am pregnant again :)

[deleted account]

I did the same as you are and got mine back when my daughter was 2 months old. It was very irregular though. My cycle was between 30 and 49 days apart.

Nomusa - posted on 12/08/2010

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Normally as long as you're breastfeeding you dont get a period it depends on how much you breastfeed anyway. I stopped breastfeeding my son when he was 1yr and 2wks but didnt get my period till he was about 14months. dont worry about it everyone is different it doesnt mean u did n e thing wrong.

Ashley - posted on 12/08/2010

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I exclussively breastfed my son for the first 4 months and then started supplementing...and i didnt have a period until he was 9 months old...everyone is different. With my daughter I breastfed her and never had a period she was about 7 months old and then i found out i was pregnant with my son..lol.. so if you don't want another anytime soon, period or not take birth control.

Ashley - posted on 12/08/2010

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I always get mine back as soon as my post-partum bleeding ends... not everyone is lucky in that department.

Emilee - posted on 12/08/2010

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With my first son i didn't get my first real period until the day after he turned one(I breastfed him for 14 months) and with my second son I got my first real period when he was just about 12 weeks old. It varies from person to person and from baby to baby.

Rebekah - posted on 12/08/2010

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Aww. I feel for you. Mine didn't return until I quit nursing. In fact, I weaned my daughter at 14 months and started taking birth control pills when she was 16 months to jump start it.

Julia - posted on 12/08/2010

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My daughter is 8 months. I was exclusively breastfeeding for 4 months then I supplemented for 1 month, exclusive again for 2 more months then recently started supplementing again. I have not started my period yet? are you on the minipill? that may have something to do with it. Ask your doctor if it really bothers you.

Malarie - posted on 12/07/2010

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Every woman is different...my daughter is 15 months and i still nurse her at night and i still havent gotten a period...But dont worry girly you havent done anything wrong!

Elysia - posted on 12/07/2010

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ur not the only one. i felt very jipped as i was told this as well, yet with both my children 6weeks they were back. just like all pregnancies are different so are the after affects. And remeber that exclusive breastfeeding is not a form of contraception either, that is how my gorgeous daughter came into this world.

Momof1 - posted on 12/07/2010

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My son is one year 3 weeks and I still don't have mine. :) I think it is just the luck of the draw sometimes. I'm obviously not EBF anymore and he's been sleeping 12 hours a night since 9 months. But I am also on the mini pill. Are you taking any type of birth control?

Amanda - posted on 12/07/2010

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my baby is 6 months on the 15th.. i havnt gottenmine yet i BF but she takes a sucky and is on solids 2x a day n she sleeps mostly in her room .. some pple are just un lucky :(

Mary - posted on 12/07/2010

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Yep, you're just unlucky. You are doing everything correctly. With my first I never got my period back. I nursed exclusively for 9 months, no period. Then I introduced one solid in the day time, still nursed before it and after it, but then I got pregnant at 10 months. I must've started ovulating whenever I introduced that one solid. :( But now I have my beautiful second daughter, Tandem nursing my 26.5 month old and my 7 .5 month old, never stopped nursing while pregnant, always nursed both of them. & still go my period back at 3 months pp this time around. It just happens sometimes. :) Keep up the good work Mama! You are doing what's best!

Katie - posted on 12/07/2010

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My daughter's 8 months today, and I still haven't gotten mine. With my mom, she never got one between my brother and I (we're 22 1/2 months apart. I did the math, he was around 1 when she got pregnant with me.) She said that I was around 8 months when she got it back after having me. I've been having cramps off and on for around 2 months, so I think that my period might be trying to come back. I'm really not missing it though. Not looking forward to having it come back, but I know that it will eventually though. Lol I bled after she was born for 6-7weeks. She started solids at 4 1/2 months, so I'm kind of supprsed that I haven't gotten it back yet, but as I said, I'm not missing it.

Rachel - posted on 12/07/2010

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I EBF and I got mine back pretty much immediately I spotted at 4 weeks at 8 I had a partial period and at 3 months I got the full blown thing.... I was really disappointed.... and I have had it every month since.... till I got preg again :P

and my son refused anythign but my milk till 9 months.

Cat - posted on 12/07/2010

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Sometimes it's not a real period, but just kind of some extra postpartum blood. Even if it is a period, you may not get another one for a year or more. Postpartum periods - particularly while breastfeeding - tend to be regular and unpredictable, so don't worry! :)

Radhika - posted on 12/07/2010

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my baby is 1 1/2 months old and I still haven't got my periods.wonder when they would start.....

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