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Spotting/Period While Exclusivley Breastfeeding

Hi Ladies! Quick question... I have exclusivley breastfed my 9 month old baby since birth. Today I started what seems to be my period (maybe just heavy spotting) for the first time since Jan '07 :(
I thought as long as I was breastfeeding I wouldn't have a period. Just wondering if anyone else has had a period or spotting while EBF?? Should I be concerned???
Thank You!!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Definately not rare.
I exclusively BF (1 yr) and, with first child, had period at TWO MONTHS!!! Second child was at THREE MONTHS...I was always envious of you moms who had a long absence of aunt flow ;0)

1 mom found this helpful

I've been exclusively breast feeding my son for over a year and have had my period since about two months after my c-section. Doctor seemed shocked but didn't really say much since he's growing well.

1 mom found this helpful

Sorry and welcome back to reality!! You are now fertile again and will probably have regular periods so be very careful if you don't want to get pregnant again. I have breastfed exclusivley all my children and never lasted more then a few months without a period it sucks but there it is. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

That is very nice that you have experienced 9 months of lactation Ammenorhea. But it is true that some women do see a return of their fertility while exclusively breastfeeding. However keep in mind that if your 9 month old is now enjoying various solids that you are no longer exclusively breastfeeding. It is more common for a woman to see no periods for the first six months of her baby's life while her baby is only nursing and not yet taking solids.

If you are more interested in this topic I would recommend the book "Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing." Shiela Kippley, the author, sets out these seven standards to help a woman maintain lactation amenorrhea:
1. Do exclusive breastfeeidng for the first six months of life; don't use other liquids and solids.
2. pacify your baby at your breasts (that means no thumb sucking either)
3. Don't use bottles and pacifiers.
4. Sleep with your baby for night feedings.
5. Sleep with your baby for a daily nap feeding.
6. Nurse frequently day and night, avoid schedules.
7. Avoid any practice that restricst nursing or separates you from your baby.

From all the cases she looked at, the women who experienced the longest time with no period while breastfeeding tended to follow these seven standards. I think it would be atypical for a woman to get her cycle back early if she were following these standards perfectly. In fact Kippley states that "during the first six months postpartum, ecological hbreastfeeding provides the nursing mother in amenorrhea a total natural 99% rate of infertility"

Now I agree that exclusively breastfeeding is not a good form of spacing babies unless a woman is charting her body's signs of fertility using natural family planning. I say this because everyone's body is different and no woman really wants to get pregnant while her baby is only 3 months old, right? By charting your body's signs of fertility you can notice changes in your body and take the necessary preparations to avoid a pregnancy before you are ready to conceive again.

While nursing my son I enjoyed 12 months of lactation amenorrhea. I followed the seven standards until he turned 9 months when he started solids. But I didn't see a return of my fertility until he started sleeping on his own through the night at 12 months. Now, I have a 4 month old baby girl and I just got my cycle back on Monday! However my little girl wants nothing to do with the seven standards! She doesn't want to sleep next to me at all. She started sleeping 9 hrs straight at night starting at 2 months, and doesn't like to nurse frequently. She sucks her fingers and is a happy girl. I offer the breast often and she turns her head and just sucks those fingers. She's huge too! She was 15lbs at 3 months. So she's thriving. I'm not going to force her to nurse more or sleep next to me if she doesn't want to. so it didn't work out for me this time to enjoy no periods and natural infertility. However my husband and I use the Creighton Method of natural family planning. I have been closely charting my signs of fertility and I saw these changes in my body, and anticipated this early return. In other words, I'm not surprised and I know that I can still space my babies using my natural family planning.

3 moms found this helpful

I have been EBF my 9 month old. My period first returned when she was 4 months old but was very light and only came about every 8 weeks. I was later than 8 weeks this time and took a pregnancy test. We are now expecting #5! If you are not wanting to get pregnant yet, make sure that you are using another form of birth control. Nursing alone is not enough to keep fertility at bay!

1 mom found this helpful

No need to be concerned. A lot of mom's regain their fertility while EBF. With my dd, I was having periods starting before my postpartum bleeding had stopped. With my son, I have had one period and now nothing (he is 6-months now). As your nursing changes, your fertility will also change.

God bless,
A.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello.
I breastfed both my boys exclusively. With my first song I didn't have a period for 15 months.
Second son, I did nothing different, but I had my first period when he was 10 weeks old!
I nursed both my boys until they were about 3.
And remember that it's really not reliable birth control, because you're likely to ovulate BEFORE you have your first period. I know lots of ladies who have become pregnant while nursing, BEFORE they ever had a period.

1 mom found this helpful

I am EBF to my daughter who is almost 8 months old. I still have not had a regular period, although I have had some spotting. It is normal for women to not have a period for awhile but it is also fine to start again (especially if you have started any kind of solid foods as your baby is probably nursing less). I don't think it is that big of an issue but if you are worried talk to your OBGYN. Better to ease your mind than stay worried about it but I think your fine.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S. -

I also EBF and started having a period after about 5-6 months. I guess we are the unlucky ones who did not reap the benefits of no period while breast feeding. This is normal. But keep in mind that you are ovulating if you are having a period so be careful if you are not using birth control! Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,
You were very lucky. With my second daughter, I found out I was pregnant at eight weeks. Yup, I went to my six week check up, and two weeks later, had to make an appointment because I was pregnant again.And I hadn't even started spotting yet. Imagine the news, when my husband found out. Everything was fine, and after the initial shock, we were happy. but you do ovulate while exclusively breastfeeding, and still have a menstrual cycle. I found that out with my other children, as well. We were just a lot more informed our third and fourth time around. We were very careful after that. Good luck with all you do. But yes, only a select few of us get to suffer our menstrual cycle thru breast feeding. No need to be concerned. Be glad you lasted this long. :)

T.

1 mom found this helpful

I am afraid that is onwe of the biggest wives tales around. I got prego and lost the baby while breastfeeding our oldest and I had periods through breastfeeding both our boys. My Grandmother had 2 while breast feeding. They use to say while breast feeding you didn't need the pill because with no periods you could not get pregnant. It happens all the time. Consult your dr if your really worried as there are other methods of birth control other than the pill which I didn't want to take while breastfeeding.

1 mom found this helpful

You were mis-informed. Every woman is different, some women do not resume their periods until after weaning, but many never miss a beat. This is perfectly normal and unless you left anything out, I doubt it's any reason to be concerned. I would talk to your doctor about it as it indicates a hormonal change and you will want to talk to them about your birth control, but consider yourself lucky it held off this long. I exclusively breast fed both of my children. I got my first period 5 months after my first was born, and 2 months after my second.

1 mom found this helpful

My sister-in-law exclusively breastfed her son and started having periods again only 6 WEEKS after he was born. She sure didn't get much of a break, did she?! But I on the other hand went a whole year after my baby was born before I got my period back. I was much luckier! I actually got my first post-pregnancy period right around his first bday... about the same time I stopped nursing. But everyone is different. Sounds like you are perfectly normal! Good luck with the breastfeeding and with your baby!

1 mom found this helpful

I'm pretty sure that I started my period when my daughter was around 9 or 10 months old, she's 3 now. What I do remember is when my period came back after not having it for over a year it made sure I knew and I had HORRIBLE cramps. Breastfeeding was the ONLY thing that made my cramps go away. I don't know what it was about breastfeeding, but it was the only time I felt good during my period. I miss breastfeeding my baby, it was such a great bonding time between baby and me. Continue on!

1 mom found this helpful

if your baby is nine months i think it's about time for your period to return. mine came around 10-11 months with both of mine, while i was still bf-ing. but they were eating some solids by then so the milk demand was lower.

1 mom found this helpful

I've been exclusively breast feeding my son for over a year and have had my period since about two months after my c-section. Doctor seemed shocked but didn't really say much since he's growing well.

1 mom found this helpful

With my first baby I was EBF and he ate ALL THE TIME and I still got my period at month four. Boy was I ticked! LOL With my twins, who are now 9 months old, I was exclusively breastfeeding and am just now introducing regular foods and still no period. I think it just depends on your fertility cycle - how badly does your body want to have more babies, you know? It just depends on your body. You totally have my sympathy though!

1 mom found this helpful

I am exclusively Breastfeeding my daughter who is 8 weeks old today. I started my period/spotting last Thursday! With my son it was right at 6 weeks I sterted my period and I was exclusively breastfeeding him too. Every woman is different you sound nornal to me! A friend of mine was right at 6months and only breastfed both her boys! It does suck getting it back though!

1 mom found this helpful

Sorry and welcome back to reality!! You are now fertile again and will probably have regular periods so be very careful if you don't want to get pregnant again. I have breastfed exclusivley all my children and never lasted more then a few months without a period it sucks but there it is. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

Hello S.,

Just wanted to say there are many levels of normal during breastfeeding. I have 4 children (ages 2.5, almost 4, 10, &15) and breastfed all of them from a range of 4 months to 13 months and my period returned at different times for each of them. FYI, you can get pregnant even if you don't have a period. If you feel like your period isn't normal for you then you should definitely check with your OB/GYN. Good luck to you and kuddos to you for EBF past 3 months.

1 mom found this helpful

ovulation and periods still happen while breastfeeding. So you can still have your period and you can still get pregnant while breast feeding. Like everything else.. everyone is differnt. Some might go back to having a regular period others may not. So unless anything unusual is going on I would not be concerend!

1 mom found this helpful

It's not just exclusively breastfeeding that is the key its feeding on demand. If you feed 'every three hours on the dot' then the hormone levels in your body can drop low enough between feedings that your fertility can come back. I nursed my daughter till she was almost 3 and didn't have a period till she was almost 18 months old. Do start on birth control unless you want to have another child right away. I got pregnant before my first period and the only way I knew was I pregnant again was because I miscarried.
Good luck and a big thumbs up for nursing your little one!!!! :-D

1 mom found this helpful

I think it just depends on the person. My son nursed like crazy and I still started my period about 5 months after he was born...I guess everyone is just different. I was hoping to avoid my period while he nursed but it didn't work out that way.

1 mom found this helpful

Definately not rare.
I exclusively BF (1 yr) and, with first child, had period at TWO MONTHS!!! Second child was at THREE MONTHS...I was always envious of you moms who had a long absence of aunt flow ;0)

1 mom found this helpful

First, this is a myth that started somewhere and isn't true. Most birthing classes will go over this when they talk about bfing and your doctor certainly should have offered birth control and gone over it with you at your postpartum checkup.
That said, some women who nurse around the clock won't get their period but some do within 3 months of giving birth. I think most would agree you are lucky you got to 9 months! Did you start solids and drop a feeding or two? Did your daughter start sleeping through the night? These two things can really affect fertility.
You're fine! I'm sure it's just your period;)

1 mom found this helpful

Many mothers will enjoy a time of delayed fertility while breastfeeding but all good things must come to an end. It really just depends on your body how long that time will last. Research has shown that mothers that breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months and delay and limit solids get an average of 14 months without a period but that is an average. It's nothing to be concerned about and won't affect your supply but you are likely to be fertile again. Frequent nursing with or without a period doesn't guarantee that you won't ovulate either. If you are not planning another pregnancy again soon you will want to track your fertility or take steps to avoid pregnancy. Some mothers will have periods but won't ovulate or only ovulate sometimes so tracking that is helpful. If you don't want to be on birth control or use condoms you can find a really good book called "Your Fertility Signals" that helps you track your fertility naturally, or check out a Natural Family Planning group, they do the same thing.

1 mom found this helpful

my daughter is 10 months old and has been ebf since birth, as was my son before her.
around 6 months i spotted (literally once a day for two days). i thought maybe i was pregnant again because i was cramping and nauseated. then nothing else happened for 2-3 months.

but i wasnt pregnant. that was just my first period.
my OB said that while ebfeeding it is normal for the first few periods to be irregular, sometimes once then not for a while.

after the spotting and the few months without, my period returned regularly. but be prepared.... mine was MUCH heavier the first time, especially the first few days. the next few periods have not been as heavy as that first one, but still heavier than they were before i was pregnant with her.

it IS such an adjustment and bother to have your period again after such a nice long break. but you get used to it again.

best of luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I got mine back after I started introducing solids at 6 months. Have you introduced any solids yet or dropped any feedings at night? As many have said, everyone is different and our wonderful monthly visitor can come back at any time.

1 mom found this helpful

WHile I didn't get my period back till recently (my son is still nursing at 15 months, although not exclusively), it is okay that you have yours - my friend got hers jsut a few months after the birth of her son and he is EBF. I don't think there is cause for concern! Nurse away!

1 mom found this helpful

ok, from my recent recent recent experience let me just say to be very careful and use protection now that you've spotted/or gotten a period. i had one and BOOM i was pregnant. i had 0 symptoms but decided to take a test anyway. just so you know.... you become super fertile after childbirth. no need to worry about EBF, your hormone levels zig zag all the time and eventually, maybe now, you will end up with a period. happened to me and my sster. any other questions please feel free to message me. i learned a lot about this recently so it's all nice and fresh in my head.

1 mom found this helpful

I had a period about 2 months after having my first son. I have my period about a month after having my second son. At 9 months, your body may be trying to regulate itself from being pregnant to pre-pregnancy and nursing status.

As you may have heard, not having a period doesn't mean you can't become pregnant.

1 mom found this helpful

Some women don't start their period until their babies start eating more solids. Both of mine were well over a year before I started my period again. I also have friends who exclusively breastfed and started back as early as 3 or 4 months after having the baby. Every women is different. If you were spotting, you're probably fertile, so unless you're ready for another baby, be careful!
M. S.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,
First, I want to say great job on breastfeeding as long as you have. It's a wonderful gift for your child.

I exclusively breastfed my daughter as well, and my period returned when she was 13 months old. She's 27 months old now, I still breastfeed her, and I get my period regularly.

From what I've read, you have to nurse at least every 4 hours for it to prevent ovulation. If you daughter is eating cereal or table food, then she might not be breastfeeding often enough (or vigorously enough) for you to get the nipple stimulation you need to prevent your period. My daughter didn't show much interest in table food until she was about 12 months old. Once she started eating other food, that is when my period returned.

All in all, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just be careful about using contraceptives if you don't want to conceive again soon. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I exclusively breastfed both my kids until about 4 months (when we introduced some solids) With my daughter I had my first period about 7 months after she was born. However, with my son I went almost a year before my period came back. I think it varies...but it's not abnormal.

1 mom found this helpful

You are probably starting your period. You can start your period anytime while breastfeeding. I started when both my kids were between 7 and 8 months old and I exclusively breastfed. I know that to be true for other moms as well.
Nothing to worry about.

1 mom found this helpful

Sadly, breastfeeding does not prevent your getting a period. I EBF my son and got my period when he was only six months old. I was really hoping it would have been longer that I would have been without one.

1 mom found this helpful

I introducted solids to all 3 of my kids at 6 mos, but before that was EBF. However, with my 1st, I got my period when he was 4 mos old. With my 2nd and 3rd, it came back when they were both 2 mos old. I was looking forward to not having a period while I was nursing, too, but it just didnt work that way for me. :(

1 mom found this helpful

Yep, you can definitely start your period while EBF. I think it is less likely when you are not feeding solid foods, but it still happens. Your first period is more than likely not ovulatory, but your body is preparing, so be careful. Maybe start taking some progesterone only pills or read up on Natural Family Planning.

1 mom found this helpful

I once heard that GENERALLY if you are EBF, you shouldn't get your periods for 6 months (I was lucky enough to go 14+ mo without one!). I agree with most of the others that it is different with everyone! And, especially Ellie's comments/guidelines. Kuddos to you for your breastfeeding commitment!

1 mom found this helpful

Although it sucks having a period with BF, it is not unusual or abnormal. Now, no matter how often you bf or have your cycle YOU CAN AND YOU WILL GET PREGNANT WHILE BREASFEEDING. My SIL has EBF for TEN YEARS, no she is not bf her 9 yo lol She is currently BF her TENTH CHILD. I can ASSURE you that EBF is NOT AN EFFICTIVE BIRTH CONTROL METHOD. My daughter's baby sitter thought EBF was a birth control when she got pregnant with #2 and #3 (not sure what her excuse was with #3 though lol) Rest assured, you have no need to be concerned, but rejoice you aren't pregnant again :D

1 mom found this helpful

Don't be concerned. I had periods the whole time I was breastfeeding so you can feel lucky you made it to nine months without any. It depends on the woman. While it's more common not to have them while breastfeeding, it is also totally normal to get them. That's why breastfeeding alone is never a reliable birth control.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, S.. My son is also 9 months old and has been entirely breastfed as well. He's still nursed, and also gets Gerber foods. I actually got my first period when he was about 6 months old. Now I am having regular periods just as I did before. I got on the pill immediately after I had him, though, which encouraged the periods. But it is absolutely normal!! No worries, mama!!

1 mom found this helpful

i read something awhile back that was interesting--and I am sorry I cannot remember where--the theory is that because modern women are over-nourished we are more likely to start ovulating sooner than women did in the past. Natures way to ensure that we can carry another pregnancy would be how much extra weight we have on us--so that could be why so many modern women start ovulating earlier than our foremothers probably did.

1 mom found this helpful

I breastfed my son also and I had my first period when he was 7 mths old. I did pump while I was at work, so I don't know if that affected anything. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

Nope, that's normal. I breastfed both my girls exclusively, and my periods returned around 8 or 9 months or so.

1 mom found this helpful

It is totally normal. They say 10-15 months I think is the average. Some get it in 3, some like me don't get it for a very long time... 26 months and counting. Don't worry! It is normal. I found that if you are on birth control, that keeps it away longer too. Also, if the child weans their night nursing, you can get it back sooner. But nothing is for sure and every person is different. You sound totally normal.

1 mom found this helpful

spotting and or having your period while breastfeeding is possible. it doesn't happen often but some people do spot or have regular periods. it is nothing to be concerned about.
D.

I am 31 and have been married for almost 12 yrs. My husband and I have 3 boys ages 10,7, and 4.

1 mom found this helpful

I was EBF my 4 month old when my period returned. It was regular and normal from then on. When she was a year old we decided to have another baby and we were pregnant the first month (I nursed my first baby for threemore months). Now our second baby is here. She was about 7 weeks old when I had a period, but I had just started the mini pill. I have a friend who didn't have a period for more than two and a half years because she didn't have it while she was nursing for 19 months and then got pregnant before she had her first period after weaning. There just seems to be a wide range of normal on this one!

1 mom found this helpful

S., I spotted every two weeks while breast feeding all of my children. I have three, 8 dd, 5 ds, 1 ds and one due in October. Sometimes they were very light, I could use a liner and other times they were heavier and I needed more protection. When I started pumping, I would have a regular cycle. I bf for three, six and nine months respectively then pumped until I went dry at about nine months with the first two and ten months with the third. I think I was sleeping on my stomach too much and made myself dry up!! I think you should keep track of the spotting and if it gets worse or stops, see your dr. to make sure it is 'normal.' Good luck, J.

1 mom found this helpful

I too, am in the same situation as you, but unfortunately my period started back when my son turned 8 weeks (he is 12 weeks now). I went on the mini pill at 6 weeks and was told I still shouldn't have my period for at least until my son was 6 mos. When I called the doctor when I started bleeding she said that it may be 'break though' bleeding that some women get. Lucky us!!! And the kicker for me is that it is never a week of bleeding and then a break...it's a day her and a couple days there...fun times. Breastfeeding is still soooo worth it though, even without the benefit of an absent period. Hope this helps...good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I had a period the entire time I breastfed my son! It was funny because I was talking to my aunt and we were talking about breastfeeding and I said something about starting my period once right in the middle of breastfeeding and how mad my son got when I set him down to make a mad dash for the bathroom and she informed me that she never had one the whole time she breastfed! I felt totally jipped! Then, I started to find out that most women do NOT, but I did!! Aren't I just so darn lucky?????

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.!! Actually they only guarantee no period for up to 6 months of ebf..i exclusively breast fed my son until he was 4 months and didnt get my period until he was 6 months everyone is different though you may not get one until you stop breastfeeding but there isnt a reason to worry unless you are experiencing other problems like extreme cramping or clots bigger than quarter..well hope this helped..

p.s. if you're really concered consult your ob/gyn
good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Don't sweat it. I was exclusively breastfeeding when mine returned when my baby was 5 months. It is just your body starting to return to normal. Be sure you have extra protection if you are going to be intimate with your hubby. There is a stronger chance you can become pregant. If you are ready for more... well... disregard what I just said!! Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.
I have two children, a girl 2 1/2 yrs old and a 7 month old boy and I breastfeed both of them. Actually still breastfeeding my son but anyways I had periods the whole time I breastfeed. I started my periods with my daughter two months after she was born and three months after my sone was born. It is more uncommon than common. I had two different doctors tell me that I was extremely fertile while breastfeeding and having periods, just an FYI. So no worries! Take care and glad to hear you are breastfeeding it is so great for our babies!

1 mom found this helpful

i exclusively breastfed for 6 months & continued to breastfeed until my daughter was one year & no longer interested. i did start my menstrual cycle at 7 months. it's normal to menstruate & ovulate while breastfeeding & most women start their periods much earlier (around 3 or 4 months!) so consider yourself lucky :o)
i hope this helps....

1 mom found this helpful

The exact same thing happened to me at 9 mo. and I had the exact same thoughts you did. I called my doctor and she said it was normal.

1 mom found this helpful

I actually started my period while I was EBF when my daughter was 3 months old, my OBGYN said it was rare for that to happen but not completely unheard of....not to worry continue to EBF, I was just one of the unlucky to not get all of the perks of BF. I had a tubal ligation so I didn't have to worry about birth control. Hope this helps...

1 mom found this helpful

I breast feed both of my girls(2yo & 4yo) for 10 months and began my period 3 months after giving birth. I asked my Dr. and he said it does happen and not to worry. Just remember... you can get pregnant while breast feeding.

1 mom found this helpful

Hey, first of all GOOD FOR YOU FOR NURSING YOUR CHILD and not giving formula! The longer you keep at nursing, the healthier and smarter your child will be.

Yes it def can happen, you can get your period back at any time or have spotting. If you recently started solids then you aren't nursing as much, so you can start ovulating again. Actually you can ovulate without having a period so even though your risk of pregnancy is very low while EB, there is still a risk. Anyway, a great website to check this info out is:

www.kellymom.com it has a ton of great information,

also

www.mothering.com/discussions pretty much anything you wanted to know about anything, you can find there :).

I HTH, great job again, keep it up and thanks for making Indiana smarter through your child, you are helping us all :)

H.

1 mom found this helpful

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