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Ask an Expert: The Return of Your Period

By Robin Kaplan, IBCLC

Fan Question;

“Is it normal to start your period 4.5 months into breastfeeding my twins? Does it mean my milk will dry up? Any ideas.”

This is such a great question! Getting your period while breastfeeding is very normal.  Breastfeeding moms will often see a return to their menstrual cycles when their babies start to eat less frequently in the middle of the night, take a pacifier, receive supplementation other than mom’s milk, and/or start solids.  Other moms might breastfeed throughout the night and day and never offer pacifiers or bottles, yet still see a return of their menstrual cycles.  Sometimes there is just no rhyme or reason to it.  Either way, the return of your fertility is back!

What can you expect when your menstrual cycle returns?

Some moms find that they experience nipple tenderness, moodiness, and a slight temporary dip in their milk supplies.  The flavor of your breast milk might also vary a tad during the time between ovulation and bleeding.  The main thing to keep in mind is that you can potentially be fertile again.  Yikes!  Plus, your cycle might not be regular for several months, so it is often difficult to calculate when you actually ovulate.  If you are planning to wait a bit before having another bundle of joy, now would be the time to consider other methods of contraception.  Stay away from any birth control that includes estrogen, as the increase in this hormone can permanently decrease your milk supply.  For more information about contraception while breastfeeding, check out Kellymom’s article: Birth Control and Breastfeeding.

Will your milk supply dry up with the return of your period?

It shouldn’t.  While most women experience a dip in their milk supplies between ovulation and bleeding, this tends to be temporary.  Some babies get a little frustrated during this dip, so here are a few tricks to try to keep up your milk supply during this time.

  1. Breastfeed often.  If you are back at work, keep up your pumping schedule.  This is not a time to slow down on the breast stimulation.
  2. If your baby is still waking in the middle of the night, breastfeed him/her.  This extra stimulation will help keep up your milk supply.  Plus, sleepy babies tend to be more patient with a decreased milk flow in the middle of the night.
  3. Consider taking a calcium/magnesium supplement (500-1000mg per day) from the beginning of ovulation until the 2nd or 3rd day of your period to minimize a dip in your supply. (Per The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding)
    1. Increase your iron during your period with iron-rich foods (like meat, green leafy vegetables, and beans) or take an iron supplement.
    2. Consider acupuncture, which can help stabilize hormonal shifts and keep your blood moving.  Breastmilk is made from blood, so the better your blood volume is, the better your milk supply will be.
    3. Consider taking a few milk-increasing herbs, such a moringa, fenugreek, and blessed thistle.  These herbs can help stabilize your milk supply, as well as increase it.

You should be so proud of yourself for breastfeeding your twins!  That is no small feat!  I hope this will only be a quick, temporary ‘speed-bump’ along your breastfeeding journey!


(***Disclaimer: Always speak with a health care provider before taking supplements and/or herbs)


unnamedRobin Kaplan is an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, frequent media commentator on the topic of breastfeeding, and host of The Boob Group, a weekly podcast about breastfeeding.

Robin is also an active advocate for mothers and their legal right to breastfeed. She is a prolific writer and presenter on breastfeeding topics. She was the founding co-editor of the International Lactation Consultant Association’s (ILCA) blog, Lactation Matters, and curates The Sanity Spot, the San Diego Breastfeeding Center’s popular blog.  Robin is also the founder of the San Diego Nursing in Public Task Force and a newly appointed Take Action Ambassador for Best for Babes.

Robin lives in San Diego, CA with her husband, Jason, their two sons, Benjamin and Ryan, and their dog, Tilly. She loves traveling, hiking, going to the beach, social media, and perusing cookbooks for hours upon end.

This information was first featured on Robin’s blog: Breastfeeding During Your Period: When Aunt Flow comes to visit.