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Breastfeeding and periods

2-minute read

If you are breastfeeding your baby, your periods may not return for several months after childbirth. This is because the hormone that causes you to make milk, prolactin, also stops you from ovulating and having your period. If you are breastfeeding day and night, it can be up to a year before your period returns.

There are many factors that determine when your period will return when you are breastfeeding. These include:

  • how often you bottle feed your baby
  • the way your body responds to hormone changes
  • how often and how long your baby is breastfeeding.

If your baby is being fed only using bottles, you may find your periods return shortly after birth.

Even if your periods are irregular or absent, you may still be able to become pregnant.

Once they do return, your periods may be irregular especially if you are still producing milk (lactating). The duration of your period can also change and it is not unusual to skip a period, or even for it to be a few months before your next one.

When you start reducing the amount of time you spend breastfeeding, your periods should start to return to their usual routine. You may notice some spotting (light bleeding) at first.

Your period coming back should have little effect on your breast milk so you can continue to breastfeed if desired. Some women find a temporary drop in the amount of milk they produce just before their period starts or for a few days into it, but it will increase again when your hormones return to their normal levels.

It is possible to fall pregnant before your periods return, and also while they are irregular.

Your midwife or doctor will be able to give you further advice and information about your periods and breastfeeding.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your breastfeeding and periods, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).


Women’s Health (Understanding your menstrual cycle fact sheet), Babycenter (When will my periods start after I’ve had my baby?)

Last reviewed: June 2017

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