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Periods while breastfeeding

3-minute read

Key facts

  • After having a baby, your periods will return at your body's own pace.
  • If you are breastfeeding, your periods may not return for months or even years after childbirth.
  • It's possible to become pregnant while you are breastfeeding.
  • If you want to avoid pregnancy, talk to your doctor or nurse about safe contraception methods while breastfeeding.

When will my periods return while I'm breastfeeding?

After having a baby, your periods will return at your body's own pace.

If you are breastfeeding your baby, your periods may not return for months or even years after childbirth.

If your baby is being fed using formula, you may find your periods return shortly after childbirth.

How long before your periods return while breastfeeding can depend on:

  • your baby's breastfeeding pattern (how often and how long your baby is breastfeeding)
  • how sensitive your body is to breastfeeding hormones

What affects when my periods will return?

Your periods are likely to return when:

  • your baby starts breastfeeding less often, or for shorter times
  • you start offering your baby bottles or formula top-ups
  • your baby starts sleeping for longer
  • your baby starts sleeping through the night
  • you start your baby on solid foods

When my periods return, will they be the same as usual?

Once your periods return, they may be irregular to start with if you are still making milk (lactating). It's 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 should talk to your doctor about your periods if you are having:

Will having periods affect my breast milk supply?

The return of your periods should have little effect on your breast milk. So, you can continue to breastfeed if you would like to.

Hormonal changes with your menstrual cycle (periods) may affect how your baby wants to feed. This may affect your breast milk supply. But a few additional breastfeeds per day are usually enough to boost your breast milk supply back up.

Your midwife or doctor will be able to give you further advice and information about your periods and breastfeeding. Or you could consult a lactation consultant — an expert in breastfeeding.

Do I need to use contraception while breastfeeding?

It's possible to become pregnant while you are breastfeeding.

If you want to avoid pregnancy while breastfeeding, you should use contraception (birth control). Talk to your doctor or nurse about suitable contraception methods while breastfeeding.

Resources and support

If you are worried about anything related to breastfeeding, you can speak with a lactation consultant (health professional who specialises in breastfeeding).

The Australian Breastfeeding Association offers support and information on breastfeeding. You can call their Breastfeeding Helpline on 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 268).

You can also call the healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222 (known as NURSE-ON-CALL

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2023

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