Breastfeeding: Doesn't nursing normally delay your period?

I think I just got my period for the first time since giving birth to my three-month-old son. The bleeding was light and lasted three days. I nurse exclusively throughout the day and about three or four times during the night. With my older son, my period didn't return until he was thirteen months old. I thought nursing always delayed the return of your period.

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

Though exclusive breastfeeding usually delays the return of your menstrual period and fertility, this is not always the case.

There are many factors involved in maintaining lactational infertility, such as number of feeds per day, duration of feeds, total time spent breastfeeding each day,longest interval between feeds, etc.

It is thought that even with unrestricted, round-the-clock nursing some moms are sensitive to slight hormonal shifts, possibly occurring due to increased length of time in between some feeds. This may be enough to allow your menstrual period to return. You might find that if your baby increases his nursing frequency and duration. the time in between your periods may increase, or your baby's sucking may be enough to again suppress ovulation, and the return of your period.

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