Is Spotting While Breastfeeding Normal?

Is spotting normal during breastfeeding?

Some women will begin their first period as early as 6 weeks after birth. While others don’t have their period until breastfeeding has ceased. The hormone prolactin is responsible for preventing menstruation and aids in milk production. You must follow a fairly strict guideline in order to not have a period while breastfeeding. In order to prevent your period you must exclusively breastfeed every few hours. No supplementing with formula or bottle feeding. Your baby would also need to be under 6 months. However, even then it is possible to have a period but less likely. Spotting while breastfeeding is simply an indication that your period will start soon. 

Why does spotting post pregnancy happen?

A woman’s body goes through quite a bit of changes post pregnancy, hormonal and physical. It is not uncommon for women to bleed for up to six weeks post birth. After birth, the uterus will continue to contract back to its regular pre-pregnancy size. This process could last anywhere between 3 to 6 weeks. During that time the uterus contracts and releases Lochia. Lochia is known as postpartum bleeding. The blood after birth is made up of blood, placenta tissues, uterine lining and mucus. The color of the blood and consistency will vary day to day. However, this is a normal process of postpartum and there are ways to make postpartum bleeding more manageable such as heating pads and period underwear.

How long does spotting last while breastfeeding?

As women’s bodies go through their monthly cycles, it is very common to have a fluctuation of milk supply during various times of the month. After ovulation and during their period, it is common for there to be a decreased milk supply. This is because hormones tend to drop when an egg is not fertilized. Thus, causes the hormone prolactin to decrease as well. This change is completely normal and milk supply should improve towards the end of their period.

How can I increase milk supply during my period?

- Breastfeed as often as possible. When the baby is feeding, it helps release the hormone prolactin.

- Try Power pumping

- Staying hydrated is important during breastfeeding. It is exceptionally important when on your period because it tends to increase dehydration.

- Avoid supplementing with formula.

- Be sure to switch between breasts when feeding. If your baby drifts before utilizing both sides, consider pumping the opposite breast in between feedings.

Can spotting decrease milk supply?

Around the mid cycle to the time of period, it is not uncommon to notice a drop in your milk supply. When you breastfeed, you produce a hormone called Prolactin. Prolactin is responsible for a mothers breast milk production.. When you spot while breastfeeding, the hormone prolactin decreases which in turn decreases your milk supply. This temporary drop in Prolactin is harmless to baby and mom. Once spotting or your period stops, then your breast milk supply will increase. Also, you may notice your baby will breastfeed more often to make up for the low milk supply during spotting.

Can spotting decrease milk supply?

- Don’t stop breastfeeding. When spotting occurs, it is common for the baby to become more fussy due to the decrease in milk supply. Don’t get discouraged and discontinue breastfeeding. Once the spotting stops, your breast milk supply will increase and baby will be less fussy and eat more to supplement the temporary decrease in milk supply.

- Nipple tenderness can occur during your time of the month. This nipple tenderness can be painful when the baby latches. It is important to not use any numbing creams because that can in turn cause babies' mouths to be numb. Use a breast pump if need be and bottle feed. This feeling is only temporary and should subside in a few short days. If you pump and feed you are still giving your baby the nutrients and benefits of breast milk.

- Try a heating pad instead of over the counter medications. Over the counter pain meds could potentially pass to baby. So check with your doctor prior to taking any over the counter pain meds. Using a heating pad on your abdomen will not affect your milk supply while also offering relief from cramps.

Period underwear is very helpful when spotting or even with common uterine incompetence followed by birth. Let’s be honest, our bladders don’t hold as well as they used to. With period panties it is an easy thing to use without inconveniencing your day. Period panties are made with various absorbency for desired protection. They can be worn all day as well. No need for those uncomfortable bathroom trips with the baby when you're out and about to change a pad or tampon.

After giving birth, so many changes occur in a woman’s body. Breastfeeding is such a beautiful and special bonding time between mom and baby. But then, your first period happens. It makes us wonder and ask a lot of questions in our head. Is spotting while breastfeeding normal? How much bleeding is normal? How can I help increase my milk supply while breastfeeding? Rest assured, you are not the only mom trying to understand if bleeding while breastfeeding is normal. With everything today's society has to offer such as period underwear, heating pads, breast pumps; you are able to take this with confidence. Spotting is completely normal and should only last a few days. Don’t give up because breastfeeding is a beautiful bonding experience between mom and baby. 

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