Breastfeeding and Periods

Breastfeeding and Periods
26th July 2022 Samantha Anderson

Breastfeeding and Periods

WUKA Menstrual Lifestyle Expert separates fact from fiction.

The body goes through so many changes during pregnancy and many seem to think everything neatly fits back into place once the baby is born.

This couldn’t be further from the truth, however, with your body adjusting to this new normal and more hormonal changes coming into play following birth.

With World Breastfeeding Week just behind us, Ruby Raut, Menstrual Lifestyle expert at WUKA shares insights into the changes a new mum can expect when breastfeeding.

“Balancing life with a new baby and a postnatal body is definitely difficult,” says Ruby. “Knowing what changes to expect and why they happen will give new mothers ease of mind and reassure them that what they are experiencing is normal.”

Read on for Ruby’s guide to breastfeeding and periods…

Hormone breakdown

Understanding the hormones at play in your body postpartum and whilst breastfeeding is a good place to start when navigating periods.

When breastfeeding, your body produces a hormone called prolactin, which causes the breasts to produce milk or lactate. These higher-than-normal levels of prolactin also affect the hormones in the body linked to the menstrual cycle – estrogen and progesterone.

The menstrual cycle relies on estrogen and progesterone to send signals to the reproductive system to release a new egg for ovulation. Quite simply, if this doesn’t happen, then a period won’t take place.

This doesn’t mean that you cannot get pregnant when breastfeeding, so whilst the chances are very low, it’s important to speak to your GP regarding suitable birth control.

Timeline

As with so many other aspects of hormonal health, everybody is different and there are no hard and fast rules.

For some, breastfeeding after birth may mean periods take a 6-week break, whereas for others the gap could be much longer; even over a year. The difference in timeline is normally down to whether you are breastfeeding exclusively or combining breast and formula feeds. If you are using a combination of feeding methods, the body produces less prolactin, which means your menstrual hormones will return to normal levels sooner and your period can return more quickly.

When your periods do resume post birth, they may take on a different pattern than before having your baby. Someone who usually has their period every 28 days may now find they are more spread out and some may be skipped altogether.

This is normal and is due to your body regulating hormone levels after the changes of pregnancy, so needn’t be a cause of concern. However, if periods continue to be irregular for extended amounts of time, don’t come back at all, or are extremely heavy or painful, then medical advice should be sought.

Health first

There is often so much pressure for new mums to ‘snap back’ to their pre-baby body within just a few months of birth. As if adjusting to life with a newborn, coping with sleepless nights and navigating breastfeeding isn’t enough to contend with, many new mothers also feel uncomfortable in their own skin.

Post-baby and breastfeeding bodies should be celebrated for the incredible processes they have been through and how miraculous and strong they are. Literally life-giving! The most important thing as a new mum is to stay healthy and active, to whatever level suits you and your baby. Exercise – meaning any movement and not necessarily a gym session or full-on work out – is proven to boost both physical and mental health and is vital for new mums.

A higher BMI when breastfeeding is likely to lead to more irregular periods when they begin again, so by keeping active you will be able to achieve a healthy weight and help your body rebalance its hormone levels too.

Comfort first too

Depending on the type of birth you had, certain period products will need to be avoided for the first few weeks. In both caesarian and vaginal births, postpartum bleeding is very normal and only the most comfortable and non-intrusive products should be used.

Tampons and menstrual cups should be avoided after vaginal births in order to prevent any further trauma and discomfort. This applies for when periods begin again too, in order to mitigate any unnecessary pain.

Reusable pads are an option, however, using period pants after birth and for the first few periods postpartum works on many levels; they have no invasive parts, provide comfort, are not bulky, and with high absorbencies available, they allow you to focus on your recovery and your baby, without frequent loo visits to change pads.

Medical experts like Dr. Brooke Vandermolen advise new mums to be prepared from the get-go and pack your most comfortable and absorbent period pants in your hospital bag for use during your first feeds whilst your body is recovering from birth. Dr. Brooke says “I always encourage people to pack period underwear in their bag because I think it’s a fantastic thing to use for postpartum bleeding. If you can find something to absorb that away safely, then period underwear could be something to try.”

Peace of mind is so important when balancing motherhood and breastfeeding, with so many changes in your body. Finding period pants that are leakproof, secure and easy to change is a must, so you can look after your baby without worrying about what your period is doing.

For more information on WUKA, please visit https://wuka.co.uk/

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Notes to Editors:

  • WUKA Co-Founder, Ruby Raut, is available for interview
  • Please contact us should you be interested in receiving product samples for review or for competition prizes
  • For affiliate links please visit www.impact.com
  • For more information on WUKA, visit www.wuka.co.uk

For further press information, please contact:
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About WUKA
Founded in 2017 by husband and wife team, Ruby Raut and Dave Slocombe, WUKA is the UK’s leading period wear brand and was the first in the UK to produce fully leak-proof reusable period underwear that completely replaces the need for pads and tampons. Just one pair of WUKA period pants can save 200 single-use plastic-riddled disposables from going to landfill or polluting our oceans.

WUKA stands for Wake Up Kick Ass; because nothing should hold women back when on their period. The brand strives to empower the menstruating population, improve access to quality, sustainable period products, eliminate period poverty, and remove period shame and stigma.

Offering a range of award-winning undies to suit different menstrual flows, WUKA period pants hold from two to six tampons worth of period blood; the highest absorbency of any other period products. They are also available in the most extensive range of sizes on the market – from XXS, right up to 6XL.

WUKA also offers period leggings, period sports shorts, period swim bikini briefs, and a number of period accessories and gifts, including a wearable hot water bottle, wash bags, period wellness sets, and starter kits for tweens and teens.

All WUKA products are mindfully created, using the highest quality planet-friendly fabrics, to be both great for the body and good for the environment. From the Better Cotton Initiative, Organic Certified, to Vegan, PETA approved and certified Carbon Neutral+, WUKA underwear is all accredited and designed with the future in mind. Equality, inclusivity, and social & environmental responsibility are at the heart of everything WUKA does.

WUKA is available in Morrisons, Superdrug, Planet Organic, Urban Outfitters, and a range of independent zero waste and fashion retailers. You can also purchase WUKA products direct from the WUKA website.

www.wuka.co.uk

Follow WUKA on Instagram: @wukawear