My Favorite Breastfeeding Side Effect

After my older son was born, my period stayed away for THIRTEEN MONTHS. During this time, I never worried that I was pregnant or ill because I’d been to La Leche League meetings and heard other moms bragging about their 22-month vacations from menses. I (infrequently) remembered and felt thankful to not deal with this feminine hassle.

I mean, how great is that? A wonderful, non-medicated, non-technological, non-invasive way to keep Aunt Flo at bay after childbirth! Not just dealing with my period, but fertility, too, stayed dormant. My husband loved this benefit, since it made things easier for us. He read and frequently cited the statistic that, “lactational amenorrhea is over 98% effective at preventing pregnancy!

I hadn’t had to buy tampons since September, 2008.

Life was glorious, as long as I kept on nursing my baby.

And then, my period came back with a┬ávengeance. Things were so prolonged and gross that I met with my midwives–surely something was amiss? Surely these clumpy things shouldn’t be coming from my body for so long? The midwife just smiled and told me our bodies sometimes take awhile to figure out how to cycle again. So I carried on managing my month-long heavy period.

(Incidentally, this is when I purchased and began evangelizing about reusable menstrual cups, but that’s another topic for another post)

We wanted our kids to be about 3 years apart, so I really only had to muddle through about 10 periods before I got pregnant. By spring of this year, I was starting to think I’d never have a period again, a prospect that delighted me (when I remembered it, which was only when other women complained about their periods).

Alas, my period returned a mere twelve months after Felix was born. Less time than with Miles, and this baby nurses much more than his brother. I was hoping for a 15-month reprieve. It does seem to be a more normal period this time. Hopefully my body figures things out without too much of a learning curve, but this means we need to get to business thinking about contraception.

For now, we’ll keep relying on having two sleepless children as our primary means of pregnancy prevention!

Did your period stay away for awhile while you were nursing your baby? Leave a comment to tell us your longest menses vacation!

5 comments to My Favorite Breastfeeding Side Effect

  • christi h

    Alas, mine came back on the 6-month anniversary of Jack’s birth, and only two months after I had stopped daily spotting from the birth. And after Paige, well, it’s never coming back!

  • Erica Zelinger

    I went on Ortho-micronor after Elliott was born — the mini pill, safe for breastfeeding. Elliott self-weaned at about 12 1/2 months, but I just had my annual and my doc told me it was fine to still be on Ortho-micronor if I liked it. No period since August 2011!

  • Kelly

    With DD1, I ovulated for the first time when she was 12 months old and got pregnant again (purposely). With DD2, I didn’t get a period for 16 months. Overall, 4 years without a period!

  • After my first I got my period 18 months after baby’s birth and now my second baby is 18 months and I haven’t had my period yet :)

  • Notsolucky

    Okay; no more lamenting allowed! Zero break for me! All 5 times mine picked right back up no matter how frequently or long I nursed my babes!

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