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can I just check about breast feeding and periods please...

(17 Posts)
Annpan88 Mon 22-Aug-11 11:14:45

DS is 5 months. I went for my smear test today. Nurse was doing the usual checks and asked 'when did you last have a period'

So I said before I had the baby whose 5 months and I'm bfing.

Then she was asking me if I was/could be pregnant and I repeated that I'm breast feeding so that's why I haven't had a period.

Apparantly the nurse (who does smear tests) had no idea that you don't get a period when your exclusively breastfeeding. And I just need to check that this is right as even though I'm sure it is, I now have my doubts!

(Also its basically impossible that I'm pregnant as we've been extremely careful)


startwig1982 Mon 22-Aug-11 11:22:10

I think some women can get a period but it's not very common. However, you can get pregnant whilst bf although not sure how if you're not ovulating and having periods!!

DuelingFanjo Mon 22-Aug-11 11:24:00

not everyone gets a period while breastfeeding. Some people do.

Breastfeeding isn't a contraceptive though. I know someone who got pregnant even though she hadn't got her periods back.

Cosmosis Mon 22-Aug-11 11:26:39

Some people do get them back quite quickly, some not for will over a year, it varies.

My last period started 11/11/09 smile

startwig, you can get pregnant with out a period because you need to ovulate to get a period - you if you're having unprotected sex you could get pregnant.

pinkgirlythoughts Mon 22-Aug-11 11:30:20

I've had one period since DS was born 13 weeks ago, and it lasted about a fortnight- this is unusual for me!

I also know a woman from my baby group who had one period a few weeks after her daughter was born, and is now pregnant again. The new baby will be due just before DD1's first birthday.

We are both exclusive breastfeeders. My understanding is that it's unusual to get a period/become pregnant while breastfeeding, but certainly not impossible.

Annpan88 Mon 22-Aug-11 11:33:49

Good good. Not using it as a contraceptive so no worries there! Was just worried I'd got it wrong as the nurse hadn't heard of not getting periods while breast feeding

ASByatt Mon 22-Aug-11 11:35:14

Yes, think it varies hugely. I was looking forward to not having periods for ages because I was b/feeding, but first time round it started at about 4 months and after my second child it was sooner - both times, that first period started on Christmas Day, how freaky is that? Iwas not impressed!

This was despite DC spending what felt like 98% of their their time feeding!

SenoritaViva Mon 22-Aug-11 11:35:40

I know three people who were exclusively breast feeding and now have DCs very close in age. It can happen, my obstetrician gave me a prescription for a very weak pill (that wouldn't be much good to someone not breastfeeding) just to ensure that I had enough hormones not to ovulate.

DuelingFanjo Mon 22-Aug-11 11:38:44

Sounds like the nurse doesn't know much about female biology! Was she shocked!? he he.

Janeymax Mon 22-Aug-11 11:52:39

There is some good research on whether bf is an effective contraceptive. You will get a period if you ovulate - which also means you are fertile again. The problem is that you ovulate before you get your period so that you don't realize when you start being fertile again. The research I read suggested that there is a very high contraceptive effect - in the same order as the pill- if you are still feeding through the night. But once your baby is sleeping more thAn 6 hours in a row, all bets are off and exactly when you get your first period varies enormously. Can't remember the exact references I found about this, but a google search would turn up some good leads if anyone is interested in delving further.

beanlet Mon 22-Aug-11 11:59:09

Your nurse is clearly a bit hmm. No, BF is not a reliable contraceptive, but it does reduce fertility and it does suppress periods.

DS is 14 months, we're down to one feed a day, and I still haven't had a period yet. And no, not PG.

festi Mon 22-Aug-11 12:01:50

I had periods from when dd was about 3 or 4 months and I was BFin exclusivly.

SaulGood Mon 22-Aug-11 12:28:34

I was feeding 2 hourly day and night when I ovulated at 11 weeks. Luckily, I know when I'm ovulating so knew to be extra careful. Sure enough, 2 weeks later my period turned up and did so every 28 days after that. DD fed 2 hourly until she was 8 months. I was gutted.

It is odd that she didn't know bfing can reduce fertility but well done you for knowing not to rely on it as a contraceptive. I have two friends who got pg without having a period between babies.

going Mon 22-Aug-11 12:31:30

I had a period when my DS was 2 months old, was not impressed!!!

WoTmania Mon 22-Aug-11 12:49:03

It is quite normal (oeriods) and it is also quite nromal for HCPs not to know about Lactational Amenorrhea.

milkyjo Mon 22-Aug-11 14:05:23

To be fair on the nurse she is a practice nurse, and like GPs are very good at a general knowledge of many different health issues however, unless she has breastfed her own children (if any) would probably not know about the lack of periods during breastfeeding. If she was a midwife then, yes, I would be very shocked! I wasn't aware of this until I started breastfeeding and I am also a healthcare professional - however, adults and women's health are not my speciality!

mejon Mon 22-Aug-11 16:07:59

DD2 is 6.5 months. I EBF for the first 6 weeks but have been mix feeding since then with mostly formula for the last 3 months. I was surprised that my period didn't return until she was nearly 6 months old so I count myself as pretty lucky!

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