Some women find that the first period they have after their baby is born brings a problem they had never imagined. If you’re breast-feeding, your periods probably won’t start again until you have weaned the baby which could be anything from six weeks to a year after the birth, depending on how long you both decide to continue. But some women find that even though they are breast-feeding successfully, their periods start again. And although most babies don’t seem to notice what’s going on, others react quite strongly. As Sylvia Close puts it in her helpful book The Know-how of Infant Feeding, the baby seems to go on strike. He won’t suck; he grizzles; he’s fretful and difficult. This could be because our skins smell different at period time, or because the baby can smell our blood. Either way it’s likely to be very upsetting for a mother to be rejected like this by her baby.

But don’t worry. You can deal with it if you know how. For a start be as relaxed about the whole business as possible. Don’t give your baby a bottle and don’t try to force him to feed. Wait until he is hungry and then try again. But this time see if you can take a warm scented bath or a shower beforehand. Often this is all that’s needed. Once you smell like yourself again, the baby is happy. But I should warn you that it does sometimes take several efforts before you are back together again as you were before. If you’re bottle feeding, you are far more likely to start having periods again soon after the birth — which seems to me another very good reason to try to



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