30 October, 2007
I want to know how to count vestos for a menstrual period following childbirth.
About 10 or 12 weeks after my baby was born I had a period. It was after my childbirth bleeding had stopped and I had already been able to go to the mikvah. However because I was so exhausted and out of it from having a newborn at home I completely forgot to mark on my calendar when I got the period. I realized a few weeks later but I just could not remember when my period was and I still have no idea.
Now (due to breastfeeding) it is about five months later that I have my period again for the second time. I want to know what vestos I have to keep next month if any and how to mark off the calendar.
Thank you so much!
Mazal tov on the birth of your baby!
Your veset calendar and calculations start from scratch with the first bleeding after the postpartum bleeding has ended.
Since your first period postpartum was a number of months ago and it is unclear exactly when it occurred, you should begin counting your vestot from this most recent period only, as though it were your first period postpartum. You should keep yom hachodesh next month. You will only begin to keep the haflagah after your next period, when you will have an interval between two periods.
Contemporary authorities differ as to whether someone within 24 months after birth – who is defined halachically as a meineket regardless of whether she is actually breastfeeding – should observe onah beinonit. An individual question should be asked. We follow the stringent position that a woman who has resumed menstruating should observe all onot perishah.
A meineket does not establish a veset kavua. Even if she gets her period on the same date or interval three times in a row, she still treats that date as a veset she'eino kavua. (If she had a veset kavua before becoming pregnant, it may become relevant again with the conclusion of her meineket status.)
Many women (especially those who haven't dealt with vestot for a while due to pregnancy, breastfeeding…) find these halachot confusing. You might find it helpful to read our articles on vestot to refresh your memory on the specific details.
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