Getting Pregnant While Breastfeeding
Archived Q&A and Reviews
- My OB says I should stop nursing if I get pregnant
- Nursing while attempting second pregnancy
- 6 months pregnant, breastfeeding is incredibly painful - wean?
- Still nursing my 3-year-old, just found out I'm pregnant
- Trying to get pregnant but still want to breastfeed
- Trouble getting pregnant - should I stop nursing?
- What are the chances I'll get pregnant while nursing?
- Newly Pregnant, Still Breastfeeding
- Weaning very attached 2.5-y-o (I'm pregnant, sore nipples)
- Pregnant and still nursing toddler
- Torn about weaning 20-month-old now that I'm pregnant
- Nursing 15-month-old when 6 weeks pregnant
- Do I need to stop breastfeeding to get pregnant again?
- Related page: Nursing a baby and older sibling
I would like to be pregnant again soon, and my son is one year old. My OB has told me that I will have to stop nursing him in the first trimester to avoid pre-term labor (my son was almost 4 weeks early.) I would like to nurse him for at least another year, but don't want to wait that long before becoming pregnant again. Has anyone else heard that nursing could cause pre-term labor? Want to nurse and be pregnant, too!
I nursed my son until he was 15 mo old. At that time, I was 5 mo pregnant. I had planned on nursing all the way through the pregnancy (with my midwife's blessing by the way) but he self-weaned due, I think, to the change in taste of my milk. Apparently that happens a lot. He went cold turkey and kept pushing my breast away - sure made weaning much easier than I expected!
Frankly, I was glad that my son weaned before my new baby arrived just in terms of jealousy issues (claiming the breasts as his), etc. As it turned out, it was long enough for him to forget about nursing before the new baby started. But that doesn't answer your question about inducing labor. Well, I know that nipple stimulation can lead to labor at the very end of your pregnancy, so it seems that nursing could do it as well. However, many people nurse all the way through their pregnancies so it must not be that bad for you! Congrats on your pregnancy!
I researched this while continuing to nurse during my second pregnancy. I forget the source, but I read that breastfeeding can hinder successful implantation, but once implanted, it does not affect the pregnancy. However, it does cause contractions, as does sex, which could cause preterm labor. The author said as long as your Dr. permits you to have sex, breastfeeding is also permitted. If your Dr. says no sex after the 1st trimester (whichwould be highly unusual) then breastfeeding is also out. You may want to read ''Adventures in Tandem Nursing'' which addresses this topic. anon
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO STOP NURSING. I did so much research on this after becoming accidentally pregnant at six months postpartum. The La Leche League has really accurate and up-to-date information on this topic, and there are tons of women who nurse all through pregnancy and then tandem nurse.
Your doctor's view is extremely outdated and unfounded, it turns out, but I will not say that this is a breezy endeavor. You can simply find out what all of your factors of concern are, and then make your choices in an educated fashion. My personal factors were that my nipples were painful during my pregnancy, that it is possible but unlikely that your milk will completely dry up after the halfway point of your pregnancy, that my daughter was due when my son would be at a peak of natural separation anxiety, and that tandem nursing is certainly a big commitment.
The nipple pain, I meditated on, and decided I could handle it better than I could handle weaning my baby just yet. To address the threat of milk disappearing, I got my son used to bottles so that there would be no shocking cold turkey switch if it happened. I did decide that I was willing to tandem nurse, but in the end chose to wean him when I was six months pregnant, because I knew I wanted him either to not remember nursing at all, or to have full access. I was told (incorrectly) that he would be unable to nurse for the colostrum days, and was afraid that would be traumatic for him, so I weaned him. Sorta wish I hadn't, but I can't say how it would have been the other way around. La Leche League. They've been a great ally of mine. Happy conceiving.
Breastfeeding can trigger uterine contractions and this may be what your OB is warning about. The contractions are good after childbirth - they help your uterus get back to normal. But if you don't want to take any chances at all with your pregnancy, then maybe you also don't want contractions. I was warned against having orgasms in early pregnancy because I have a history of miscarriage, and orgasms also trigger uterine contractions. Unfortunately I forgot and had an orgasm early in my pregnancy and actually did miscarry. (But maybe I would have miscarried anyway!) Trying to remember next time
I nursed while pregnant with my second and continued to nurse my first born until my second was just over three months. I honestly believe that we had fewer issues of sibling rivalry in that first year or so because whenever they nursed together, my older one would stroke the baby and feel close to him, sharing a bonding experience with the baby and mom at the same time. We also got to snuggle around my burgeoning belly and know that his little brother was there and got to feel close to him that way. I did have a little bit of pre-term contractions, but my OB encouraged me to continue nursing (and never mentioned a connection), but it never really led to anything. I took it easy and carried some pills with me to stop contractions if they ever amounted to anything, but I never had to take any. Good luck, I hope everything works out exactly as you'd like! been there and it all worked out
I don't want to cut out my 1 1/2-yr-old's nursing times but would like to make them less frequent both because he will be attending all-day childcare in a month and because we are trying to conceive again. Does anyone know how frequently a toddler nurses to actually prevent ovulation? I know all women are different, but what is the general rule? I remember La Leche suggested any time period over 4 hours between nursing could lead to ovulation--but they also tell you when you go home from childbirth at the hospital that you could conceive that night! I have looked in past newsletters and found other comments about the two events (nursing+trying to conceive) not being mutually exclusive, but then there are people saying things like, ''We are trying to get pregnant again so our toddler has stopped nursing as much,'' so I'm not sure what to make of this. Any experience/anecdotes are appreciated. Thanks! --Anonymous mom of toddler
I'm not sure there is a ''general rule'' for how much nursing is required to prevent ovulation. But I can tell you what happened to me.
My period resumed when my son was between 13 and 14 months old, even though I continued to nurse him on demand, including one or two night-time nursings. He simply stopped nursing so much all on his own. He nursed an average of 109 minutes per day at 12 months, and then there was a drop-off -- he nursed an average of 87 minutes per day at 13, 14, and 15 months. (I can look this up thanks to the baby-tracking software at trixietracker.com!)
My mom is a genealogist, and she says many of our traditional Catholic ancestors had kids *exactly* two years apart -- and since I resumed ovulation when my first child was 13 months old, that could have happened to me too! (Luckily it didn't, though.) Nicole R.
you'll hate to hear this, but it's really mama specific.
ex: my friend (22 if that makes a difference) got her period back at ?5mos postpartum, nursed round the clock (cosleeps) and got ''accidentally'' pregnant (withdrawal method...) when her son was 13 mos and still latched on (which releases prolactin, the fertility suppressing hormone) 20-40 times in a day/night (toddler ''fly by'' nursing, on/off/on/off/on/off...). after that child was born, she tandem nursed, and still got pregnant with #3 when #2 was 17mos nursing round the clock and #1 (3.5) was nursing several times/day.
then there's me (39 at the time). my cycles were short (21-25 days), with a short (7-10 days) luteal phase (=days between ovulation and onset of menses, you need 10-14 to allow a fertilized egg/zygote to implant). i had to nightwean, and progressively daywean my older dtr (this took 9 mos, with a break of 2 mos when we went to india and i let her day nurse ad lib to cope with the stress), until we were down to 2-3 times/day . i then had one 28 day cycle, and was pregnant the next. my older dtr went on to continue nursing til i weaned her completely when my younger dtr was 15mos.
if you do get pregnant while still nursing, ''Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond by Hilary Flower'' is great for info on continuing. this article from la leche league's magazine ''new beginings'' can give more insight: Breastfeeding and Fertility, by Christine Foster From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 23 No. 5, September-October 2006, pp. 196-200. http://www.llli.org/NB/NBSepOct06p196.html
it mentions supplements (certain minerals/vitamins) as being useful for lengthening luteal phase (which i didn't know at the time i was trying to conceive).
also try reading ''your fertility signals,'' by Merryl Winstein to learn more about temping and fertile mucus so you can see what your cycle is like.
good luck, have fun trying! ;) signed: been there done that
I am a little late on responding to this, but I just wanted to chime in that I got pregnant when my first was 15 months while nursing on demand, so apparently no problem conceiving, and he continued to nurse until his brother was born. Shortly thereafter, he told me he was ''too big'' to nurse and that he was giving the ''num-nums'' to his brother to use now. Fascinating turn of events! Nursing through pregnancy was no problem for me, and I have to admit was sort of a life-saver. I was so sick for 7 months that nursing him was the charm to get him to lie down with me when my body could not be upright. So, I'd say give it a go, and then cut down if you are having trouble getting preggers again. Sam
My daughter is 14 months old and I'm 6 months pregnant. She was a terrible nurser in the first few months of her life, suffered horrible weight loss, etc. Lots and lots of money was spent to make breastfeeding work because I was adamant to breastfeed my child.
Since I've been pregnant, not only have I been exhausted beyond belief (I was NEVER tired in my first pregnancy), have hardly gained any weight (34 pounds total last pregnancy, 6 months in only 13 pounds right now), but breastfeeding has become incredibly painful, to the point of pushing me near depression. I feel horribly guilty because I don't want to wean my daughter, but I don't know if I'm in pain due to hormones or if she's genuinely biting me. It often feels like both. All I know is the pain is getting worse and worse.
She's only been a morning and night nurser for a while, though on week-ends she will breastfeed all day if I let her. I have managed to narrow it now to 2-3x/day, but she also nurses for such little time I highly doubt it's for any nutritional purposes at this point as opposed to comfort.
I know deep down I have to wean, but I'm not sure how, or how to get through it. Sometimes I just tell myself to suck it up and do it. Just looking for some current advice. I have read the archives which were very helpful. Thanks.
When I got pregnant with number 2, my son was 12 months and my nipples really hurt too. I think it must have been hormones. Fortunately for me he lost interest soon after - not sure if it was the loss of milk or my gasps of pain that convinced him. So you are not alone in that. Good luck weaning but be [prepared for your14 month old to renew her interest in nursing. there's nothing wrong with nursing them both if you are willing. I'm just saying she is most likely going to want it even if you wean now and she weans willingly. anon
I empathize, b/c my son had a hard time nursing at first but became an avid nurser. I'm 5 months pregnant and he's 18 months old and has been completely weaned for a month. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, and had a lot of nipple soreness, I tried to be strict about nursing only 2X/day, first thing in the morning and right before bedtime. That was the hardest step b/c he had been nursing anytime he felt like it. It was emotional and hard, but cutting down gradually to just first thing in the morning, that's it, worked pretty well, and as long as I started distracting him in the morning right away with a cuddle and cup of milk, he was OK. He still very occasionally asks to nurse, but very rarely, and I'm happy that I weaned to give my body a break for a few months.
I personally found that being somewhat strict about things, just morning and night, made things clearer for him than if I had tried to just limit it to my perception of when it seemed OK or needed. And you may get differing advice on this, but don't feel guilty about weaning since going to the 1.5 yr mark is an accomplishment. Although I loved nursing, I now appreciate the hugs I get and cuddling through a lullaby before bedtime (though I don't wear a low-cut shirt), sans nursing. Good luck to you! you can do it
I resist weaning every time I get pregnant and put it off until about 5-7 months but am always very relieved when it's over. I have no milk left by then and it's all comfort nursing and very, very painful. I think it's nature's way of saying ''It's time to move on.'' Unless you plan on tandem nursing, you both will need the transition time you have left. My three kids have all responded differently to weaning -- mostly the falling asleep without nursing challenge -- in ways that pretty much corresponded with their temperaments. I appreciate your early challenges -- my first baby's nursing experience was almost a four month comedy of errors, but he finally got it. Unless your baby is allergic to dairy, she'll be fine, nutritionally, and you and your new baby will be better off. You need all the sleep and nutrition you can get, and it won't get easier to get either once your baby is born. You did everything you could for your daughter and it's wonderful that you were so dedicated and were able to nurse her, but you're right that it's time to stop. If she's otherwise healthy, she doesn't need to nurse as much as you and the new baby need her to stop. Good Luck! Naomi
I weaned my daughter when she was about 15 months because I was pregnant with #2. I was determined to nurse through pregnancy even though the first trimester was agony -- ultra-sore nipples and exhaustion -- I was in tears daily. Once I got midway through the pregnancy I realized that I didn't want to tandem nurse when #2 arrived. My daughter was such a clingy kid that I knew I would go absolutely nuts with two babes competing for the boob. So I slowly weaned her. She was mostly a first-thing-in-the-morning and bedtime nurser at that point. So I started limiting the night nursing. I would nurse for a set amount of time, like 10 minutes, and then take her off the breast and just rub her back or stroke her face. She cried a bunch in the beginning, but the crying didn't last for very long. I eventually nursed for only five minutes, etc. And then some nights my husband would put her to bed without me nursing her at all. She cried quite a bit at those times, but it was all pretty short- lived. She nursed less and less in the mornings too and the trick for me was just keeping each session brief. I still remember the very last time she nursed. I had debated with myself whether or not to nurse her that morning when she asked for it because she hadn't nursed at all for a couple days, but I let her and I'm glad because it really sticks in my mind as a time when I knew it was probably the last time. It was a little bit sad for me, but once she was fully weaned I felt amazingly free. Now that #2 is 8 months old, I'm soooo thankful I did it (and also thankful that I didn't allow #1 to begin nursing again when the baby arrived -- she definitely wanted to). Good luck. It's not easy, but it's easier than weaning #1 after the baby has arrived, I think. mama of 2
i've been there! your feelings are quite normal, and it may help to know that even among LLL members, of those mamas still nursing when they got pregnant, 65% did wean before the baby arrived. LLL puts out 2 good books that might help (available in the local chapter's library, or purchase online). ''adventures in tandsem nursing'' by hilary flower, http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Tandem-Nursing-Breastfeeding-Pregnancy/dp/0912500972 and ''how weaning happens'' by diane bengson. http://www.amazon.com/How-Weaning-Happens-Diane-Bengson/dp/0912500549 i managed not to wean, but it was pretty uncomfortable, and i felt ''agitated'' with each session. 14mos is pretty young, so if you want to be able to offer your daughter milk again when the baby is born (you'll have plenty then!) it can be worth it to continue. and having a toddler nursing can help you avoid problems with supply, since they'll nurse well, and keep your supply up, or take off the ''extra'' milk if you have oversupply. good luck! tandem nurser
I just found out I am pregnant with our second child, I am still nursing my 1st child who will be 3 in December. We are a co-sleeping, attachment parenting-style family. I had planned on child-led weaning for both nursing as well as sleeping. I am dreading going to see my OBGYN, because she has been trying to convince me to wean since my daughter was 12 mos. I was hoping to get some referrals to an OBGYN familiar with the attachment parenting style that is not going to try and convince me to wean. I would also love to connect with other moms on their experience with sharing the family bed with a new born as well as an older toddler. Thanks! Sarah
Hi, I too am pregant and am still nursing my 2 1/2 year old daughter. She also sleeps in our bed. I was told by my dr. that maybe it was time to wean her, but she has never told me I must. She just made it sound like it would be so tiring. Her pediatrician actually told me to wean her. So I'm working on it even though I really, really wanted her to self wean. I had initially planned on eliminating the night nursing since that was what I could never imagine doing with a baby and a toddler. I told her after a certain holiday she could no longer nurse at night. Then I decided to ask her which of the nursings she wanted to give up, which ended up being the middle of the day one. We haven't eliminated any more because I want to go about it slowly and I figure I have 5 month (even though I can see still letting her nurse right before bed). She will still sometimes ask to nurse during the day, but I remind her that she decided that that was the one she'd give up and then I offer milk and cuddle time. It has worked. There is a book called ''Adventures in Tandem Nursing'' put out by La Leche League if you are interested in that. Anyway, you aren't alone and I hope this helps Laura
I breastfed my older child thru pregnancy with the younger one (now 4 and 1 respectively)-- and still continue to breastfeed both of them (although the older one just at bedtime and early in the morning). I found breastfeeding during pregnancy REALLY painful (hormonal effects on nipples), but it just seemed still too important to my son to ask him to give it up. So we sort of accommodated each other in various ways-- nursing shorter periods, only when really necessary, etc. I would be delighted to wean any time (and have tried a few times), but again, it just seems too important to him. Sometimes I do get really tired of being touched, which is sort of a drag for my husband.
We also slept all together for awhile, but we couldn't really decide if we wanted to commit to it, so we didn't get a bigger bed. A queen size bed is really too small for 2 adults, a preschooler, and a baby-- eventually my son preferred his own bed in the nearby room and we have just put the baby on a crib mattress on the floor (about half the time-- she still sleeps with us much of the time). I love sleeping with the kids for purposes of cuddling and nursing, but the down side is it's really hard to wean when the time comes, and often, at least in my experience, hard to sleep. (no doubt a bigger bed would help!) Everyone does seem to sleep better, with less disruption and wakefulness, in separate beds. I think I am the biggest beneficiary, as when we all sleep together, everyone seems to want to attach themselves to me in some way and sometimes it is quite a struggle to get up to go to the bathroom. Anyway, this is perhaps more info than you requested. I will just add that I found my doctor Hank Streitfeld to be completely supportive and nonjudgmental regarding my nursing decision during pregnancy. Congratulations on your pregnancy. another attachment mama
We have been seriously trying to get pregnant with our second child for about six months now, and casually trying a few months before that. My son is 2 years and 7 months, and we are breastfeeding 3 times a day. My period came back when he was 16 months old. I have been taking my temperature first thing in the morning for the past 4 months, and it goes up each month a few degrees, 9 days before the next period. My question is: Does that temperature increase mean I am definitely ovulating and therefore don't need to worry about breastfeeding affecting my fertility? I recently had a conversation with a woman whose doctor told her it's possible to have the temp. increase without ovulation. I'll be 36 years old next month, and have been hoping for 3 year child spacing. My son and I love our special breastfeeding relationship dearly, and so far I've blown off any weaning hints or suggestions as groundless. I may seriously consider it now though... UNLESS these temperature changes mean breastfeeding is definitely not the problem. Also, we've been trying every other night for the week before ovulation, except last month when we tried every night for that week. I've seen both every night and every other night suggested. Are my chances better trying each night for that week? I conceived quickly with my first- two months of temp. charting and I was pregnant the third month. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, Thanks! -Trying for Another
Have you tried to confirm ovulation with LH sticks? i would say, time to wean the breastfeeding to maximize your fertility Sophia
You might try using ovulation stick kits that test for the presence of certain horomones in urine to indicate if you are ovulating ($10-15 for 3 sticks), which is more direct evidence than temperature change. If you don't mind spending the money, the best evidence would be an ultrasound at a doctor's office anon
At age 38-39 I was also breastfeeding my first child and trying to get pregnant. I actually did get pregnant when she was about 22 months old. I was breastfeeding 2-3 times a day at that time. I had gotten my periods back when she was about 13 months old. We had been trying to get pregnant for about 6 months. I ended up miscarrying that child due to a blighted ovum (asked the doc if it had anything to do with breastfeeding...he said no...probably to due with my age...eggs getting old). Anyway, I quickly got pregnant again 2 months later and now have 2 beautiful children. I would suggest you get a good book on ''Natural Family Planning'' or Ovulation...I only used it to understand how things worked (had been using it before children, not to get pregnant since I didn't want to be on the pill). There are a lot of other signals your body gives which indicate whether you are ovulating (mucus, cervix position etc). Also, my understanding is that you typically ovulate 12-14 days before the start of your period. Your temp goes up after ovulation. If you are only trying the week before your temp goes up, you may be missing the mark. The book I had showed you how to calculate your most likely fertile period (for my 32 day cycle, that was something like day 9 to day 20 where the start of your period is day 1). I don't remember it all anymore. I know that when my husband and I tried to ''make a boy'' by waiting until the last minute...we never got pregnant. But when we just tried every other day during this 2 week period...we got pregnant. Good Luck! vic
This is a question for a ob/gyn. Do you not have one you like/trust? Dr. Richard Kochenburger in Alameda is very no-nonsense and a great Dr. He'll tell you everything you need to know about how to get pregnant Andrea
If I understand temping correctly, it's not the rise in temperature before your period that shows ovulation, but the dip you're supposed to see about 14 days before your period that does. If you are not seeing a dip in temperature 14 days before your period followed by a stable 2 weeks before a rise when you get your period, then you're probably not ovulating. I know you can nurse and get pregnant, but what a drain on your body. The fact that you've gotten your period already means that a lot of vital nutrients are not being passed on through your milk, and with a pregnancy and changing hormones, even less nutrients will be passed on. Good luck! Anon
from the Swedish medical Center: Giving Up the Breast, Not the Bond Breastfeeding for up to two years may help with child spacing since conception is less likely during breastfeeding than afterwards. This is an important policy consideration for a poor developing country, but many American women will choose a more effective means of contraception than breastfeeding can guarantee. However, if you choose to rely on this important benefit of breastfeeding, do continue to breastfeed your baby for at least two years-or until you are ready to have another child. By two years of age the majority of children should probably be in the weaning process. A good guide is to use the second year of life as a target for weaning anon
Im not sure about how breast feeding factors in to all this, but one point of your post struck me. If your temp is going up 9 days before your period, you are either temping incorrectly, not ovulating at all or might have issues with a short luteal phase. Typically ovulation occurs 14 days before your period, if you're doing everything right and your luteal phase is short, 9 days would not be enough time for successful implantation. I'd invest in the ovulation predictor pee sticks and learn to recognize changes in your cervical mucous both of which are a ton more effective than simply temping. And ask your OB to test your progesterone level 7 days after you think you ovulated. (She might suggest 21 days into your cycle, which is based on a typical 28 day cycle. if your cycles are long/short or irregular, the test wont be accurate.) Good luck! Susannah
I am not sure about the ovulation/temperature question, but I can say from experience that fertility issues are not that well understood medically, so take any advice you get with a grain of salt. I had doctors tell me that my exercise habits (quite extensive at the time) and body fat (quite low) were not the causes of my infertility (2+ years) because I always had periods and was not emaciated. Well, I finally found a for-profit fertility center website that said it was possible for exercise to affect fertility even with regular periods. This site claimed that excessive exercise can lower hormonal levels enough in some women so that fertilized eggs are prevented from implanting. I dramatically lowered my workout program, gained a little fat, and got pregnant right away. I suspect that breastfeeding, a different kind of stress on your system, might be similar in that it may impact fertility to varying degrees in ways doctors don't fully understand. As hard as it is, weaning might be worth a try. You are not going to be able to get a definitive answer in advance (if you do, don't trust it) so, unfortunately, trial and error may be your best hope... Anon
Even if one can get pregnant while breastfeeding, it doesn't help fertility. Yes, women get pregnant while nursing - they also get pregnant while using condoms. Doesn't mean that if you want get pregnant, it's a good idea to keep using condoms. I think if you want to maximize your chances of getting pregnant, you should probably stop nursing.
I've always heard not to count on breastfeeding as a form of birth control, so I don't think it's holding you back from getting pregnant especially if you have your period. I've heard of plenty of cases of women breastfeeding way more times a day than you are and getting pregnant as they don't even know their 1st post-partum period is coming. You say you are 36. Even if you had an easy time getting pregnant with your first, you are over 35 and therefore there is a dramatic decline in fertility. I know this first hand as I got pregnant with my first in 5 months and tried for over a year for the second when I was in my late 30's. We finally had to turn to hormonal treatments and have had success. It is worth talking to your doctor asap and and getting some tests done. Some simple blood tests will show where your hormone levels are at and that will indicate if your fertility has decreased. Don't wait any longer to see a fertility specialist as it only gets worse as you get older anon
In a recent issue of the New York Times Magazine, they were discussing the opposition to various forms of birth control, which is urging the question of what is considered an ''abortion''; one of the most interesting aspects of the hormones that are used in some pills is that they block implantation, not conception. This, apparently, is the case with the hormones released during breastfeeding. So, according to the article's information, you may be concieving effectively, but not successfully implanting. I don't know how this would effect your temperature, etc. jenny
I have a 17 month old daughter and would (ideally) like to have another child in the next year or two. I still nurse my daughter 3 times a day and a bit more on the weekends, and have not gotten my period back yet. She and I both enjoy it and I feel reluctant to wean her just yet. I would like for her to wean herself, but she has given no indication of doing this anytime soon.
My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for the last 5 months or so without any success. I had hoped that maybe I was ovulating occasionally even though I haven't had a period, but I knew the chances of me getting pregnant under these circumstances were slim. I know we could keep trying while I'm still nursing, but I have the feeling the only way I'm going to substantially increase my chances of getting pregnant is to stop nursing. I feel very conflicted and guilty about this course of action, and wanted to know if any of you have been in this situation. If so, how did you deal with it? Did you keep nursing and eventually get pregnant? Did you keep nursing, not get pregnant, then stop nursing and get pregnant? Stop nursing, get pregnant right away?
Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated. Thanks, Reluctant to wean
check if you are ovulating by doing the basal temperature method. check your temps at the same time every AM. see if you have the ovulation change in temperature. confirm with an ovulation kit. if ovulating, no worries. but I would suspect that you are not if you are not having periods... Sophia
I weaned my child at 15 months because 1) I still hadn't gotten my period, and 2) I had needed medication to ovulate and get pregnant the first time, so I suspected I might again. I weaned over a month, gradually shortening the time of one feeding at a time, then dropping it and moving to the next. I was certainly sad to be the one initiating it. Even though it went very smoothly in our case, no tears or major frustration on either side, I regretted having to ''force'' the weaning by taking charge rather than letting it happen naturally, and I felt a little bit of guilt over it.
In my case, it was well worth it. I did get my period just over two months later, and then got pregnant the next month. So our second child was born about exactly a year after I finished weaning. I felt a little wistful watching friends nurse their older toddlers while I was pregnant, even though I felt quite sure that I would not have gotten pregnant without weaning! But weaning at that point certainly didn't hurt my child, and again, it can be done gently and sensitively so that it doesn't necessarily have to be a big issue.
Perhaps since you're unusure, you could try to shorten a feeding and see how your daughter responds. We used a new treat (mango juice/milk/yogurt) in a sippy cup to distract and ease the transition in our bedtime/naptime routine. (Then once the routine was established without nursing, we went back to milk in the cup so we wouldn't have trouble weaning off the special drink!) If it stresses her out, perhaps you'll choose to back off or move more slowly. On the other hand, fewer feedings alone may enable your body to get going again. Best of luck! mom of 2
Hi. My babies #2 and #3 were conceived while I was nursing (more than six time per 24 hour period). And I've known enough other moms who got pregnant while nursing that I'm doubtful of how much it really affects fertility - at least after the first year of nursing. Have you tried to chart and test for ovulation with those kits? If you're not ovulating that's one thing. But if you are, I'd look at some the other possible factors involved like diet, excercise, stress, etc. I had a lot of trouble getting pregnant the first time (when I was a busy grad student). However, getting regular light excercise seems to have jump started my fertility. I walk 3 miles up/down hills daily and it's great for my stress levels as well as my physical condition. Also, I drank a lot of coffee for years before my first pregnancy and I went off of coffee and stayed off since. I nursed babies one and two as long as they wanted (two years and 19 months respectively) and have never regretted it. Number 3 is 20 months and shows no signs of letting up. I cherish this time with her. And if nursing is affecting your fertility, spacing out the kids more is not a bad idea. I have envied my friends who've had older more independent kids before they had the next one. good luck and don't stress! karlyn
I got pregnant while nursing 3 times so it can be done it is dependent on the individual. I used an ovulation predictor - the kind you pee on - and that helped pinpoint when I was ovulating. I would suggest trying this before you stop breastfeeding. Just because you are not having your period does not mean you are not ovulating. Also, realize you may want to stop breastfeeding once you become pregnant as your breasts may become super sensitive. Good luck. been there.
I conceived my son when I was still nursing my 28-month old daughter. I had probably cut back more than you -- I think I was nursing 2 times a day, and occasionally 3. Plenty of women conceive accidentally when nursing infants (thinking they are protected), so I doubt that the nursing is hindering you. Good luck! Christine
My husband and I decided to wean our little girl at a year. At 38 years old I wanted to get pregnant and I hadn't even gotten my period back yet. Well, it came 6 weeks after I stopped nursing, and I got pregnant with the following cycle. I thought it would be harder to wean, but my little girl didn't seem to miss it a bit. Due in 3 weeks with baby #2
I felt the same way. Being older, I was afraid that if I cut my baby's nursing time to have another baby, then couldn't have another baby, I would really regret it. So, I let him nurse until he was 2 & 1/2 years old. He didn't want to stop! By then, I really did.
I did get pregnant right away. When the 2nd baby was born, he wanted to nurse again! He was 3 & 1/3rd! It felt very weird, but, I let him try it and he said he didn't want to anymore. Whheeeew!!! Fortunately, that worked out and it was his idea/ choise, so he wasn't jealous of the baby.
As he was my last, I let #2 nurse until he was 3 & 1/2. I do know, actually 2 mothers, of 7 year olds who haven't been able to say no and still nurse a bit! (Last babies) So, I think that when they wean themselves, that is great. But when they don't want to ever stop.....It is all so personal......remember the movie The Last Emperor? About Pu Yi? He had a wet nurse at 15 !! dry at last
I've done a lot of reading on this topic, but I'm still unclear. What are the chances that I can get pregnant now, while still breastfeeding my 7 month old? I have not had a period yet, but wonder...am I ovulating even though I don't get a period? I've tried basal temperatures, and am now checking my urine with ovulation predictor strips. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks! anon
I am no expert, but I don't think it's likely that you are ovulating if you are not getting a period. I got my periods back when my baby was 13 months. I started trying to get pregnant when my baby was about 18 months and I was able to get pregnant twice while breastfeeding. The first time, when my baby was about 22 months, however, I miscarried that preganancy due to a blighted ovum at 12 weeks. I got pregnant again 2 months later and continued to breastfeed my first child for about 4 months...by then, my child was 27 months, my milk dried up and she was ready to stop.
I don't know why it did take so long to get pregnant the first time (i.e the time I miscarried), but I think it was more related to my age (38) than the breastfeeding. Also, after the miscarriage I talked to the doctor about it because I was worried that the breastfeeding had something to do with the miscarriage, but he said that it was not a problem. The miscarriage had more to do with my age...at 38 more of my eggs were unviable.
Anyway, my second is now 2 1/2 and she is still breastfeeding once a day.
One piece of advice for you however, ...be sure you have a OB/GYN who is supportive of breastfeeding through pregnancy. I did meet some who had some negative ideas about it (one quoted a study done in a 3rd world country where the babies had lower birthweight if the mother breastfed through pregnancy...however, I hardly live in a 3rd world country). I did a lot reading and most of what I read said it was fine and just make sure you are getting plenty of liquids, rest and nutrition. Anon
Yes it's possible to get pregnant while still breastfeeding even if you have not started bleeding again, especially if your baby is more than 6 months old. The rule for using breastfeeding as a form of birth control is that you must be feeding on demand and with no more than 6 hours ever between feedings, and exclusively breastfeeding (giving NO other foods or drinks). While it's possible that you may not be at risk of getting pregnant for some more weeks, you cannot count on it. careful mama
In my case, the answer is: there was 100% chance of getting pregnant while still nursing and not having a period. :) Elizabeth
It's possible, definitely. I know several people who were breastfeeding exclusively and got pregnant. Some people say that breastfeeding exclusively is effective as birth control only for the first 6 months - and others say it is not reliable ever. However, don't be too disappointed if you don't get pregnant right away. I didn't ovulate for 11 months, and I know other people who took a while to ovulate as well. anon
My midwife spoke to me about this issue. You can get pregnant while breast feeding. You can even ovulate while breastfeeding and not get your period. I think it depends on whether you are ready for another baby. reesie
Yep. You can. My kids are 16 months apart, to prove it. proud but surprised mama
I haven't done any reading on the topic but my best friend was quite surprised when she became pregnant only five months after giving birth to her first child. She was breastfeeding, had not had a period, and had no obvious signs of ovulating. She discontinued breastfeeding and had her second baby just fourteen months after the first. anon
You absolutely CAN get pregnant while breastfeeding. In fact, the likeliness of getting pregnant are quite high after pregnancy. Just because you period has not happened yet does not interfere with ovulation. There is a fine tuned relationship between several female hormones that effect a menstrual period. During breast-feeding there is a fine- tuned relationship with the same hormones and more that causes lactation this affects your period. Keep in mind that your body is trying to find a new balance post-pregnancy, due to all the hormonal changes. Anyway, just because a woman is not bleeding does not mean that she is not ovulating. You are indeed ovulating. In fact, due to all the hormonal changes your ovulation cycle may be a bit erratic due to the pregnancy and all the hormonal changes. FYI: Some athletes skip a period occasionally. Also, health and nutrition can affect your menstrual period. Ask your OB/GYN for more information if you'd like to more about the nitty-gritty of your reproductive cycle. Nanny in the know
You asked for your chances of getting pregnant while breastfeeding--- I can't give you a statistic, but I can give you some hope! I became pregnant with my first child at 39, and while breastfeeding during her second year, got pregnant again as soon as we tried. I continued to nurse her during the pregnancy, and in tandem with the new baby for 2 more years. Then I weaned her and continued with my son up until age 4 years. My ob-gyn always assured me it would be fine, and it was. Keep up your spirit! Frieda
You absolutely can. My close friend, who probably doesn't want to be listed here, has 2 girls one year apart. She was nursing and didn't realize her cycle was in full swing because her periods hadn't reallly started. I'm sure others will respond with more detail... Heather
Hi there. This past weekend we celebrated the second birthday of our lovely daughter who was conceived while I was still breastfeeding. My (now) older daughter was about 8 months old or so, and had started to lose a little interest in breastfeeding. I was still breastfeeding a couple times a day and at night, but she was also taking formula and because she was small for her age had started a little bit with soft solids. Anyhoo, I got a period, and then waited about twelve months for the next one, during which time I conceived, gestated and delivered another child. Once THAT one was about seven months old I got my second period. I promise you, my husband and I had LITERALLY had sex ONCE that whole month, and it was right before when I expected the next period. I didn't even consider contraception. When my pregnancy was confirmed the doctor told me that for several months after you start getting your periods again (and for several weeks or so before the very first one) you ovulate.
What are the chances you'd get pregant while nursing a 7-month- old, given that you have not had a period yet? Pretty low. Especially if you are exclusively breastfeeding (no formula, no solids yet) and you nurse at night. You can ovulate before your first post partum period, but it isn't terribly likely at only 7 months. However, if you're counting on it as birth control, don't -- after 6 months the chance of a pregnancy does go up past what is considered ''safe'', and once solid foods are introduced and/or the baby ceases to nurse in the wee hours, it increases further. If you WANT to get pregnant again quickly, well, it's still pretty early to do anything much about that; I'd suggest waiting until your baby is at least a year old, for the health of all concerned (you, the baby you already have and the hypothetical second baby!). Your period may have returned by then -- the average for breastfeeding mothers is about 14 months -- and once that happens you most certainly can get pregnant while still breastfeeding. (I did with no trouble, though not until my first was 2.5 years old and only nursing once a day.)
I just found out I am pregnant for my second child and I am still breastfeeding my first, who is 12 months old. We are a co- sleeping, attachment parenting-style family. I have absolutely no support from my family, pediatrician, etc. Everyone offers advice, but none I want to hear: ''You'll have to wean her immediately.'' or ''Get her in a crib right away or you'll be sorry when #2 is here.'' I would be very interested in hearing from similar-minded attachment parents who have successfully continued co-sleeping and breastfeeding the first child, when the second one comes around. I would very much like to continue what we are doing, but fear it might be too much for me to handle in terms of stress to my body, lack of sleep, lack of support, etc. I am desperately searching for some positive role models and success stories - I know you're out there! anon
Yeah, we're out here. :-) My #1 is quite a bit older and not nearly so dependent on nursing, so maybe that explains why I haven't gotten any negative comments -- or maybe it's just the ''don't go there'' vibes I give off! Anyway, of course you don't have to wean your toddler nor kick her out of the family bed if you don't want to, and of course co-sleeping with two and nursing through pregnancy and beyond presents some special challenges for which you could use some support and advice. I heartily recommend the book _Adventures in Tandem Nursing_ by Hilary Flower. In fact, I'll loan it to you if you want to come pick it up. holly
My 2nd pregnancy came even earlier than yours - my daughter was 8 months old. I, too, insisited I could and should continue with family bed, etc. My daugher actually weaned herself (and began again after her brother was born) because my milk changed. I see that now as my body trying to take care of me to whatever degree it could, but I still was overtired and gained too much weight in that second pregnancy! It's hard on a mother to have kids so close together, and although I wouldn't change it for the world, I would also consider how to take better care of myself. We tend to think that by putting all of our energy into what is just right for our little beings, that we give too little to ourselves. And when we aren't nourished, rested, and taken care of, we are unable to take care of the kids, whether we recognize it or not.
So whatever you decide, trust that it's just like the oxygen mask on the airplane -- take care of your self before assisting your child. As a parent who has come more fully into that practice, I can tell you that it is not only better for me, it is way better for my kids as well! Been there
My first was ten months old when I got pregnant with my second. We were still nursing strong. My milk supply dropped almost immediately (for me it was one of the tip offs that I was preg) and I found I was very, very sleepy--and prone to being an extremely cranky mommy. Because I'd already learned I am more able to be the parent I want to be (patient, engaged, playful) when I am more rested and less depleted, I gradually weened my daughter over the next several months--the last time she nursed was some time in her 13th month. When and how to ween is a deeply personal choice, but this worked for me. I'd be happy to communicate more about this choice if you'd like; two that close in age is a lot of work...but now, almost three years after the birth of my youngest, life is getting a lot easier, and they do, as people told me they would and I couldn't quite believe, play together all the time. Good luck with however you decide to do it. --Eve
My first was 7 months old when I became pregnant with our second. I was still breast-feeding our first and was determined to make it to 12 months with her. Doctors, family members and others kept telling me to immediately wean my first, but I managed to make it to 11 months with her (breast-feeding). My advice is to listen to your own body. Although it was very challenging to continue to breastfeed my first while pregnant with the second, you should do whatever you feel you can handle. I strongly believe your body will tell you when/if it's time to stop breast-feeding/co-sleeping, etc. Hope that helps! Been there
I breastfed my first child through 2 pregnancies (the first pregnancy ended in miscarriage at 3 months due to a blighted ovum)...the 2nd pregnancy, we nursed for about 3-4 months until my milk dried up (she was only nursing once a day by then).
I was also co-sleeping with my first child (she would go down in crib at beginning of night...I brought her to bed when she woke in middle of night).
My OB was okay with my breastfeeding...just be sure you are getting PLENTY of water and are eating enough. The only study done on breastfeeding pregnant moms was done in a 3rd world country and showed lower birth weights for 2nd children. But this is not a 3rd world country and I do not think it's an appropriate study mothers in this country. NOTE: I planned on breastfeeding through pregnancy and sought out a doctor who would be okay with this...I had to interview several before I found one which was okay with this, and supportive of natural childbirth.
My first child was older than yours...she was almost 3 when our 2nd child was born. I did move her from her crib into her own big girl bed about 4 months before the baby came and then instead of bringing her to bed with us when she woke...I would go lie down with her in her bed for a while until she went back to sleep. Now, we have a blanket and mat on the floor in our room...if she wakes, she is allowed to come sleep there and this is okay with her. She goes right back to sleep on our floor.
There is a lot of good info on the web about nursing through pregnancy and tandem nursing. Checkout www.parentsplace.com and www.breastfeeding.org. Good LucK! Anon
It is amazing to me how much other people think they know us better, or know our children better, or our family better than we do ourselves... and how upsetting it can be for recipients of this kind of advice. I think the whole idea of advice is that we can consider it, but if it doesn't fit, it can be discarded. So ... don't worry too much about what other people want you to do. Good for you to find support for the kind of parenting you want to do. This said, I too have had plenty of ''advice'' from my family about my parenting. Now I am more careful about what I share (if possible), and have chosen a group of friends who have similar values, so I can get the support if I need it. That said: I too have tandem nursed my children, that's the term for breastfeeding two children of different ages. Mine was older than yours (3.5 at the birth of the younger one), but not yet ready to wean, and I co-slept. I'm a single mom. I was convinced that weaning would not be good for the older one, and I stuck with it. I am glad I did. I think it helped a lot with the sibling rivalry. I did limit her, as she was so much older and had times when she could nurse, and most when she couldn't. I'm not sure how that would go in your situation as your child is so much younger. La Leche has a new book out on Tandem Nursing, called ''Adventures in tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding during Pregnancy and Beyond'' by Hilary Flower. This might be useful. I know several people in La Leche who have tandem nursed and I'm sure would be very willing to discuss ideas. You could contact a local leader if you were interested. Also the Neighborhood Parents Network has a playgroup for attachment parenting parents, and you might find similar minded people there as well who could share thoughts. Just wanted to encourage you to do what you believe in, and don't worry too much about what other people say. Best of luck! Yvette
Hi! Well, you are lucky you live in the Bay Area and have access to so many folks with similar styles! I find wonderful support through my Attachment Parenting group - see http://www.motherstuff.com/html/parent-attach.htm or look for a home schooling play group. I had the same question when I was pregnant with my second child and was relieved that I could talk to six or seven moms who had been through it.
We conceived our second child when our first was a 21-month-old nursling and co-sleeper. All my non-AP friends and family commented about this - I heard the same words you did - even from my homebirth midwives!!! In retrospect, considering that I was hearing this from my midwives, I think we must realize that folks are very concerned about OUR well-being (with good reason). My second pregnancy was EXHAUSTING (just my experience) and any extra rest I could get was welcome.
I nursed & coslept my first throughout the pregnancy - this was very painful (nipple soreness) for the first trimester, no problem in the second trimester, and then mentally challenging in the third trimester. If you search for tandem nursing at the links folks already gave, you'll see that many tandem nursing moms experience strong feelings of anger, resentment, and a ''just get OFF me!'' feeling with their nursing toddler as the pregnancy progresses and after the new baby comes. I toughed it out through this feeling for a while and then I started thinking P if we honor our childrensU needs as biologically based, why donUt we honor our own feelings as biologically based? It seemed to me that my body/mind was telling me to stop nursing my toddler. I started limiting my now 2-year-oldUs nursing in length and frequency P mostly through distraction. After baby came, I nearly eliminated the toddlerUs nursing for the first couple of weeks (to ensure baby got all the colostrum). Baby is now 5 months old and my toddler now nurses upon waking in the morning and that is about it.
Regarding co-sleeping, I couldnUt imagine tossing my toddler out of my bed, but amazingly, sheUs sleeping by herself now. As my belly grew, I was less and less comfortable in bed and started sleeping on the sofa. So around my eighth month, I realized my toddler was sleeping in the queen-sized bed by herself and my husband and I were on the sofas!! At this point, I accepted an offer of a bunk bed and instead of nursing my toddler down in the big bed, we put her in the bunk bed. We still cuddle her to sleep and go to her at night when she awakes, but she largely sleeps in the bunk bed in a different room than the baby. This was the other big worry for me P what would I do when I had both kids in bed waking each other up in the middle of the night P and my husband gone at work?? Eeek! So it was a real blessing when the toddler moved to a different room and I didnUt have to deal with the two waking each other up at night. Okay, sometimes it happened, but not every time. Now with the baby at 5 months, my husband is on nighttime toddler duty on nights that heUs home and on nights heUs gone, I still bounce between the beds P but I get much more sleep.
So SORRY for the long post P but I wanted to give you another data point P I think the main thing IUve learned is that I need to LISTEN to and RESPECT my own needs as well as my childrenUs needs. If I donUt get enough sleep, IUm not as good a mom as I can be. If mamaUs not happy, nobodyUs happy. Christina
My adivce is to continue breastfeeding--as long as it feels good and right. I planned to breastfeed my first child while I was pregnant. But about 2 months into the pregnancy it just didn't feel right. I was too tired, my breasts were uncomfortable, and I wasn't enjoying it anymore. I cut back and stopped within a 2 weeks period. The following week I found out I was carrying twins. I had sensed that it was too much for my body and it was. My La Leche League book about mulitples reccomends stopping breastfeeding immediatly if you are carrying twins--of course you might not know until your 20 week ultrasound. So do what feels right and eat a lot! Sarah
I nursed my oldest through a miscarriage, and then the pregnancy that gave us her little brother when she was a month shy of three years old. In fact, she just weaned herself (with a little encouragement) a few weeks ago, a month after her fifth birthday.
Tandem nursing was a disaster at first, but I would probably do it again. Before my son was born, about half the nights my daughter slept through the night, and the other nights, she woke up and nursed briefly before going back to sleep. She had just moved into her own bed, and if she woke up, she would come crawl in with us. (She moved back into our bed when Kyle was born.) But I had no milk, and hadn't had any for a while. Right before the baby came I would ask her if the milk was yummy or yucky. She would look up at me, give me a sly smile, and say yummy. It had to be just tiny amounts of colostrum; she just liked to nurse.
Then...my milk came in after the birth. When she nursed at night, there was so much milk she would nurse and nurse, and then pee and pee, and then nurse and nurse again. She gained 5 pounds in a few weeks, and I'm sure a lot of that caloric intake was happening while nursing at night. I ended up nursing one or both of them from midnight to 4 every morning, and I went nuts. (Although I sure enjoyed eating during that period!)
So I weaned her at night. She was pretty darn good about it. I love the fact that she was old enough to talk about it with. She's a nice kid, and she did her best to make our family life work. I also gave her an extremely detailed account of what had happened the night before. That helped a lot. She didn't want to miss anything that was happening at night.
Nursing them both at the same time doesn't work very well at first, because you need two hands for the baby, and there just isn't a comfortable position for the big kid to be in and. And although I occasionally tandem nursed in public, I didnUt love it.
Fortunately, I got some encouragement from a lovely mom I knew, who was loving tandem nursing because every night she sat up in bed, and nursed both of her kids to sleep at the same time in ten minutes. I never quite got there, but eventually nursing them both at the same time was really fun. We would all snuggle in the mornings or when I got home from work and nurse and it was delicious. My kids would make faces at each other and play around, and swap boobs, or I could read to the older one while nursing the babe down for a nap.
Overall, I think that having a second kid was going to be hard for me, tandem nursing or not. I had a hard time giving up the old, three person family, when the new four person family arrived, and nursing was just the arena my angst got acted out in. Sarah
still nurse my 2 1/2 year old about 3 times a day, when he gets up, when he naps (and then he nurses to sleep--haven't been able to get him to nap any other way from the beginning), and before bedtime. I'm pregnant and the nipple soreness from hormone changes is making me seriously think about weaning. The only thing is that he is so emotionally attached to nursing. He will get so desperate right beforehand and then the palpable relief as he latches on is huge. And if he thinks I am going to try to sidetrack him into just cuddling, he gets fairly upset. He eats well and drinks both milk and water easily, but the emotional attachment to nursing just doesn't seem to be going to fade easily. I guess my questions for you are: 1) Did you have a nursing 2-3 year old who was very attached and then self-weaned? 2)Did you have a nursling who self-weaned when the milk changed during pregnancy? Do you remember when your milk changed taste/supply? 3) Is there any difference between weaning a kid who is 2 1/2 vs. 2 yr 9 months vs 3 years? 4) Any opinions/experience on how close to birth to wean? (I can imagine it might not be a good idea to do it the week before, but what about 2 months before? 3 months?) 5) Have you had a kid who nursed to sleep for nap and then were able to get them to nap just with cuddling? (He can fall asleep on his own for bedtime fine, but has never been able to do it for naps). 6) Any ideas for weaning a kid who is so attached to nursing? I'd rather not tandem nurse but I would if I had to. But if I'd just have to go through the same thing at 4 1/2, then I'd rather just do it now. sore breasted mama
I was still nursing my almost 2 year old daughter twice a day (morning and night) when I got pregnant with my second. I just suffered through the painful nipples. I had a miscarriage at 3 months and stopped nursing her in the morning (she forgot a couple of days, so I just didn't remind her). When she asked for it in the morning a few days later, I just told her we'll just nurse at night now and she was okay with that.
I continued to nurse at night and got pregnant again 2 months later. I didn't have much milk and my docter wanted my daughter to drink more cow's milk (which she didn't like), so we had started offering her a bottle of chocolate milk (with just a tiny amount of chocolate...I let her help put the chocolate syrup in) at night several months before. I would nurse her first and then offer her the chocolate milk bottle. As there was less and less milk, she would nurse for a shorter and shorter time. By 2 years and 4 months she stopped asking to nurse and just drank the bottle. Over the next few months, she would ask to nurse once in a while but would barely latch on before saying ''No more''.
I was worried that once the baby came, she would want to start again, but decided that would be okay. But she didn't want to start again...she wanted to try it once or twice but didn't really have any interest (especially, since I only let her do it after the baby nursed and nothing really was left for her to taste).
Good luck cecilia
I probably can't help a whole lot because I'm not ahead of you in this process, I'm at the same place! But I have no particular qualms about tandem nursing, which it begins to look as though I am going to wind up doing. So far (I'm still in my first trimester), my nipples aren't particularly sore, and if my milk has changed or lessened, my son hasn't commented.
I do know people whose older child self-weaned mid-pregnancy -- one claims that as soon as she told her son that it hurt her, he stopped nursing and never looked back! I also one who *wanted* to wean the older child because the sore nipples were driving her mad, but she wasn't able to do it and by later in her pregnancy it wasn't bothering her any more; then, her baby was born with a severe cleft palate, so she had to exclusively pump, and she was very glad her toddler was still nursing, which helped bring her milk in faster and keep her milk supply up! For what it's worth, of the moms I know who have tandem nursed or are tandem nursing, none of them love the experience, but none of them seriously regret not having weaned the older child; several say that they really believe the siblings have a better relationship because there was no resentment or jealousy from the older one over mama's milk. anon
Hi there I was in a similar situation, though there were no routine nursing times except before bedtime. Whenever my daughter wanted and it was ok I nursed her (she also drank milk). It seemed as she might wean herself, but then I got pregnant I guess the milk started flowing rapidly, and she actually started to nurse much more than before. Because of the reasons you gave (pain and preferance not to tandem) my husband and I decided that at 21/2 I would wean her. We gave her almost 2 months notice, we talked a lot about her becoming 21/2, that kids that age don't nurse, they eat and drink other things. We told her she would get a tricicle when she's that age. We did a count down, first by weeks, then by days. When the day came, she knew she was 21/2, and never asked to nurse again.
We did it almost 6 months before the birth.
She did ask a few times: ''When will I stop being 21/2?'' but she stopped after a week or two. She uses the pacifier much more now. She asks to feel my nipples, and I allow her (unless it really hurts). This is her new way of soothing.
I hope it helps in any way. Another pregnant mom
My daughter was very attached to nursing at that age; she self weaned at age 5 when I was entering the third trimester of my twin pregnancy. Yes, I was sore, so I gently encouraged her by tellinh her I was sore and asking her to be quick, or I;'d say ''just a little bit'' and she'd pretty much respect that. And I wasn;t that sore after the first trimester. Of course, she was a lot older than yours and I was prepared to tandem nurse if it came to that, so it might be different. Karen S.
My goal was to wean my now 25 month old by Thanksgiving (my second child is due in January) and it actually happened the day before his second birthday. It was so painful to nurse him that when I was trying to nurse him to sleep for naps I had to detach him before he was asleep which caused lots of turmoil and lots of missed naps. Like you, I was convinced that weaning would be hellish and I hoped he would wean himself when my milk changed/decreased (I think that occurred around five months into my pregnancy). He didn't care what the taste was or how much milk I had though. The experience was difficult for both of us but it wasn't nearly as hard as I had anticipated.
When I had him down to three nursings a day, I decided that I would drop the night time nursing first. My husband and I talked to him about it all day and that night my husband put him to sleep. It went much more smoothly than I expected. About a month later he stopped asking for his morning nurse as often. When he did ask to nurse in the morning, I would quickly give him milk or yogurt and he wouldn't ask again. He still asks in the morning periodically but it turns out he's usually hungry. The last one to drop was the nap nursing which was difficult but I just couldn't continue with the pain and frustration we were both experiencing. I explained to him that I was going to put to sleep without nursing. I still have more trouble getting him to sleep than my husband but I'm so relieved to have a break from nursing before my second child is born! I^Rm also hoping that this will make it easier for him when he sees his brother nursing. We talk to him a lot about the fact that babies need to nurse and that he doesn^Rt need to anymore. The other day he told my husband that he would eat a sandwich while his brother nursed! I recommend getting things started as soon as possible so you don't have to rush through this very sensitive time for your son. Lots of luck to you! AP
An excellent book that just came out is ''Adventures in Tandem Nursing''. It is published by La Leche league and is a great resource for all the issues you mentioned. Melissa
I just found out I am pregnant and I need to hear from moms who nurse into toddlerhood about what to do. My 2 1/2 year old nurses to sleep for nap and bedtime and a few night wakings. I am so concerned about him continuing to nurse this much when the baby is born just after my son turns 3 years old. I gave my son a ''bye-bye nursing party'' and he loved it and when it came time to go to bed without nursing he cried hysterically for 30 minutes, even while I held him. I gave in because I thought it would never end. I'm weak when it comes to him crying. He looked as if something in him was dying. I wonder if anyone has continued to nurse their toddler while having another child. Is it OK to nurse while pregnant? Does it help to keep nursing the other child so they don't feel left out? OR, how have people cut the nursings off, especially falling to sleep nursings. Realistically, what should I expect him to go through? I am losing sleep over this. DOn't know how to approach it. Any help from moms who have been through simialr situations would help. I am a P/T stay at home mom. Working only 2 days a week.
pregnant and panicked
I became pregnant when my son turned two. He was still nursing a lot (to sleep at naptime and bedtime, during the night and often during the day.) I night-weaned him when I was two months along because I was so tired, but didn't try to wean at other times. I did, however, start to limit the lenght of time that he nursed each time.
Once the baby came, I cut back the older son's nursings to three times a day (morning wake-up, to sleep at nap, and bedtime.) For two months this worked, then he started to ask all of the time. I let him nurse more for about one month, and then felt to tired. I cut back to three times again, but was very firm about. When my younger son was three months, I cut out the naptime nursing and then a month later, the bedtime nursing. Right now, my younger son is six months old and my older son is three and nurses only once in the early morning.
These are only some details, so if you want more info on how I felt, how my son reacted, or how we made these changes, please feel free to email me directly. I'd be happy to share more.Also there is a La Leche League toddler meeting that meets every other month in Berkeley that helped me a lot with these issues. If you email me, I'll send the details. Olivia
I became pregnant while still nursing my first child. Although my nipples were a bit sore at first, it worked out fine. My older child slowed down the nursing during the pregnancy as I think the taste of my milk changed. But then after the second child was born, she renewed nursing with vigor! I was able to nurse them both at the same time by positioning the baby first and then letting the older child latch on. I think it helped alleviate jealousy as my older one saw that the baby wasn't displacing her. Also, I lost my pregancy weight very fast -- it was great!
I continued to nurse through my pregnancy, but my milk gradually disappeared by about the 7th month. My son told me it was salty and getting less, and he was sad when it stopped. At least it was gradual, and he knew I didn't choose to stop it. He nursed a little when the baby came, but she quickly learned to push his nose away, which is now a funny story they both enjoy. It all worked out. It's hard to find information on this, so I recommend contacting Pam at the La Leche League. Mommy
This link may be of use to you. It's from the La Leche League. http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/tandem.html anon
YES, you can continue to nurse your toddler while you are pregnant and after your new baby is born! I haven't had this experience myself (yet) but I know many moms who have.
The only exception would be if you are at special risk of pre- term labor, in which case you should avoid nursing the toddler in the last trimester or so, because the stimulation to your nipples could bring on contractions. And some moms wean the older child in mid-pregnancy because it just gets painful, due to senstitive nipples and a shrinking lap, or the child weans because of the changes in the breastmilk itself (lower supply, changes to colostrum).
But if you make it through the pregnancy without weaning, having the older child nursing helps bring your milk in earlier and boosts your milk supply for the baby and is an immense help in avoiding sibling rivalry problems. Tandem nursing can be awkward and time-consuming, but the moms I know who've done it (or are doing it) report that overall they're glad they did (do).
I recommend you subscribe to the Usenet newsgroup misc.kids.breastfeeding. There are quite a few tandem nursing moms there who can offer all kids of good advice and support to you. Holly
I nursed my daughter while I was pregnant with twins until seven months, at which point she self-weaned. This is apparently quite common, as the taste and supply of your milk is affected. My midwife and OB said that as long as you're gaining weight and no problems develop, it's fine to nurse a toddler/ older child through pregnancy. You'll certainly want to prepare your toddler that baby's needs come first. I've seen plenty of moms tandem nurse a baby and older child; you might want to look to La Leche League for advice and support. karen
My 20 month-old son and I have a wonderful nursing relationship and I am really torn about whether or not to try to wean him now that I am pregnant again. On the one hand, I am seriously concerned that nursing while pregnant will make me feel even more tired than I have been during my previous two pregnancies. I am 41 years old (I don't know if age makes one more prone to tiredness during pregnancy) and I have a lot of responsibilities to tend to over the next nine months. I need all the energy I can muster. On the other hand, the idea of weaning my son before he wants to is really gut-wrenching. I really don't want to stop nursing, and he certainly doesn't want to either. He nurses approximately three times a day: mid-afternoon when he gets home from childcare, nighttime before bed, and 5 a.m. in bed (we co-sleep) before falling back to sleep again. One thing I have noticed since the pregnancy began (which was just recently, LMP 12/28/01) is that my milk supply has gone down of its own accord. So I've been offering him more water and milk in his sippy cup, as an alternative to my breast. It would be wonderful if my milk supply would just gradually decline of its own accord; he could gradually get used to cuddling and drinking from a bottle; and I could avoid having to willfully cut him off. But that seems like too good a scenario to be true. I would love to hear from other parents who have faced these dilemmas. --Anonymous
Dear Torn: My children are 17 months apart. My first was a no bottle girl and breast fed until just after her first birthday when she mysteriously asked for a bottle. We had the bottles around to see if they would become attracktive (hoping, actually). Then, about a month later, I found out I was 23 weeks pregnant! I had nursed our first for the first 5 months of my second pregnancy without ever knowing I was pregnant. No period, no pregnancy symptoms, except weight and fatige! So, my experience is different, but I do think my milk supply changed. I even think the taste was different and certainly the supply dwindled. Letting go of nursing was very hard for me. We loved it together and when our daughter weaned herself so suddenly it was a loss. The loss was not without reason or explaination, or even in the natural flow of our family forming, but it was nonetheless a loss. Talk to your friends and partner. It is a big transition. Best. jocelyn
It sounds like you are ready to wean, and that you've thought about how to gradually switch over to sippy cup and cuddling. I got pregnant with my second when my first was 11 months old. I was nursing several times a day at that point, but over the next two months, she switched over to other fluids/sources of comfort. It was perhaps earlier than was best for her, but it was necessary for me. My milk supply had already dropped and I was incredibly fatigued. I needed my energy. And I also did not want to tandem nurse. Anonymous
My first baby was 10 months old when I found out I was pregnant with my second. At the time I was 36 years old and both nursing and pumping (at work). My pediatrician advised me to stop nursing and pumping as soon as possible because she believes your body's nutrients go to the breasts first, and are therefore potentially taking them away from the new baby. I took her advice, and it took me about 10 days to wean my daughter. I know it's different for everyone, but for me it was the perfect advice. I was relieved to know that I could focus my body entirely on the new baby, and give my breasts a break between children. I never felt like I lost any intimacy with my first baby, even after my second was born. We still had all of our snuggle time, and she didn't seem to notice any difference (she was already used to bottles from my pumping). My second daughter is now 11 months old, and I just finished weaning her from the breast as well. It's such a relief. For the first time after being continuously pregnant or nursing for over 3 years, I now have my body back again. My girls are both strong, healthy and happy. I've read a lot of posts on here from women who have happily continued nursing through subsequent pregnancies, and like I said, everyone is different. But for me, it was the right thing to do, and it worked out fine. anonymous
To the mom torn about weaning during pregnancy, I understand your emotions because I went through the same thing with my 12mo daughter while pregnant with my son. I finally *knew* when it was time to wean because the actual sucking was really starting to annoy me. Before then, I had thought my child would never wean well, and it seemed so overwhelming for me. I kept wondering how she would fall asleep at night. It was absolutlely no problem! Once I made the firm decision that I would wean, it took only 2 weeks to complete the process, with only a few times after that when she was sick and I felt she needed it to relax and sleep. I was so surprised at how she accepted it. Not long after that I found out that a friend had just weaned her 12 mo son, and it only took a week. I think that the struggle can sometimes be tougher (mentally) on the parent than the child. I think being firm about your decision can make a difference because it forces you to find other alternatives. Rubbing my girl's back while singing to her worked well for us. Good luck. anonymous
I, too, went through the same dilema. But the weaning was much easier than I had ever imagined. My daughter was 17 months old and nursing about 3-4 times a day. Gradually she started dropping the feedings on her own, around the same time I had gotten pregnant (although I didn't know it yet). By the time I was four months pregnant, we were down to one feeding every other night or morning, my husband and I went away together alone for two nights (something I highly encourage before the next one comes). My mom and dad substituted a cow's milk bottle in the am and pm for those two nights (she had had cow's milk bottles a handful of times before that). When I came home, she never had an interest in nursing again. In fact she had completely forgotten about it. I know you enjoy it, I did also. I also felt that she would make the decision when to stop. I have heard that the milk may taste different when you are pregnant, and I think this may have been a factor in her weaning.
Also, she had developed her sense of independence about that time (almost age 2) and was busy doing her new-found me activities. The bottle of milk may also have been more satisfying/filling, and I could cuddle up with her and read to her at night while she was drinking, and the transistion seemed very natural. It's something I still enjoy doing every night with her, a little cuddling, and reading, makes her feel safe and secure, even though her world has been rocked by having a new baby around. I have friends who have successfully nursed through their pregnancy and continued nursing both children after the baby was born. The biggest thing they said was they needed to eat well and rest often or the milk supply would become low and then their energy would burn out. Whatever your choice/decision is, make sure you have a little time every day to put your feet up, close your eyes,relax and enjoy a little time to yourself. Having a toddler and being pregnant is very tiring in itself. Good luck! Kerri
I noticed that all the responses to your question so far are from moms who weaned while pregnant. I continued nursing through my second pregnancy (my kids are 20 months apart), and although there were no complications as a result, I'm not sure I'd do it again. It is true that the milk supply diminishes during the second trimester, and becomes colostrum around the time of delivery, but my son was totally unphased by this change and fought the weaning process. I wasn't sure I was ready for it either, since I treasured our close time and liked the convenient source of security. When I went into early labor, my son sensed that something was amiss, and wanted to nurse frequently - while the stimulation from breastfeeding is probably a positive thing as far as getting labor going, having a child at the breast while contracting is not one of my favorite memories!
After having my baby, I frequently found myself with both kids at the breast, and totally exhausted (probably mostly emotionally) because of it. My toddler initially wanted to nurse much more frequently than normal, but eventually let up to the point of completely weaning at 2 years. I'm not sure how many women who tandem nurse experience this, but after delivering, I found myself feeling slightly resentful (and then, guilty) that my toddler wanted to nurse so often. It is because those feelings were so difficult for me to accept that I would not do the same thing again. Anonymous
I nursed my first child throughout the pregnancy with my second, and then tandem nursed them after the birth. It worked out great! Although my nipples were a little sore during pregnancy, and my milk supply dropped a little, my daughter didn't mind. When the baby was born, I think tandem nursing fostered closeness in the two of them -- my daughter could see that the baby wasn't displacing her at the breast, so she wasn't as jealous. She would even hold hands with the baby while they nursed -- it was so cute! Even today, the two of them play together wonderfully. It probably was a little more tiring for me, but it was worth it giving them a good start (and it's a lot less exhausting now when they can entertain each other). Anonymous
Does anyone have any advice / personal experience to share about nursing while pregnant? I still nurse my 15-month-old son 2-3 times per 24 hours, and am about 6 weeks pregnant. My doctor's generic advice is if you're breastfeeding and pregnant, stop breastfeeding. I would like to gradually wean my son by the middle of the second trimester, but don't want to go cold-turkey. On the other hand, I don't want to greatly increase my chance of miscarriage. (My first pregnancy went very smoothly, and I have no reason to believe I'm high-risk this time.) There seems to be mixed opinion in the medical community about this...Thanks for any thoughts.
Can anyone give me tips, stories, or advice about nursing a toddler through a pregnancy, and then nursing them both after the new baby is born? I am 2 months pregnant and still nursing my 2 year old. We have just naturally reduced the amount of nursing down to about 3 times a day (evening, before bed, and in the early morning), and I want to continue on this very slow road to weaning. I basically don't want this pregnancy to be a reason for forced weaning, and I want my toddler to feel in control of the weaning (if that doesn't sound to weird). So far, the only problem has been my incredibly sensitive nipples, but I can live with that. I guess I am interested in other mothers' experience. How common is this? Are there problems with jealousy after the new baby is born? Not enough milk for two? Thank you in advance!
From: a mom
I became pregnant a second time when I was still nursing my first child (then 3 years old), and pregnant a third time when I was nursing my second child, (when he was about 3.5 years old). Both times I was very concerned about my children not feeling rejection from me in any way--and yet nursing with my sore and sensitive breasts was increasingly uncomfortable for me. In each case, we achieved a trauma-free weaning sometime in my second trimester. I did work towards it, by making myself more unavailable at key times, and increasing the amount of snuggle time during which we read or just talked. I also said ouch and communicated about soreness when it occurred. When it was very sore, I explained that and said that we couldn't nurse right then. But the weanings felt mutual--my children both seemed to reciprocate my actions as nursing seemed less comfortable. I also wondered if there was some change in taste in my milk that occurred around the 2nd semester, that made things just work out.
I nursed my older daughter throughout my pregnancy and after the baby was born. I found I could nurse them both at once if I got the baby to latch on first and positioned myself in bed with pillows on both sides. Then my daughter could lie down beside me and find the nipple. (The baby was still learning how to latch on correctly while my daughter could nurse in practically any position.) Most of the time I would nurse the baby first on one breast. It was actually very sweet. They would hold hands while nursing and look at each other. I think it helped avoid jealousy on my daughter's part. She was actually very good with the baby, helpful and loving and made only positive comments about him. She was also quite helpful when I got engorged or had a plugged duct.
For support and advice about tandem nursing, free of charge, I highly recommend La Leche League meetings. One group meets in Albany on the first Friday of the month, and one on the 3rd Wednesday.
I once took a class on breast-feeding taught by my OB-Gyn's wife. The best book she recommended is The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins, RN, MS. There are a couple of paragraphs on nursing while breastfeeding. The author said it's not harmful, and even recommends continuing if the baby is under 6 months old. She said pregancy does decrease the milk supply, and when birth is near, and the body reverts to producing colostrum. These changes cause some babies to wean themselves.
I continued to breastfeed my son throughout pregnancy (and still do, now that the new baby is a month old). He was about 17 months when I became pregnant and I continued to nurse on demand (including at night) until he was about 18 months old, when I imposed a schedule- before bed, in the morning before getting up, and before naptime when he is at home (during the week he is at UC daycare for naptime). The first few days of the schedule were a bit tough, but he stopped asking during the day pretty quickly. Night was tougher, but after a while he would just go back to sleep if he could lie next to me. I'm sure he didn't get much milk, especially towards the end of the pregnancy (there is no biological reason I'm aware of that you can't nurse- pregnancy lessens the production by several different mechanisms, but as long as you are well nourished it shouldn't be a problem- your body will take for the embryo/fetus first, hence the name Kwashiorkor (a protein deficiency ailment common in developing countries, usually of young children) which translates into something like the evil eye of the child in the womb on the child already born). My doctor (Debra Levinsky) had also nursed her first while pregnant with the second and hence had no problem with it. She did suggest weaning about three months before birth, but not for medical reasons- her first child would stand by and cry (without knowing why?) while the new baby nursed. In our case, we have definitely had some arguments because big brother (now 27 months) is jealous that baby brother gets to nurse so often, but I try to stay firm about when the older child is allowed to nurse (and I also try to let him nurse alone, which doesn't always work), and he seems to be gradually adjusting fairly well. I think the nursing is enough of a comfort/security issue to him to be worth the hassles, and he definitely gets a lot more milk now! Good luck!
From: a mom
I breastfed my 2+-year-old while pregnant, and only encountered two problems:
1) First 10-15 seconds per nipple were *incredibly painful.*
2) I am on the thin side, and it was really quite difficult to gain the proper amount of weight for a second pregnancy. I think that if you're eating enough, there shouldn't be any danger of miscarriage.
The general rule of thumb about bfing while pregnant is that if it's safe for you to have sex, it's safe for you to nurse. Nursing releases oxytocin which causes uterine contractions that are not as strong as the contractions you get with an orgasm. There's no evidence at all linking bfing with miscarriages though this is an area where it's very difficult to tell what caused what. The key issue is nutrition. The adage that fetus will take first, then toddler, leaving mom the leftovers is not true, it's a bit more complicated than that. If there are any risks for the fetus or the mom it would be in this area. I nursed througout pregnancy and my 3 1/2 year old is now in the process of weaning himself. The baby is now one. Many kids wean during the second trimester when the milk is sour and/or dries up. During pregnancy I spot weaned, meaning I cut my son down to two times a day. Lots of kids who wean during pregnancy begin again after the baby is born and the milk comes in. As long as mom's nutrition is fine there should be no problem and I know many women who have done/are doing this.
1) For mothers who are tandem nursing (differing ages) or expecting to: To subscribe go to:http://www.onelist.com/subscribe.cgi/tandem
2) Pregnancy Attachment Parenting List: mailto:pgap-request AT kjsl.com Put subscribe in the body of the message.
A friend of mine almost miscarried (blood, hospital, etc) because she was breastfeeding. I am no expert but from what I hear, breastfeeding causes contractions. I know what you mean about gradual weaning though. I just weaned my 13 month old, not because I wanted to, but because I had to in order to take some medication that is necessary for my health. It is the toughest thing I have done as a mother. I did it in 2 weeks and it was very hard. I nursed her for the last time a few nights ago and then I sobbed and haven't quite recovered. I wish I had a few months to do it in, but I did not. She will recover, I am sure.
To the mother who wanted to get pregnant but her baby was still nursing strong at 17 months: I don't think you need to deliberately cut back. My daughter was still nursing quite a bit at this time, but at 18 months my period came back anyway. From what I hear, your body's fertility reasserts itself at around this time no matter what you do!
There's a mailing list for mother's who are tandem nursing or planning to tandem nurse on egroups/onelist that I was on for a while. If you want to read about people's experiences I'd suggest signing up. Also see if there's a msg board on parentsplace. I'm guessing that I addressed this question before and am on the ucb website. I'd recommend reading the section on this in _Mothering Your Nursing Toddler_. Like you, I spot weaned my older child and when the baby was born kept him to the two nursings a day.
Some who've done it say that the tandem nursing did a lot to decrease sibling jealousy because the older child could share this with the younger. I think that in my case it was an added source of jealousy partly because I found early on that I couldn't physically nurse them at the same time. But, though my older child was jealous with a capital J when his younger brother was born, now, 2 1/2 years later they get along wonderfully.
Don't worry about not having enough milk. For most women supply = demand. I didn't have any method but I also nursed the baby completely on demand, which sometimes meant every 20mins. Sometimes he'd have to work a little harder if I'd just nursed the older child but it always worked itself out. Sophie
My baby is just turning one, and my husband and I have been trying for about 4 months to have another. I know that's not a long time, but I wonder if the fact that I'm still nursing has anything to do with our lack of success. I'm only nursing two or three times a day, since I'm working fulltime now, and I really don't want to give it up, since I see my baby so little. My questions are: will I have to make a choice between continuing nursing and getting pregnant again? Or should I wait a couple more months before I worry about it, and see if we can wean gradually (my preference)? How long should I wait before considering this a problem? I have gotten my period but it's pretty irregular - how can I tell if and when I ovulate since my cycles seem so off? I'm almost 39 - I don't want to wait too long!
I am no expert, but when my son had just turned two, I got pregnant the first time we had unprotected sex. I was still nursing him several times a day and at night, and I was producing a lot of milk. So, there is one data point that says that by two years, it may be no problem. My periods were very regular by then. I am 38- similar to you. BTW, my son is now just two and a half, and has weaned himself!! It was very natural, and I felt very good about it. I also did not want to stop nursing because of a pregnancy. My milk, while abundant in the first trimester (I even started to leak again), completely dried up in the second trimester. I hear this is pretty common. Good luck. Anonymous
In reply to your last question which was how to tell when/whether you are ovulating. I would recommend getting the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Wechsler and looking at the signs of ovulation she describes. By charting your basal temperature and cervical mucus you can tell if you are ovulating. You can also use Ovulation Predictor Kits but if your cycle is irregular it can get expensive. Good Luck!!!!
To find out whether you are ovulating, you can purchase ovulation predictor kits (the tests work much like pregnacy tests, except that when you take them, they tell you whether you will ovulate within the next 24-48 hours). These are relatively inexpensive and are sold over the counter at most drug stores. My husband and I used them successfully with our second child. They are very accurate and much more reliable than the basal body temperature kits, which are also available in drugstores. Though nursing can make it harder to conceive, if you are indeed ovulating, you shouldn't have any problems conceiving. I've known people who thought nursing was a form of birth control and were surprised with new pregnancies. I would discuss the issue with your doctor and make sure you are taking a multivitamin complete with folic acid while you are trying to conceive. Good luck. I hope you can continue with the nursing. Sara
I know of many people who became pregnant while nursing (myself included), and since you prefer to keep nursing your child (and your child would probably much prefer this too!), I would give it a little more time. Since your cycle is still irregular it is probably hard to know exactly when (and if) you are ovulating each month. Because you are concerned about the biological clock, if you haven't become pregnant in a few more months, you could reduce to one or two nursings per day or wean altogether. But don't worry yet! Best of luck! Lisa
I think that getting pregnant while nursing must vary with every woman, and that there probably isn't a formula to follow. The reason I think this is because after two periods, I became pregnant during a time when I was nursing my 7 month-old pretty exclusively (I had just barely started feeding her some baby jar fruit). I think nursing must affect each woman's body in a different way, as I know a woman who wants to get pregnant, still nurses her 10 month-old, and hasn't had much success yet. If you live in the East Bay, there are a group of doctors from the OBGYN Fertility Specialists who are wonderful. Good luck! Angela
I nursed my first baby for six months, all the time not using birth control. I got pregnant during the seventh month, and never got a period. In fact, the doctor told me it would take two or three months to get a period, but that the chances of getting pregnant still exist in this time. Sure enough, it happened! I'm turning 42, so don't worry! Anon.
Have you talked to your OBG doc yet? I am no doctor myself, but I would think you do not have to make a choice between nursing and getting pregnant. Four months is not that long. I would keep trying for another three months, at least. Maybe try one of those ovulaion predictor kits (over the counter at drug stores) to help pinpoint the ovulation time. You are probably ovulating irregularly, as you suspect.
I conceived my second child while nursing my first baby 3-4 times a day. I was very good about charting my cycles and determining the best days to conceive based on the days of my cycle. If you don't know the basic natural family planning method you could easily find it from the internet, I bet. You might find it helpful if you are not already doing it.
The other thing to consider is that as we get older our cycles change on their own anyway and ovulation can become irregular, regardless of whether or not you are nursing. Again, best to ask your OBG. I am not an expert!
I wish you the best of luck!! I know how you feel because I, too, was in your shoes and did not want to give up nursing my nine month old at the time when I got my period back and started trying to conceive again. I think it will work out for you. Keep trying! Jamie
When our daughter turned three we decided to try and have another child. Our three year old was still an avid nurser. I got pregnant within three months ( first month for first pregnancy) at age 38. I was able to keep nursing my three year old until the fifth month of my second pregnancy. After a month of her totally weaning we had a big weaning party to celebrate her milestone. I had to stop the morning nursings first- then the afternoon nursings and finally the evenings were the last to go- it simply hurt too much to nurse. I know lots of women all ages who have gotten pregnant and nursed all the way through the pregnancy and even tandem nursed after. Good luck- Margot