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Thread: Am I going to have to wean?

  1. #1

    Question Am I going to have to wean?

    Some background: DD is 25 months old and still nurses 8+ times a day (about every 3 hours, day and night). She had some eating issues early on, and she wouldn't really even take solids until she was 14 months old. She didn't start eating then in any real quantities until she was 18 months old. She also has a dairy sensitivity, which she has started to outgrow, but I still can't give her cow's milk unless it's been baked into something.

    OK, now here's the problem: DH and I want to have baby #2. My cycle has been back for 15 months now (when DD was 10 months old), and we've been having well timed intercourse every month since then. Before I got pregnant with DD, I was subfertile - I had two miscarriages and then a year of infertility.

    My question is two-fold. First, I have heard from other women that in some small number of cases, there are women who cannot get pregnant until their child weans. Is that true, or is that an urban legend? Could nursing my daughter (even after my cycle came back) be making me less fertile than I already was? I've also heard that nursing hormones somehow block some other hormones (estrogen, I believe?) and that it could still decrease fertility some, although not enough to be used as birth control for the vast majority of women. But I don't know for sure, and I would hate to make a decision like this based on bad information.

    Second, if we have to go down the road of fertility treatments, how compatible are those with nursing?

    I'm so confused as to what I should do. We really do want another child soon (we would have preferred to have another one already), but it makes me sad to think of weaning her early. But at the same time, I'm not getting any younger or more fertile, and if I have to wean her to get pregnant again, I would like to start it very soon so that I can do it as gradually and gently as possible.

    Thank you for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Am I going to have to wean?

    Are you sure that you are ovulating ? I don't know that nursing can cause your body to not get pregnant... in fact, I was nursing quite a bit and got pregnant when my older daughter was 18ish months old. I wouldn't call what my daughter had eating issues, but she also didn't take to solids well until 15ish months and then really got interested in them at around 18 months old when my milk supply went away.

    Have you gone to see a fertility doctor?

    ETA: Have you seen this kellymom.com link? http://www.kellymom.com/bf/normal/fe...y.html#achieve

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  3. #3

    Default Re: Am I going to have to wean?

    I've been testing with home ovulation kits this month, and so far no ovulation. But I'm only 15 days into my (29-day) cycle. If I find that I'm not ovulating, could that be related to BF?

    I know that for most women BF doesn't affect the ability to get pregnant after six months or so. Kellymom does say that for some women they have to wean to get pregnant, but of course, that's very rare. I wonder how I would know if I had transitioned to full fertility again?

    We almost went to see a fertility doctor before DD was conceived. At that point we had been trying to have a baby for two years, had two miscarriages, and it had been a year since the last miscarriage. So we were all ready to go when, boom, I got a positive pregnancy test. I plan to bring this up at my next well checkup with my midwife (October), and I expect the next step from there will be a specialist. But that seems a bit drastic if "all" I had to do was cut back on her nursing, or wean completely. YKWIM?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Am I going to have to wean?

    I would say it's possible it's due to the night nursing that you are not ovulating. However, since you are already cycling (anovulatory perhaps) and have been for several months, I would say there's something else afoot. I doubt it's due to breastfeeding though, just from what you write.

    The recommendation is that if you are under 35 and it's been a year of unprotected sex, you see a specialist. Bump that to 6 months if you are over 35. Over 40, it's more like 3 months.

    You could try night weaning and see if that is what it takes first though.
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Am I going to have to wean?

    My understanding is that if your cycle is back, then it's unlikely that nursing is supressing your ability to become pregnant or to maintain a pregnancy. However, I could be wrong. I'd talk to your midwife for a more informed opinion.

    Have you read Toni Weschler's book "Taking Charge of Your Fertility"? OPKs are great, but there are other useful fertility signs that can help you figure out what is going on in your cycle and help you maximize your chances of success.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Am I going to have to wean?

    I haven't read the book, but I am aware of checking your CM, cervix position, charting your BBT, etc. There's no way I get four hours uninterrupted sleep. I'm usually lucky to get three, and it's not at all unusual for it to be an hour or less. I have never been very good at reading my CM (I suspect it's because I don't get really good EWCM to begin with, but it could be that I'm just clueless ;-) ), so in the past I just relied on BBT. I never used OPKs before this. But because of her night nursing, I'm certain I'd not get a good BBT reading, so I figured OPKs were the way to go.

    Thanks for the information, ladies. I do appreciate your help. :-)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Am I going to have to wean?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*harmonyml View Post
    . I have never been very good at reading my CM (I suspect it's because I don't get really good EWCM to begin with, but it could be that I'm just clueless
    Nah, obviously not clueless. You just might have tricky EWCM- TCOYF addresses the variation in normal EWCM. It's another reason to read it...

    Getting a good BBT with interrupted sleep is tricky, but you never know... I got decent BBTs and thermal shifts even when my LO was nursing at night.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Am I going to have to wean?

    Lol, ok. :-) I just checked and my library has a copy. So I'll pick it up the next time I'm there!

    (Considering we've never used BC, and have always believed in using NFP, I really ought to give it a read eventually.)
    DH - married 12/16/06
    DD - "Pearl", born 6/3/09
    Me - Natural birthing, extended BF-ing, CD-ing, co-sleeping, homeschooling kind of Mama

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