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Thread: Can my BFing pattern be messing with my fertility?

  1. #1

    Default Can my BFing pattern be messing with my fertility?

    Ack - I am so torn right now. We have been ttcing #2 for 4 months now (which is when i got my pp af back). It took 10 cycles to conceive DD.

    Right now I nurse DD (16 months old) first thing in the morning, before her afternoon nap, and before bed. She typically sttn 13 hours, but if she wakes up in the night I nurse her back to sleep - sometimes a couple of times if necessary.

    I know that I am ovulating (I chart my temps, check my CM and use OPKs), but my LP is now only 10 days (when it used to be 14). I wonder if my sporadic bfing (during the night - sometimes twice in a day if she won't go down for a nap the first time) is screwing things up.. ? Do you think it could be?

    if i was going to drop a feed, the morning one would make the most sense as it's the one she 'needs' the least - but it's the one *i* need the most - i love the snuggles! but at the same time, i'm not getting any younger and i would love for my kids to be as close to 2 years apart as possible. no idea if dropping that feed would make a difference though, and that's why i'm torn.

    Or would it be better to avoid nursing her in the night and just let her cry it out instead (that really seems to be the only alternative to nursing her - we can't seem to get her down any other way at that time).

    every woman is different, and i know some women can conceive no problem while bfing while others need to stop completely, but i'd hate to think i've been screwing things up when i could have a simple fix.. at the same time, i'd hate to drop a feed when we both enjoy it if it won't make a difference anyway, kwim?

    I'd appreciate any feedback anyone could offer.. Especially those that have strange BFing patterns but still conceived.. ?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can my BFing pattern be messing with my fertility?

    I would think that you don't need to wean any of the feedings because your fertility is already back. My period has been super wacky after Beatrix. It came back at 11 months, then there was 3 months in between until the next one, then 6 weeks and now I'm curious to see if I get it this coming weekend, which would be 4 weeks.

    My period came back at 14 months with Lilah and my luteal phase was very short - less than 6 days at the beginning until the month that I accidentally got pregnant with Beatrix because I guess I misunderstood something with the charting.
    Tracie

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can my BFing pattern be messing with my fertility?

    I personally wouldn't drop any of your nursing sessions (unless you're ready to do so), because I don't think that has anything to do with why you're not pregnant yet. My periods came back different as well after each pregnancy, so it could just be your new 'normal' LP is 10 days. Which according to my midwife isn't too short (I'd read that anything 11 days or less is 'too short' for a healthy pregnancy, but she says 9 days or less ). TTC can be so frustrating! But I'd just keep at it, and see where it takes you. 4 months isn't very long to be trying, even for very fertile and healthy couples.
    Mommy to L - May 7, 07' , B - February 7, 09' , and R - August 18, 12'

  4. #4

    Default Re: Can my BFing pattern be messing with my fertility?

    Thanks for the feedback.. that's what I was thinking - that maybe the 10 days is my new normal, and that because I know I am ovulating, my fertility is probably not affected by my bfing patterns any more.. I just didn't know if the the times that I am going 'off schedule' (i.e. not the standard morning, afternoon and bedtime feeds) is screwing things up after I actually do ovulate..

    But it did take a long time to conceive the first time around, so it is probably just the same old thing happening again.. I guess I was just hoping that it would have happened quicker this time around :/

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can my BFing pattern be messing with my fertility?

    Re the shortened luteal phase -perhaps you could have your progesterone tested to see if low progesterone is indeed the issue?

    I had concerns when my oldest was this age and we really wanted to try for another. In my case, my period had not come back yet at all. I had no trouble conceiving number one but I was already old enough that I was concerned about being too old to be able to have another child if I waited too long.

    Ultimately after much thought & asking around about this, I decided to night wean, which meant getting one 6 hour stretch at night with no nursing. I did not give up the lovely morning nursing but rather the (approximately) 2 am and 4 am ones. I had heard that 6 hours was often enough to bring back the cycle. In my case, we night weaned at 17 months and my cycle came back about a month later. I conceived right away-within a month or two- but had an early miscarriage, and then my younger son was conceived about 3 months after the d&c I needed after my miscarriage. Ultimately, while of course the miscarriage was devastating, I think it would ahve been very hard to have had a new baby while my oldest was still a very young two year old. As it all turned out, he was almost three when his brother was born and it was still hard but not as hard.

    Night weaning was very difficult and resulted in less sleep, not more, for all of us-me, my husband and our son. (Later we went back to nursing per request at night after I was pregnant) and I often wonder if my cycle would have come back soon anyway. I will never know!

    I don’t know what your primary concern is, or how quickly you want to conceive. But just musing-I would not say breastfeeding is "messing up" your fertility. Breastfeeding DOES suppress fertility, more or less, how much depends on many factors. This is by design. It is nature’s way of encouraging natural child spacing. There is mounting evidence that appropriate child spacing -2 years apart at a minimum-is very important for the health of both the older child, the younger child, and the mom. Your body needs time to recover from pregnancy and childbirth, for your own health and fetal health, and your older child needs your breastmilk even now for optimum health-and milk usually reduces quite a bit during pregnancy. In other worse, while it may not fit well into our plans or hopes for our family, from nature’s point of view, the return of fertility and resulting pregnancy messes up breastfeeding, not the other way around.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can my BFing pattern be messing with my fertility?

    Have you talked to your doctor/midwife about it at all? A friend of mine got pregnant on the first try with her son but then after a year of trying -with the ovulation predictor kits - she went to the doctor and then to a specialist and found out that one of her fallopian tubes is blocked. I think that as long as you have been charting that they are willing to talk to you sooner than later.

    However - beware the general lack of knowledge that medical community seems to have surrounding nursing and pregnancy!
    Tracie

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

  7. #7

    Default Re: Can my BFing pattern be messing with my fertility?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    Re the shortened luteal phase -perhaps you could have your progesterone tested to see if low progesterone is indeed the issue?

    I had concerns when my oldest was this age and we really wanted to try for another. In my case, my period had not come back yet at all. I had no trouble conceiving number one but I was already old enough that I was concerned about being too old to be able to have another child if I waited too long.

    Ultimately after much thought & asking around about this, I decided to night wean, which meant getting one 6 hour stretch at night with no nursing. I did not give up the lovely morning nursing but rather the (approximately) 2 am and 4 am ones. I had heard that 6 hours was often enough to bring back the cycle. In my case, we night weaned at 17 months and my cycle came back about a month later. I conceived right away-within a month or two- but had an early miscarriage, and then my younger son was conceived about 3 months after the d&c I needed after my miscarriage. Ultimately, while of course the miscarriage was devastating, I think it would ahve been very hard to have had a new baby while my oldest was still a very young two year old. As it all turned out, he was almost three when his brother was born and it was still hard but not as hard.

    Night weaning was very difficult and resulted in less sleep, not more, for all of us-me, my husband and our son. (Later we went back to nursing per request at night after I was pregnant) and I often wonder if my cycle would have come back soon anyway. I will never know!

    I don’t know what your primary concern is, or how quickly you want to conceive. But just musing-I would not say breastfeeding is "messing up" your fertility. Breastfeeding DOES suppress fertility, more or less, how much depends on many factors. This is by design. It is nature’s way of encouraging natural child spacing. There is mounting evidence that appropriate child spacing -2 years apart at a minimum-is very important for the health of both the older child, the younger child, and the mom. Your body needs time to recover from pregnancy and childbirth, for your own health and fetal health, and your older child needs your breastmilk even now for optimum health-and milk usually reduces quite a bit during pregnancy. In other worse, while it may not fit well into our plans or hopes for our family, from nature’s point of view, the return of fertility and resulting pregnancy messes up breastfeeding, not the other way around.
    My DD was sleeping through the night starting at 7 months.. I very rarely have to go in and nurse her in the night. I still didn't get AF back until she was 13 months. So I'm not sure it's the same thing. I did cut back some of her feeds - most of the ones during the day, and I think that's what finally brought my ovulation back.

    And yes, I am aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, and child spacing.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommy2lilah View Post
    Have you talked to your doctor/midwife about it at all? A friend of mine got pregnant on the first try with her son but then after a year of trying -with the ovulation predictor kits - she went to the doctor and then to a specialist and found out that one of her fallopian tubes is blocked. I think that as long as you have been charting that they are willing to talk to you sooner than later.

    However - beware the general lack of knowledge that medical community seems to have surrounding nursing and pregnancy!
    I haven't talked to my NP about it yet.. last I talked to her I was still waiting for AF to return (it came back when DD was 13 months old). I told her I didn't want to stop nursing, and she said to give it a few more months and then we'd talk again. Once it came back I forgot to mention it to her. I do think it was a good sign that she didn't immediately tell me to wean in order to have my cycles return.
    Perhaps I will bring it up. At first I thought I might have a thyroid issue (my hair has been falling out a bit, and I have been exhausted) but according to Taking Charge of Your Fertility, my temps would reflect it, and my temps are the same as they were before I had DD.
    I guess I will give it another cycle at least. If things stay the same, I'll make an appointment.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can my BFing pattern be messing with my fertility?

    Good luck! I got pregnant when Lilah was 17 months old and my girls are 27 months apart - it has been nice, for the most part. A friend's children are 39 months apart and that seems to be working out too.
    Tracie

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can my BFing pattern be messing with my fertility?

    I got pregnant with luteal phases less than 9 days. It seems to be my normal all healthy, normal pregnancies.
    Susan
    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!

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