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Thread: breastfeeding and birth control

  1. #1

    Default breastfeeding and birth control

    I am BF my 7 week-old baby. I started off exclusively BF but recently started giving her formula once every couple of days. Sometimes i get so overwhelmed and just have to take a break. I feel like at times i cant keep up with her feeding schedule. Anyway my question is this:

    If i give her a bottle once in a while, can i get pregnant if i do not use any contraceptives?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    miles from nowhere

    Default Re: breastfeeding and birth control

    Honestly, you can get pregnant even if you aren't giving a bottle. Breastfeeding alone isn't a reliable form of birth control, since your fertility can return at any time and you will ovulate before your period comes back and could get pregnant without ever knowing you are fertile. But skipping feedings does increase the likelihood of your fertility returning sooner.

    Why do you feel like you can't keep up with her feedings? It could be she's been going through a growth spurt if her demand has increased suddenly. If you do give a bottle for now it would be best if you pump during that time so that your supply doesn't drop. Those first couple of months are the toughest, it seems like all you do is nurse and change diapers, but it does slow down and she will start to space her feedings out more and probably get a little more predictable. For most babies that starts to happen around 6-8 weeks old.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: breastfeeding and birth control

    Basically, yes. Of course, everyone is different, but if you are not EBF, you are likely to see your cycles return sooner. It might not happen if you only give a bottle every couple of days, but some mothers see their cycles return after only a couple of months even when they ARE exclusively breastfeeding. Basically, breastfeeding is not reliable birth control in itself. If you chart your cycles, you can see if you are ovulating, and thus, whether you can get pregnant. Otherwise, you're just hoping for the best!

    When Joe was this age, I did pump and have my DH give Joe a bottle during the evening "fussy time" many days so that I could go take a hot bath and get a break, so I hear what you're going through, but just remember that formula supplementation can be a slippery slope. Everytime you give a bottle of formula in these early days, you're telling your body to make a little less milk. One or two bottles "every few days" might not make a difference, but much more frequently than that, your supply will take a hit.

    Right now, breastfeeding may seem more difficult, but in the long run, it's so much easier than formula feeding! Just remembering - there is a big light at the end of this tunnel - might help you get through with exclusive breastfeeding. Remember, it's a lot of work now, but there is a big payoff later.

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Default My brother was a "surprise"

    My mom got pregnant when she was EBF. And they used a condom, and foam...

    apparently my brother was meant to be here but yeah, don't rely on breastfeeding. You'll have two kids 13 months apart like my mom did- yikes!

    I don't know how she did it, honestly...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: breastfeeding and birth control

    Whether or not you will get pregnant again in those circumstances is very different for each woman.

    I personally CAN rely on LAM and breastfeeding to hold off fertility 100% for 12-16 months, so my children are all 25 months apart. But not everyone can.

    And I would NOT rely on it if the following happened:
    1) cycles returned already
    2) baby was not at the breast the huge majority of the time. My babies do spend about 8 hours a week away from me starting when they are a few months old....but we night nurse. And the probably 3 bottles a week my boys have all gotten did not affect my fertility in the slightest. I was still infertile. So if for some reason I had to be away from baby a lot, such as for work and even if I was pumping, I would not rely on LAM.
    3) I wasn't night nursing
    4) for some women, a pacifier will make LAM not safe (didn't affect me, but until I knew one way or the other, I'd assume not)
    5) ANY supplementation with formula
    6) starting solids, although, for me, it's been months after starting solids before my period comes back.

    You CAN use charting as birth control while nursing versus a hormonal BC (can mess with your supply) or using a barrier, or use it in addition to a barrier. But it takes time, dedication and maturity to be careful. And it's not 100%, just like any other BC. I am pregnant again despite obsessive charting

    What exactly is going on that makes you think you can't keep up? Your baby just might be going through a growth spurt. Things should start settling down here soon....Maybe some details on that will help us help you figure out what to do to make the whole thing easier on you.
    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!

  6. #6

    Default Re: breastfeeding and birth control

    how often does a growth spurt last? and how often does it happen because for the past 3 days she has been nursing what seems like every half hour even less.
    I will nurse her, burp her and hold her for a few minutes and then put her in bed.. not even 5 minutes pass before she starts crying. I try to comfort her by holding her but the only thing that makes her content is the breast.
    This will go on most of the day. At night i cant help it so i feed her and sleep with her in bed bec she seems to sleep longer when she sleeps with me. Although i am scared of what people say about sleeping with babies, i just have to sleep and so does she!

    Another thing, if she is using me as a pacifier, should i let her or stop her? I realize that she will suck and not really eat. It gets painful after 30 min of sucking!!

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