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Using Fertility Awareness While Breastfeeding Before Period Returns

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I just searched for this topic and couldn't find it. If there has already been a good post like this, please direct me to it. Otherwise, I'm wondering about using Fertility Awareness while breastfeeding before I've gotten my period back. I borrowed a friend's copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility, and the take away message I got from it was that it's hard. Does anyone have practical advice?
post #2 of 7
I'm wondering about this too!! I feel like my period should be returning any day now, I have symptoms. And with my last baby I got it about this time(17 months old). So far we haven't been protecting but I would really like to start fam now even though my period hasn't returned. Not quite ready to be pregnant again. But...what are the practicalities of it?

Jenny
post #3 of 7
: I'm interested too!
post #4 of 7
I've decided to start charting using the free fertility friend site. It seems so easy, I hope it works out for us. I took my temp this morning and also checked my cervical mucous and put all the info in. My chart has started! I feel nervous using it because it is my first time charting(although I've read the fertility awareness book and have wanted to chart I am always pregnant or breastfeeding!). Good luck to you ladies

Jenny
post #5 of 7
After I had DD, I read through the older CCL book that was out at the time, looking for information on this. It was fragmented and hard to put together, but here was my plan:

Background:

- EBF (no pumping/bottles of breastmilk) for first 6 weeks

- Returned to work 3x per week for 6-8 hours; breastfeeding at lunch

- Pumping (Medela PISA) every 2-3 hours while away

- DD receiving breastmilk from father while mother is away

- Breastfeeding frequently and on demand while together

- No other supplementation or pacifiers

- Co-sleeping and nursing on demand at night (avg 2-4 x per night)

Our plan:

- Postpartum healing needed for the first seven weeks (6.5 weeks lochia)

- Charting temperature sign beginning at week 3 postpartum

- Charting mucus sign beginning at week 6-7 postpartum

- For first 6 months (assuming amenorrhea):
+ mucus patch = 1) more fertile or less fertile mucus against background of dryness OR more fertile mucus against background of less fertile mucus
+ patches of 1 or 2 days: back into phase I on evening of peak day+2 (*no temperature shift)
+ patches of 3+ days: back into phase I on evening of peak day+4 (*no temperature shift)

- After 6 months (assuming amenorrhea):
+ treat any mucus as start of Phase II
+ If continuous, less fertile mucus continues for 3 weeks, consider it "background mucus;" back into Phase I until more-fertile mucus is seen
+ treat more-fertile mucus patches of any length as Phase II; back into Phase I on evening of peak day+4 (*no temperature shift)

- After the first period:
+ assume normal fertilty with day 1 of the new cycle on the first day of menstruation
+ if there are no signs of fertility for six weeks, discontinue charting and back into phase I; begin charting again at the first sign of any type of mucus (begins phase II)

My return of fertility experience:

- very slight, very light pink spotting seen at 14 weeks postpartum (one day, one time)

- ovulation at 16 weeks, verified by temperature shift and ovulation sensation; luteal phase of 3 days

- very long, infertile cycles (due to short luteal phases) until about 6 months postpartum

- long, possibly fertile cycles (luteal phase around 9 days) until about 10 months postpartum, then rapid return of normal cycles
post #6 of 7
I treated any fertile mucous (and other fertility symptoms that came with it like cervical position and increased interest in sex) as possible fertility during lactational amenorreah (sp?), had various false times of that pretty frequently and presumably one real O before the return of menstruation 14 months after DS1, 15 months after DS2.
post #7 of 7
I check cervical position & cervical fluid every single night in the shower starting shortly after my lochia has stopped. This way, I'm uber familiar with how my cervix feels so I'll notice any changes. Honestly, I don't even bother with temping anymore. I'm sure that works awesomely for some women, but I've found that I don't need it & find it a huge bother. I've always been able to catch every ovulation I have after each of my last 3 babies (the ones I had after learning to chart). There are always a couple times that I think it seems like my cervix has softened or maybe opened, or other times it kinda sorta seems like ewcm. That's the confusing part about FAM while breastfeeding. But then, I'll have the most obvious signs suddenly that can't possibly be confused. That cervix will be crazy-weird open & so soft I can barely feel it anymore, and the ewcm will be copious & stretch a mile long. There is no wondering for me when my fertility actually returns.

I had 3-4 PPAF before finally actually ovulating after babies #3 &4, and this time was surprised to find myself ovulating 1st, at 11 mos PP, then having my 1st PPAF. Followed by another O about 16 days later.

Anyway, that's been my experience.
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