Originally Posted by eightyferrettoes
It's just that I know quite a few women who seem to have a much earlier return to fertility than one would expect from cosleeping, no-paci, feeding-on-demand type lifestyles. I really, really thought I'd be one of those women struggling to get my fertility back when my kid was two, not one of the ones who saw AF at seven months pp.
It was a major factor in deciding to "let nature take her course;" I honestly never envisioned having kids 18 months apart.
So I often wonder whether it's not so much an issue of "unnatural" lifestyles and more a matter of unfettered access to decent food. Which makes me wonder whether marginal nutrition for women is as responsible for the much-discussed 36-month average spacing as EBF.
Reading through this thread, I thought I'd add to one of the sub-discussions and just suggest that another factor in the faster-than-expected return to fertility could be night-lighting. It's an issue I first encountered in Katie Singer's book, The Garden of Fertility. I can't find my copy of the book at the moment, but she does discuss manipulating night-lighting in relation to increasing/supporting fertility (lunaception.) However, night-lighting also comes up in her discussion of lactational amenorrhea, and she stresses the importance of "ecological" breastfeeding and sleeping in darkness. And she goes on to provide a definition of "darkness" that I know rules out my current sleep situation. (We leave the nightlight on in the bathroom for my mom, and some light comes in around our door. I definitely can see my hand in front of my face at night, even though it's pretty dark. And it was even more light in our room in the early months post-partum, when I needed to be able to see in order to latch the baby on. I can't remember when that stopped being an issue, but by that time, we were just leaving the hall light on and the door propped open as a rule.) My period returned at just over 11 months post-partum, and when I read Singer's book, I thought I'd pay more attention to the night-lighting aspect if I have another baby, because I'd like to go longer next time.
Anyway, there's a section in one chapter of the book that deals with establishing unambiguous infertility while nursing, and it was my impression that once well-established in the first (four to six?) months, it's possible to extend the nursing-infertility even after dropping some feedings and introducing solids, etc. The frequency of feedings in the early months AND the night-lighting were (if I remember rightly) two very key elements of on-going unambiguous infertility.
And that part of the equation might explain the earlier return to fertility. Not sure about the caloric thing, as I'd imagine that many of the women who do experience unambiguous infertility while nursing are quite nourished enough to support and sustain a pregnancy and ongoing nursing....