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advice apprecaited

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hello fellow mamas,

My husband and I are having a serious dilemma and need some outside input. I feel like we are so "trapped" in the situation that we need some fresh perspectives.

Here is the issue at hand: We both desire a large family. By this, we mean at least 5 children. We are both 26 years old and we have one son, who is 19 months of age. He is breastfeeding part-time (3-4 times a day and still once during the night) but it is still definitely an important part of his day.

I have not been able to become pregnant while breastfeeding him - we have been trying for over 6 months. I thought I was pregnant this month, but it turned out not to be the case. It was very frustrating and disappointing. We always hoped to have our children 2 years apart and now that isn't possible.

I know that as time goes on, we need to readjust our goals and priorities, but right now I am not sure what my priority is: giving my son the incredible gift of a sibling close in age, or continuing to nurse him until he is finished. It is obvious that I am not going to get pregnant while breastfeeding.

I am just so torn because ideally we would do CLW. But I am not getting any younger and I'd rather not be having babies into my 40s. How can we achieve our goal of a large family while still respecting the breastfeeding needs of our current son? How do I know that proloning his breastfeeding is superior to providing him with a sibling he can play with?



Thank you.
Lana
post #2 of 17
IMO it's more important to tend to the needs of existing children rather than work toward future children. For this reason it was important to me to not even TRY to get pregnant until dd was 2 years old to ensure her two full years of milk.

-Angela
post #3 of 17
I have a couple of questions.

Do you have AF back? Have you tried ovulation prediction?I nursed my first through ttc and pregnancy. I got pregnant when she was about 20-21 mos. we tried for a while naturally, then used an opk. hopes this helps.

btw, nak. and i didn't get af back with dc1 until 14.5 mos.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yes, I chart and use OPKs, I have read Taking Charge and all that. I have had my period back since DS was 5 months old (and I was nursing on demand.) I nursed exclusively until he was 7.5 months old and he was about 95% BF until one year. Now, like I said, he is down to about 3-5 times in a 24 hour period.

Thank you!
post #5 of 17
When I was your age I had one child and now I have seven and one on the way at the old age of 42. Things didn't happen at all the way I planned them but in the end everything happened exactly right. Not to minimize your current frustration but you do have plenty of time and having a baby in your forties is absolutely wonderful! Hopefully you won't have to wait that long.
It is possible to have secondary infertility unrelated to breastfeeding. That is what happened to me at your age and that is why there is a ten year difference in age between my first two daughters. I well remember being in my early twenties and absolutely desperate for another baby and thinking it absolutely must happen before first dc became kindergarten age. It didn't happen that way and while it may have been my ideal I am very, very happy with my current family.
I would see a doctor and have everything checked out, try one of the new fertility moniters that predict ovulation and that sort of thing before worrying about weaning.
I am currently nursing and eighteen weeks pregnant. Nursing didn't stop this old lady from becoming pregnant. I have always nursed through the night too.
post #6 of 17
I SO understand! While BM is an incredible gift, so are siblings...not something to be taken lightly. Siblings are forever, they'll be here for each other when I'm gone...and if you want many kids and DON'T want to be having them when older (that's how I feel) then you do what you have to do. Not everyone will agree, of course, but then they should just feel free to do it differently. That said, I would never ever restrict nursings or wean to acheive a pregnancy. But if you want to get pg. & try other meathods to increase your chances, I say go for it! We were going to TTC starting next month...but DD is only 1 yr. old. We're putting it off a few months & then will revisit. I personally won't put it off past 18 months though. Good luck to you!
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lana&Julian View Post
I know that as time goes on, we need to readjust our goals and priorities, but right now I am not sure what my priority is: giving my son the incredible gift of a sibling close in age, or continuing to nurse him until he is finished. It is obvious that I am not going to get pregnant while breastfeeding.

I am just so torn because ideally we would do CLW. But I am not getting any younger and I'd rather not be having babies into my 40s. How can we achieve our goal of a large family while still respecting the breastfeeding needs of our current son? How do I know that proloning his breastfeeding is superior to providing him with a sibling he can play with?
Hi Lana,

I'm sorry you're faced with this situation, which is so frustrating to you.

I have a couple of thoughts, only based on my own personal experience, of course. My gut is that you may be allowing your many worries and expectations affect your body. Our minds are incredibly strong; and I wouldn't ignore what you're worried about. I'd really try sitting down & thinking through with DH what's important & worrisome.

That's not to say there aren't other physical problems, but personally, and of course anecdotally, I did not have any trouble conceiving while nursing DD many times per day AND night (about every 2 - 3 hours around the clock), first try. So it can be done.

Once DH & I decided, after much deliberation, to try getting pregnant once DD turned 2, I felt so calm & sure about our decision, when previous to age 2, I worried over it...we didn't try previous to that point, but I was concerned when we did, we might not be able to... I understand your worries. We eventually did decide on waiting until 24 months because we felt it was the perfect balance between having 2 children 2 years apart (which was our initial desire), and allowing DD to wean completely on her own (without the pressures of my unknown reactions to nursing while pregnant). As it turns out, DD & DS will be about 2 yrs 10 mo apart.

Please realize that at 26, with already one child, you are hardly old, and have so many years of healthy, safe childbearing (I say this of course in my 30s... looking back at 26 I was so young) !

Also, at 19 months, your little one really IS still a baby. At this point, YOU are his best playmate, and the most important person to him - and your milk, in my opinion, at LEAST until 24 months, is far more important than a sibling closer than 3 years in age.

Remember that some children will wean when their mothers become pregnant, either because milk supply diminishes, or they don't like the taste, or because mom urges/pushes them in that direction due to pain, discomfort, heebie jeebies, or realizing that tandem nursing isn't or won't be for them. You may want to think about these potential effect being pregnant may have on your not-yet-2 year old.

That isn't to say this is the right path for you guys, to wait - only you can decide that, of course. I just wanted to put it out there.

Take care, and good luck!
post #8 of 17
Hi Lana,

Im so sorry you are having such a ruff time right now.
It sounds like you had a goal and you feel down since it has not happend.
I can only say things happen for a reason always.
Things dont always work out the way we want, but find comfort in knowing what is meant to be will be. You have one healthy child and it sounds like you have a great nursing relationship which is also a wonderful gift to your child.

Siblings are wonderful, I know I have 4 of them.
They range from 2.5 years-7 years apart form me. I ge along with the 7 year older brother more than any of them. So it goes to show you age wont matter with siblings its all in family love, how you raise your children regarding siblings, gender and also personality..... So many factors!
My son is 4.5 years old and still nurses and we are planning on having 1-2 more. We thought 3 years apart, and then he hit 3 and we were not ready to share our time and also he enjoys nursing so much I would not want to take that from him.

Dont lose hope mama!
post #9 of 17
A wise tea bag once told me: "When god made time, he made enough of it."
post #10 of 17
I think that in some cases having kids farther apart can in some ways be better. Not that there is a thing wrong with close together but to give you some things to think about.

My dd and ds are 4yrs 12days apart. Things that are really great about it is. My dd and ds are super close. My dd is old enough to understand that ds is a baby and he needs me sometimes were a younger sibling might not. I was able to have one on one time with ds that I wouldnt have had otherwise because dd is in school now.

Those are just a few good things I can think of off the top of my head right now. And remember there are play groups that you could take him to to play with kids his own age. I know not like having a sibling but in some ways it is better.
post #11 of 17
My best girl friend just had a newborn and our first children are the same age (23 months). I'm watching my friend and her firstborn go through a pretty rough transition. The toddler is having a hard time being replaced and doesn't have the words to get her intense emotions out surrounding the event. Also, my friend cut nursing back to about 10 minutes a day total (or less) while pregnant, and in the meantime, although her toddler eats well, my (still nursing) kid has gotten WAY bigger. And just in the few days that the toddler is now getting some tandem nursing in, she has grown A LOT!

Both parents are struggling to deal with not being able to give a lot of attention to the toddler who really is STILL a baby. A HUGE adjustment.

Interesting stuff. I appreciated the advice of Mamas saying to take it slow when I first thought about this.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your input. I really appreciate it and it gives me a lot to think about. I guess what is hard is that we would like a large family. It's difficult for moms who only want two or three children to understand that so they tend to look at me like I'm crazy. If I only wanted two or three I would have them 3-4 years apart, no problem. But we both grew up in large families and wouldn't have had it any other way. It was a truly amazing childhood and we are still all so close to our siblings.

Thank you for your perspectives on this (and any more to come.) It really helps to have more experienced moms give their advice.
post #13 of 17
I understand; I always wanted at least four children, but didn't marry 'til 35 -- so you definitely have more time than me.

We were blessed to get pregnant right away; our first was born just one month before my 36th birthday. Like you, I believe in nursing on cue and child-led weaning.

I didn't have my first period 'til 21 months postpartum, and even then it took a long time to get regular. So month after month we'd be hoping I was pregnant, but nothing.

For a while I tried to pay attention to fertility signs -- but I gave up after so many times of being SURE I was ovulating, but not getting pregnant.

Then, a couple of months after dd's 4th birthday, we discovered we were pregnant! (By this point, dd had been praying for God to give her a baby brother or sister.)

When we conceived, dd had got to the point where she'd sometimes go 1-2 whole days without nursing, so I think I was producing little or no milk. She nursed occasionally during the first part of the pregnancy -- but when the colostrum came in she said it was "yucky" and quit.

Our second dd was born just 6 weeks before her big sister's 5th birthday, and 2 1/2 months before my 41st.

As much as I wanted a bunch of little stairsteps close in age, and as much as I see the blessings of this -- I also see the blessings of having two children almost five years apart in age. My daughters have their own special relationship -- and I agree with doriansmummy that age gaps don't cause gaps in closeness.

One blessing of our situation is that each of our daughters has gotten to be Sling-Baby as long as she wanted. Our 2yo still loves to sit on my hip in the sling while I make breakfast in the mornings, something that wouldn't be possible if I was already pregnant (and far along in pregnancy), or already had a new baby.

We'd love to have at least one more, but I'm almost 43 and am not sure if it will happen. I still haven't resumed my period (it's 24 1/2 months postpartum), so I'm preparing myself for the possibility that I might be in menopause. Of course, Baby still nurses a lot as well.

I realize a pp recommended having yourself checked out for secondary infertility -- but in other cultures where frequent, extended breastfeeding is the norm, it's really not abnormal for a mom to be infertile at only 19 months postpartum.

Of course, you should have it checked if it worries you -- but you might also enjoy learning more about the African !Kung mothers, who don't conceive until their current babies are about 35 months old. It kind of gave me some perspective on what's "normal" when I was waiting to conceive my second.
post #14 of 17
I agree you should get it checked. I've heard that people in general waste time by waiting to get their fertility checked when they're not conceiving as quickly as they'd like.
post #15 of 17
Thought i should add that it took my hubby and I almost 7 months to get preggo with our son who is now 4.5 years old. I was only 20 at the time and hubby 27. We are young and it still took long.. My midwife said that it was normal for it to take at least a year and not to see them unless its been over a year.
But, if you feel something more is going on see if your ob/gym or midwife will see you.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lana&Julian View Post
Yes, I chart and use OPKs, I have read Taking Charge and all that. I have had my period back since DS was 5 months old (and I was nursing on demand.) I nursed exclusively until he was 7.5 months old and he was about 95% BF until one year. Now, like I said, he is down to about 3-5 times in a 24 hour period.

Thank you!
Do you have any charts I could look at? How are your luteal phases (time from ovulation until next AF)? Are you having mostly ovulatory cycles?

There are some options for improving your fertility without weaning... but first I'd need to get an idea of what problems you're having.

I've had a few clients who successfully conceived while bf, when we tried a few (natural) strategies for improving their cycle health...
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruhbehka View Post
Do you have any charts I could look at? How are your luteal phases (time from ovulation until next AF)? Are you having mostly ovulatory cycles?

There are some options for improving your fertility without weaning... but first I'd need to get an idea of what problems you're having.

I've had a few clients who successfully conceived while bf, when we tried a few (natural) strategies for improving their cycle health...

I do my charts by hand, so I don't have any that I can show you. BUT - I am ovulating and the last two cycles my LP has been respectively 13 and 14 days. At first it was only about 4 days so this is a HUGE improvement. The minor issue is that I ovulate around day 19-21, so that is not ideal but I'm not sure what bearing that has on fertility.

We practice NFP and always will, so I am pretty "aware" of my body and its cycles.

THank you
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