I am a 38 year old mama to be (blessed to be pg w/#2 due in July).
When I was 37 I was still nursing my DS at 25 mos and then started to notice a number of symptoms, most notably that my periods which had just returned had stopped and that I was having near constant hot flashes (took me a while to figure out what they were). My midwife at first dismissed my concerns but agreed to a blood test and my FSH was well over the post menopausal range and my estrogen was so low it was undetectable. I was told I was likely in early menopause and my chances of conceiving were 10% over the next 10 years. My DH and I were completely devastated. Western medicine said there was nothing they could do for me, but did advise that we wean ASAP if we wanted any hope of trying to conceive again. We did wean, hard on all of us. A number of the docs I saw in the subsequent weeks thought extended breastfeeding might have been a factor -- obviously, most women do not have this reaction, many get pregnant while still nursing but they thought my physiology might have had a strange reaction to the extended nursing.
I looked into alternative treatments and started taking Chinese herbs and doing acupuncture. After a few months, my periods came back (twice) and I was so fortunate to get pregnant on the 2nd cycle, a week after I turned 38. THe docs explanation? I was still very fertile despite my "low egg count."
My question is, have any other mamas who have nursed for a long time experienced anything similar symptomwise? Of course I will want to nurse my new baby though perhaps for not as long? I don't want to be greedy but I have always wanted 3 kids...My DS has asthma and I wonder if the extended breastfeeding helped it to be less severe, so I don't want to "cheat" my new baby in case he could be at risk for the same and a shortened nursing span would mean worse asthma...I was thinking of trying exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months then starting to supplement. I didn't supplement ever with my DS. I have to work full time and I wonder too if exhaustion/stress/being run down might have contributed to the situation.
Anyhow I welcome thoughts, ideas, experiences, suggestions...I know I can't plan it all now but it was such a traumatic experience I want to avoid it happening again. Both DH and I are middle kids so we always wanted 3 to have a middle kids ourselves, silly I know but true.