TTC and BF - possible to tell if BFing is impacting your fertility ahead of time? - Mothering Forums
Trying To Conceive > TTC and BF - possible to tell if BFing is impacting your fertility ahead of time?
cww's Avatar cww 05:29 AM 07-31-2012

We plan on TTC # 2 in about 8 months.  We were lucky the last time and got pregnant pretty quickly, which is good, because the way leave works at our jobs, timing things well can mean the difference in total amount of leave by as much as 4 months (and if it takes to long the second time around, we could lose paid family leave altogether).


I am currently still BFing our 18m old.  She still BFs at least 4 times per day, and often more than that if I'm around (although a lot of those times are so close together that I know she's not really getting a lot of milk).  My cycle seems pretty close to what it was before I got pregnant the first time, even then it had a somewhat longer time between AF and O (I usually ovulate more around day 21) and a shorter luteal phase (I think it's back to being at least 10 days, but its definitely not over 12).  It's possible my cycle is a little bit worse that before I got pregnant (in terms of late O and short LP), but if so, it is only by a day here or there.  I'm hypothyroid, and that has required adjustment lately, but I think if I am vigilant I can make sure that is totally stable before we start TTC again.  


I'd prefer to let my daughter BF as much as she wants for as long as she wants, but if baby #2 takes a while to conceive, it may totally eliminate our paid family leave for both my husband and me, which would be a real shame (although of course we may not be able to avoid it, even if we do everything "right," given that there is so much luck involved here).  


So my question is this: Do I probably need to wean totally to get pregnant?  Not wean at all?  Just try to reduce frequency or length of feedings?  I'm wondering in particular if any of you who TTC while BFing found that BF didn't impact TTC as long as your cycle looked normal?  Or did some of you with experience in the area find that even when your cycle looked normal you couldn't get pregnant until you reduced feedings or weaned completely?  Or were there any other clear signs that indicated that BFing might be interfering with fertility?  Generally speaking, for those of you who have been in a similar position, how did things go and what did you do?


Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

SimpleLove's Avatar SimpleLove 09:28 AM 07-31-2012

Your info sounds good to me! And by the time she is 2+, even better. My first was 2 and probably nursing as much as your DD is right now when I got pregnant. 


But with that specific time frame, how much wiggle room do you have?

ThePeacefulMama's Avatar ThePeacefulMama 10:36 AM 07-31-2012
It is really hard to say. Some women find BF has no effect on their fertility (I have a friend who just found out she is pregnant and she is only 4 months post-partum and exclusively breastfeeding on demand!). And there are others who just cannot get pregnant until they totally wean.

I am also TTC for #2 and am breastfeeding my son. He is 2-1/2 but he breastfeeds WAY more than 4 times a day. I'm going into my 34th ttc cycle now and just started seeing a TCM practitioner for accupuncture to treat sub-fertility and she is supportive of extended breastfeeding (she BF both of her children until 3-1/2) BUT she said some women's bodies are just so sensitive that they just will not get pregnant until completely weaned. I am 40 so I feel I am on a clock, but I also don't want to deprive my DS of something he loves soooo much.

Good Luck! I hope you are one of the ones who finds it happens easily and quickly!
cww's Avatar cww 05:02 PM 07-31-2012

Thanks for the responses. :) 


SimpleLove, we probably have about a 2-4 cycle window for it to work before we really start to totally lose paid leave, which from my understanding could have a decent chance of happening if nothing is interfering with fertility and we are carefully tracking ovulation, etc.  We were lucky with DD1, and I don't know if that luck will extend to the timing of (hopefully) conceiving DC2.  I know that there is really huge variation and no guarantees, so all of this just makes me frustrated about the way our family leave policies seem to work (and trying to time things so precisely when there are plenty of people out there that have trouble TTC at all makes me feel silly and petty to some extent...).


ThePeacefulMama, thanks for sharing your personal experience with me and for your good wishes!  I'm so sorry to hear that it's been taking so long for you.  I hope the acupuncture helps and it happens for you very soon.  I had some wacky hormonal stuff going on before we were TTC, and I did go to an acupuncturist recommended by my obgyn, and it seemed to help (and maybe contributed to the fact that we were lucky in having success TTC relatively quickly the first time?).  If you don't mind my asking, have you had other signs that BF might be messing with your fertility, like wacky cycles or anything?  (Obviously, feel totally free to just ignore this question if you don't want to share such personal details!)

Chloe'sMama's Avatar Chloe'sMama 05:42 PM 07-31-2012

I didn't get cycle back till 13 months and 16 months PP and those cycles were very strange for a few months.  I got pregnant, while breastfeeding at 16 months and 19 months.  Breastfeeding didn't seem to have an impact once I was ovulating... which it sounds like you are.... Have you been taking your Basal body temp?  That may be a good place to start to see when you are ovulating and how long your LP is, just to make sure you don't have a problem.


I know many more people that can get pregnant while nursing than those that have to wean (especially at the age you are talking about).


Good luck!

cww's Avatar cww 01:35 AM 08-03-2012

Thanks, Chloe'sMama, for the reply.  That is encouraging. :)  I am definitely ovulating and have had very regular cycles since I got my period back at 10m PP.  The LP is a bit short, and it takes me an extra week to O, but that isn't much different from how my cycle was before I got pregnant the first time, so it seems like it may not be an issue.  I was kind of hoping that if my cycle looked "normal" that this means that BF isn't having an impact, but I haven't been able to find any evidence about whether this might be true or not (I'm not sure how well-researched it is).  

Tags: Trying To Conceive