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fullofhope08 03-23-2011 06:19 PM

Hi all,

I'm still breastfeeding our 10 month old ds. Ideally, I would love to nurse him until he's ready to wean, and if I could choose when this was, I would keep going until 18-24 months. I'm also getting the urge for more kids and am not getting any younger (34). We'd prefer not to wait too long. If we could conceive naturally, I would just let it happen and see how this affected ds's nursing. But that's not our circumstances - ivf is our only option. We do have 2 embryos on ice and are planning to try an FET before we would do another fresh cycle. From what I'm reading, breastfeeding and cycling aren't overly compatible. FET's seem a little easier to swing, but when i heard about the med regimen at our clinic, I don't think it would work (meds are taken several times a day...the only way I can think of doing it is to pump and dump for those weeks).

Anyone else struggling with these issues? I would hate to wean ds early for the sake of having more children and then the cycle not work. It would be awful to mourn the failed cycle and the lost bf relationship. Also, I think it would be unfair for our ds to lose that relationship with me earlier than he wants to. he does love his milk! I know there are no clear answers here...figured there may be others to share this dilemma with.

ThankfulMama 03-25-2011 11:49 AM

Hi! I am in a similar situation.  DD is 21mos, however.  I have been putting off cycling for many months because I DD just did not seem to be able to handle weaning (I didn't try, I could just tell). I have been VERY gently cutting back and we are now down to 3 times per day (24hour period).  I am a couple years older than you, so I really feel the pressure.  We also have 2 embies on ice, but hope to do another fresh for better chances of success. 

I have really struggled with the idea of weaning early.  I feel scared about the idea of an unsuccessful cycle and regrets--I think I am more comfortable with weaning now, however.  It will still be VERY hard since it is not ideal.  I know that since we are 100% OOP (no coverage for IVF whatsoever) I don't want to risk messing things up in the remote chance that BF would affect the cycle.  I also do not feel comfortable exposing DD to the meds through my BM.  Hard decisions.


We also have no hope for conceiving without IVF.  

BellyBean 03-25-2011 02:13 PM

I wish I had the answers.,.


DD completely self-weened by 13 months.  It's a very tough bond to loose, and would be even harder after a failed cycle.  However, I am not sure how long I would have gone since we also need IVF/FET, and wouldn't take any of the drugs while still BFing.  For us, we probably wouldn't have gone longer than 18 months (based on our specific circumstances)


If the FET works would you be finished having children or would you do another fresh cycle?  Waiting/not waiting probably wont effect a FET, but it would effect a fresh cycle, so that might be part of the consideration.


Good Luck!

fullofhope08 03-27-2011 05:09 PM

yeah, there really aren't any answers, it's just a matter of finding what seems to be the best decision for each individual family I guess. I just don't want to have any regrets...

We have 2 embies on ice and I know the success rates aren't overly high. So part of me is already preparing for a negative result (which I know I need to overcome too). If the FET failed, I suspect we would try another fresh cycle. We really would like to have more children, at least one more.

For us, the fact that I'm not menstruating yet is at least delaying any decisions for the time being. No plans for any cycling until AF returns. I think we will definitely wait until ds is at least 14-16 months as I want to make sure he has a full year of nursing and I wouldn't want to wean him too soon after I return to work. I'm hoping there comes a time when it just seems to be the natural time to make those changes.

Thankfulmama - have you been giving any thought to when you may aim to do another cycle? is bf the one thing holding you back now? Infertility definitely adds so many additional dynamics to having children - so much riding on these cycles.

ThankfulMama 03-28-2011 12:56 PM

That (BFing) is the main thing for sure.  We are totally OOP so money is a HUGE factor, but if someone gave me the money today I would not wean DD abruptly and start with my next period.  I have been gently cutting back, and the earliest I think I could start is May (BCPs) with stims in June.  It is a VERY difficult thing for me.  DD is VERY attached to nursing.  It pains me to think about taking that away from her.  I initially wanted to try for a second child to be born by the time DD turned 2. I would still love to have another ASAP, but from where I am now, I am glad I waited this long.  And I am over 35 so that is risky. . .

I know what you mean about the FET and worrying about the rates of success.  That's why I want to jump right back into a fresh.  Then, if we have leftover embryos from this cycle perhaps try a FET.  Our last FET started with 6 embryos and none made it.  However, I DO wonder what if one of these two embryos made it and we only had to spend half the money. . .


Tough decisions!

fullofhope08 04-10-2011 05:57 PM

thankful mama - May/June is just around the corner! How exciting to think you'll be cycling again so soon. But I hear you - the thought of weaning, making that final break, will likely be rough for a little bit. will you cut out the 3 feeds a day gradually, one at a time? your dd has had the benefits of 21 months of nursing. she is very fortunate. my little guy is very attached to nursing as well, especially at night. I have no idea how we will tackle this without too much heartache! so I totally understand your predicament.

Our original plan was to do the FET right about now, which is what has triggered at this for me. with no AF and breastfeeding, it's not going to happen right now. But it's on my mind a lot lately. The other dynamic that's been thrown in the mix is that my sister will be getting married next summer in another province. so no due dates in cycles in October. I'm going to call the clinic this week to talk to someone about FET's. I'm curious about their success rates. Your plan to do another fresh cycle got me thinking about this as an option. we only have 2 frozen embies. it would be devastating to get there on the day and have none to transfer. do you know what the success rate for FET's is at your clinic? as someone has pointed out though, the FET success rate is still dramatically higher than just hoping for the best with old-fashioned ttc in our case. and much cheaper than a fresh cycle. I keep reminding myself of this.

Jane 04-10-2011 06:09 PM

You could at least get a baseline, for example, finding out what your uterine lining is like, what your prolactin levels are, etc.  Personally, I wouldn't cycle while nursing, because I'm a all-in kind of person.  But other people make other decisions and certainly do get pregnant!  I also see, as a midwife, how few people can keep nursing through pregnancy.  Either their milk dries up, the flavor changes and the child refuses, or that revulsion thing kicks in and the mom has to wean.  I would consider pregnancy to be a weaning event for most women, no matter what they would prefer. 


SplashingPuddle 06-22-2012 08:47 PM

I have been told that I can continue breastfeeding and do a FET cycle (taking estrace, prometrium, and lupron) by my fertility doctor.  I also checked with Motherrisk, an organization based out of Sick Kids in Toronto and they advise women about medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  They have a toll free line where you can ask questions.  They confirmed for me that all three of these medications have very little bioavailability and are not a risk for breastfeeding, except reducing milk production.  However, I am not concerned abou this as my supply is well established with my toddler.  I asked Motherrisk if it would be a problem if my daughter was younger and they said no because of the very low bioavailability of these medications.

Good luck to all women who want to continue breastfeeding while doing IVF!

vireoes 06-26-2012 12:38 AM

I had hoped to try a FET while still nursing, but we are at 17 months and no sign of AF yet.  My RE wants a couple of normal cycles before doing the FET.  We have cut down on nursing a lot and tried supplementing with Vitex but so far no luck.  Given my age I am feeling like we may have to go ahead and wean if something does not change in the next month or two. :(

SplashingPuddle 07-16-2012 01:14 PM

I too did not return to regular menstruation while breastfeeding, so I asked if I could take birth control pills to induce menstruation and our fertility doctor thought that was a good idea. However, I wanted to induce menstruation to try and get rid of a polyp.  In terms of FET, our doctor did not think that I needed to be menstruating because my cycle would be controlled by hormones anyways.


I was however, pleasantly surprised that fertility medications would not pass through the breast milk. That was my main concern but I called Motherrisk which has a toll free service and answers questions about breastfeeding and pregnancy and medication use. It was a huge relief.

Mensch00 08-11-2012 10:26 PM

Yes, I nursed through an unsuccessful FET and then through a successful one. I just weaned my 3 1/2 year old daughter this week. At this point she was just nursing at night, and on occasion when she was very upset and needed comfort.  I had her in 2008 after a successful IVF. Never thought that I'd nurse her this long, but she had bad colic and tended to get stomach viruses 4-5 times a year, and just always seemed to need nursing.  After the first year she was only nursing a few times a day, and after year two she was only nursing to sleep or when she was sick. But she didn't want to wean and I didn't have a problem with it.  I have a degree in anthropology, and it is common in more traditional societies for women to nurse while pregnant. In foraging societies, nursing was documented as a mild pregnancy deterrent / birth control ... but this was among a population of women who were traveling extensively and working hard, who did not have much excess body fat. And after their infant was partially weaned, they were definitely still getting pregnant.  If you're only nursing your toddler 1-2 times a day, I really doubt that this would have an outcome on the success of a pregnancy...


At one point, before my last FET, I came across an article written by a women who had researched the safety of nursing while taking medications in prep for an FET cycle.  She didn't feel comfortable discussing the topic with her doctor, who would not have been in support (typical), so she did the research herself. She came up with the conclusion that there was nothing that could be harmful.  Progesterone and estrogen are just hormones that are natural to our bodies.  I don't know if I would ever do a fresh IVF cycle while nursing. Because then you'd be injecting yourself with things like lupron ... which is a pretty dangerous, risky drug.


I did an unsuccessful FET in June 2011. Nursed all the way through, 1-2x per day. Had a bad experience at that clinic and had to change. Had some polyp surgery ... and after more than a full year, I did another FET during the last week of July. Up until that point I was still nursing every night.  During the 10 day wait (transfer of two 5dblasts) my breast were getting really sore and I got my husband to put her to bed some nights (but I nursed her to bed on others).  Got a first beta of 220, and a second beta of 970 last thursday.  I know that it's too early to let the little one know that she's going to be a big sis. But I really needed to tell her something, as a good excuse for not lifting her up anymore and for wanting to wean (mainly due to really sore breasts!  Also, worldwide, MOST children wean at around age 4 ... despite what you will hear from your physician ... and she is 3 1/2, so it's definitely time).  I told her that we were trying to have a baby and the doctor told mommy not to pick up heavy things, and to save her milk, in case we ended up with a new baby.  Sounds odd when I write it here, but it was a good conversation and she totally seemed to understand and hasn't asked to nurse since!  She weaned about a week ago.

SplashingPuddle 08-15-2012 05:26 PM

Congratulations on your pregnancy! And especially for nursing throughout fertility treatment.  Fertility treatment is such a rocky road that I've thought that I would hate to wean prematurely hoping that a cycle would work, only to be disappointed that it didn't work, as well as disappointed that I stopped nursing.


Luckily my doctor was supportive of my continuing to breastfeed throughout a fresh ivf cycle.  However, all of the nurses were not, and it seemed like I talked to them all of the time, and only saw my actual doctor twice throughout the entire procedure. Another doctor did the retrieval and transfer.  The nurses main concern was super high estrogen levels, far higher than they'd be during a natural pregnancy.  They agreed with me that lupron, gonal-F etc would not be a problem because they were not bio-available orally (that is why we inject them).  Yet all of the injections cause estrogen levels to sky-rocket far beyond normal levels.  I called Motherrisk about estrogen, and they were reassuring that not too much estrogen would be available to my daughter by breast milk if I was breastfeed a couple times a day.


Now I am in 2ww. So hard. Trying not to go crazy =)


Once again lots of luck on your pregnancy!


vireoes 08-16-2012 01:23 AM

Good luck to you.  We finally got AF back at 17m PP.  We are going to try our FET in Sept.  I can't wait to finally get it started, my doctor didn't ask about nursing so we haven't discussed it.  My pedi is in favor of us continuing BF through the process.  Since the FET is pretty low medicated compared to the IVF cycle we did to get DD, I am not worried about it.  Hopefully we will get lucky on the FET and not have to deal with a fully medicated IVF cycle.

tracyamber 09-20-2012 09:04 AM

2 Attachment(s)

hi ladies...this is a post I put up last night. Im having a really hard time...any advice? You all pregnant now ? Was the worry not worth it when you look back? how did you wean???

please if you have any advice

thanks Tracy


"Okay everyone here’s the deal. Anyone planned a FET while breastfeeding and had to wean baby/toddler before transfer? Anyone nurse to sleep in addition to the above?

I cannot believe I am still in this dilemma. My husband and I want another baby and would like to do it(transfer) in January or March. My baby is going to be 18 months in a week and we are still breastfeeding…and breastfeeding to sleep. I feel so perplexed about weaning him. I think in some ways he really still needs to nurse and when I look into his eyes it breaks my heart. I have cried a bunch of times over this. The thing is, I am an older mom and if we are going to do this we need to do it soon. Blah… blah. I’ve had to do a lot of hard things in my life and this one is throwing me for a loop.. I cry as I write this and Im…I dunno…need advice…strategies…encouragement(?) especially the nursing to sleep…how to freakin just do it.  Errrrrrr!!! Ive never procrastinated in my life and I’m clearly......


thanks for reading

And i hope to not offend anyone. this is a fertility issue yet i know there are those trying to conceive and I am grateful that we have one.



Lupron protacol"

vireoes 09-20-2012 11:24 PM

We did our FET last week and did not wean before doing it.  My pediatrician is a lactation consultant and encouraged us to continue breastfeeding through our IVF.  We did a natural cycle, so medication was limited and I don't feel it compromised DD health at all.  Still in TWW so I don't know how it turned out yet.  Fingers crossed.  We are older too so we could not delay the IVF any longer and DD was not ready to wean (20 months).  We did night wean before the process for a variety of reasons and are transitioning away from nursing to sleep.  If you are convinced you need to wean before the process or at least night wean, then give yourself lots of time.  My husband had to take a much more active role in night time parenting for the night weaning and going to sleep without nursing.  We did the night weaning first and then added the falling asleep without nursing second.  There were some sleepless nights (much like very early parenting) during the transition, so we picked a slower period for DH at work, because we all missed a lot of sleep.  DD also nurses much more during the day now that we have done night weaning.  If you want the fast approach, I know families where the mother has gone a trip for 3-4 days and left the child with dad and used that as a mechanism for weaning. That wouldn't be my approach, but everyone has a different parenting style and it seem to work for them.  Either way if you choose to wean it will be a stressful period for everyone so get it done well before you start the IVF process so you don't have that stress impacting your chances of success.  I am a firm believer that reducing stress during the process increases your chance of being successful.  


My RE did not ask about our nursing status, so we decided for us it was worth any small drop in success rate to allow DD to keep nursing through the process.  While we really want a second I am willing to take a small reduction in success rate to keep an important part of my relationship with my first child intact.  Many clinics don't allow for this, thankfully we did not have to choose at ours.  We did delay starting the process again longer than we wanted since AF did not come back until 18 months PP and I did not want to wean early to bring her back.  We were starting to talk about weaning when AF finally showed up. Good luck to you.

tracyamber 09-21-2012 08:28 AM

2 Attachment(s)

Thank ou for your reply.....especially during your 2ww! I send you tons of positive energy!!!!

i did not realize that nursing to sleep and night weaning are two separate issues to tackle. Because DS wakes so much during the night I am constantly nursing back to sleep. Boy!!!! Im gonna really have to tackle this one. Bummer!!!

Thanks again for the insight


SplashingPuddle 10-03-2012 09:08 AM

I continued to nurse through a fresh ivf cycle, which was allowed at my clinic. I took a variety of fertility medications, all of which I was assured do not pass through the breast milk.  My milk supply was fine through the cycle; however, now that I am 10 weeks pregnant, they milk is decreasing on its own. I'm a bit disappointed, but with morning sickness, it is hard to keep up the stamina to nurse.  That said, I am not limiting any feeds.


Good luck!

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