I'm currently pregnant with #3, DS is 4 and DD is 2.5. I'm due in April and DH and I would welcome #4 whenever he or she decides to join us. DH and I officially TTC for less than 2 wks to get pg with DS. After DS, I didn't use BC, he was a constant night nurser and I didn't get AF back until 7 months pp, two weeks after DS finally started sleeping 6 hr stretches at night for the first time. I had 4 wonky cycles with very short LP's, then got pregnant with DD, we weren't trying or preventing. During that pregnancy I lost my milk around 20 wks, and then tandem nursed after DD was born. I had mirena put in 8 wks pp, by this time DD was STTN consistently (SOOOOO different than DS) and despite tandem nursing I got what I guess was a mirena light period a couple weeks later. I never had regular cycles with Mirena, and had it taken out last year due to its possible effect on the depression I was suffering from. This baby was conceived despite using condoms with the exception of Plan B 6 hrs after the only day of unprotected sex. DD is still nursing and I lost my milk earlier this time, at the end of first trimester.
My concern is this: I want to be sure this baby has milk for his first year, and if I get pregnant too soon I risk this. I seem to start cycling as soon as I get 6 hr stretches between nursing, and have proven to be rather fertile. If I get pg soon after delivering this one, will my body know to keep making milk for my LO later into the pregnancy? Should I just trust that my body knows what it is capable of? If I did loose my milk before my baby was 12 months would I have to give him formula? I know this is all hypothetical but it has me wondering how careful DH and I will have to be in the first 6 mo or so after this one arrives. I can't do hormonal BC, spermicide makes me itch, and DH hates condoms. I'm willing to temp and usually know when I ovulate, but I might not know days before that first egg......
This might not be a popular suggestion but we have great luck with pulling out. Your DH has to have good timing though and be committed to it. You also can't do back-to-back sessions of DTD (he'll need to urinate in between to clean out any lingering sperm)--not that any of us with three little kids ever manage to do that anyway
We've used it as our sole method of birth control for several years with no accidents and I am also super fertile (conceived #3 on the first shot and the other two took just a few months of trying or at least not preventing). Although the "failure" rate looks high with "typical" use, that takes into account people who just don't follow through, poor timing, etc. If you're good at it, it's pretty darn effective.
Mama to DS (6/07) , DD (6/09) , and DD (07/12) ..
Consider the Marquette Method using the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor. That is my plan post partum for my next baby. They have a protocol for breastfeeding mothers to detect when your fertility is returning. Apparently it has a very good effectiveness rate. You'll have to read more about it for specifics because I can't remember! Here's the website:
If you haven't had a period and you are nursing with no bottles/pumping/ solids etc. for the first 6 months the chance of getting pregnant before you get a period is very very low .. I lose my milk at the end of the first trimester and having breastmilk for the first year is VERY important to me (and we don't do hormonal BC etc.) with my last baby, i had spotting at 4.5 months (she slept long stretches and used a pacifier) once i had that spotting (and a period a month later) we started being careful, using the pull out method (when i had no fertile mucous) or condoms every time (we also hate condoms, who doesn't? but it was very important to me that my baby had breastmilk for a year) - if i hadn't had that early period i would have watched for fertile cm and other signs of ovulation and my pattern with the other kids has been to have several cycles of a short LP (and it was this time also, i still only have an 8-9 day LP even though i've had cycles for 11 months now and my youngest is 15 months) - so i would assume as long as my AF came back before 10-12 months (it always has) that i would have a short LP and not get pregnant that first ovulation IF i didn't notice it coming - which i always have just based on cramping and CM that i have for 2-4 weeks before the first ovulation - the longer you have no AF the more likely you are to ovulate before you do get a period and the more likely you are to have a 'normal' cycle. generally when you're breastfeeding fertility returns in stages, first AF, then ovulation (usually later than then normal day 14) with a short LP then the LP lengthens and the ovualtion occurs earlier.. your cycles regulate based on your body and how often your baby nurses and all of that.. (some women appear to have regular cycles right away but actually have a late ovulation and short LP, some really do have regular cycles right away but that is just not as common)
if you were to get pregnant before 1 year and your milk supply dropped you would veyr lkely have to use formula - unless your baby were old enough to fill in with solids etc. .. you have a good chance of getting the spacing you had the first time around, but if you would be really upset about having to supplement with formula then you probably shouldn't risk it.. (also, the younger your baby is the more likely he/she may not want to nurse after your milk dries up and may wean during pregnancy... )
I'm also very fertile, and AF returns early in spite of exclusive breastfeeding/co-sleeping/no pacis or bottles, etc. After #3, I decided not to go on BC, because i was having some issues with the hormones. I got pregnant with #4 when ds was 10months old. He was eating lots of solids at that point, but still nursing frequently. He noticed a change in my milk almost immediately (i didn't even know I was pregnant yet) but he kept on nursing. Athough the milk changed, my supply stayed stable: when I was about 16weeks along, ds got a bad cold/ear infection and stopped eating solids completely and just nursed. I was able to keep up with his demands without a problem. But after 20weeks, the milk dried up almost completely. He is currently tandem nursing, and is loving all the milk again. In contrast, when I got pregnant with #2, dd was 2years old and not nursing very much. My milk supply was gone by 12weeks or so. I think that the level of supply and the frequency of nursing you have at the onset of pregnancy does factor in to how long the supply will stick around. If you do get pregnant before baby is 6months or so, you will very likely have to supplement with formula or pumped milk. If you think a new pregnancy may happen early, you can always pump as much as possible in the early days, and save the milk for after your supply is gone.
Mama to Butterfly, B(ee), Bug, and Laniecakes