Natural birth control and exclusive breastfeeding - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-28-2007, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi mamas,
We're following the fertility awareness method (fam) as described in Toni Weschler's book, Taking Charge of your fertility. According to the book, we need not take basal temps, check for cervical fluid or check cervical position for the first 6 months as long as DD is nursing every 4 hours during the day and 6 hours in the evening. (she nurses every 2 hours at least, so we definitely meet the criteria.) Has anyone out there followed this and gotten pregnant? I'm sure lots of women have- just wanted to see how common it was with people on the boards...We really want a third baby, but not in the near future- guess I'm just trying to figure out how much of a "risk" we are taking. The book said FAM has a 98%+ rate... We've used the method for several years and I haven't had any fertility signs whatsoever. Any interesting stories out there?

J - Birth doula and *very* grateful mama to bouncy Q, fancy F, and mighty F!

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Old 01-28-2007, 07:08 PM
 
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I have EBF as often as described, and I haven't gotten pregnant, but I did get my period back at 5 1/2 months, so I'm assuming I've ovulated.
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Old 01-29-2007, 06:01 AM
 
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I EBF on demand too and got AF at 4 mos PP.

I would be very, very careful if you want to avoid pg!

GL
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Old 01-29-2007, 06:16 AM
 
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I ebf'd on demand until about 5/6mo, then the minute we gave him a taste of solids AF came back. I'd still be ultra-careful if you don't plan on having another one right away, but dh and I have already determined that we're pretty darn fertile (3 pregnancies, 2 full-term kids in less than 4 years of marriage). Still working on getting my FAM feelers in gear though, just officially started tracking everything a month or so ago (before that we just kinda guessed and I was right most of the time).

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Old 01-29-2007, 06:35 AM
 
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I don't have statistics or anything but bfing or not you can still get knocked up. sometimes people ovulate before they even know they are doing it. Best bet is to use some other form of birth control control. (condoms, pull out, those stripy things.. whatever) Once you have a few cycles down you could probably switch over to just not having sex near your ovulation dates if you wanted to. (assuming your regular)

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Old 01-29-2007, 06:58 AM
 
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While my period doesn't start up until much later postpartum and I've not gotten pregnant until after that, I absolutely know, that after this past baby I was fertile 4mo after the birth. I wasn't purposely looking at fertility signs, but I was suddenly noticing definite fertile mucus patterns. HTH

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Old 01-29-2007, 09:41 AM
 
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I also EBF and got my period back at 5 1/2 months. Dd DID sleep longer than 6 hours at that point (not anymore, though , but still...I wouldn't chance it. You just never know.
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Old 01-29-2007, 10:22 AM
 
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i got my period back at 3 months. so, i was definitely fertile BEFORE that period and could have gotten preg.

and ds was exclusively bf....and co slept. basically, was attached to me.

im not knocking that method, but if its advocating not worrying about preg. solely b/c you are EBF, then i think that is taking a huge gamble.

but thats JMHO>
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Old 01-29-2007, 11:42 AM
 
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I have used this method for years. I didn't ovulate until dd was 9 months. ds 11 months.

BUT... I got my "period" back with dd at 6 months. I didn't ovulate, so I wasn't fertile at that point. So all the pps above who said they got their af back earlier than 6 months - they might or might not have been fertile at this point, and would only know for sure if they were charting other signs (like waking temp) to look for ovulation. Just getting something that looks like a period isn't proof of ovulation. OTOH, I have heard people on this forum say that they got pregnant less than 6 months pp so it definitely can happen.

You have to decide what your own comfort level is, but personally I feel fairly safe not tracking fertility signs for at least the first four months (assuming baby is nursing adequately often) - after that I go back to looking at mucus, etc.
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Old 01-29-2007, 01:49 PM
 
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I EBF on demand and got my period back at 6 weeks pp. And as others have said, you can be fertile even before you get your period back. I think 98% must be an over-estimate.
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Old 01-29-2007, 01:59 PM
 
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We use the Creighton Method (or have in the past, not lately). I have been able to use what I know about cm to know when I was Oing and then when to expect my first ppaf, it was 9 mos and then after I had to wean Evan at 12mos. I never got pg before af, but I have a short lp w/ the first cycle so it wouldn't have stuck anyways. The Creighton Method is great and uses cm only, no internal checks or temping.

Once you O, one of 2 things happen, you get af or get a bfp. You can't continually O and not have af.

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Old 01-29-2007, 02:04 PM
 
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I think 98% is probably overall - not just the US.

That said, I was fertile in my 2nd month pp and started my period at 3 months. I did not keep track of how often DS was eating but it was all the time. He was 9.5 at birth and 17 lbs at 3 months.
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Old 01-29-2007, 02:46 PM
 
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We use that method with a twist. We use withdrawal (everytime) and FAM. I still haven't gotten my period, although I've been noting what seems like fertile CM for a couple months now. There's always a chance of getting pregnant, but it's much lower with withdrawal on top of everything else. Once my period returns I plan to start temping on top of everything else. Temping worked for us for 2+ years before we got pregnant.
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Old 01-29-2007, 04:19 PM
 
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I have to agree with the pp's who said you can bleed without being fertile. I don't think 98% is an oversetimate if you follow the rules AND it's not your first exposure to it. If you've never practiced FAM before, I don't think you'd be familiar enough with fertility signs to learn it while EBF and before you get your fertility back.

If you're just waiting to check fertility signs until the first time you bleed, you may or may not already be fertile. If you really don't want to be pregnant, then just watch for your fertility signs! The chapter in TCOYF about using FAM while EBF is pretty detailed with how you can chart & watch for your fertility signs' return. (Although I have no personal experience with it in this form)

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Old 01-29-2007, 04:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quinbearzmama View Post
Hi mamas,
The book said FAM has a 98%+ rate... We've used the method for several years and I haven't had any fertility signs whatsoever. Any interesting stories out there?
Just rereading your op - can you clarify this? You've never experienced any fertility signs? I'm just wondering what your experience with using FAM has been before (were you tta, ttc?), because that would help considerably if you knew your body's fertility signs. If you've never noted any then you might have a harder time recognizing them.

Mama to my Addie Bug wool.gif (10/2008) and angel1.gif (6/2010); nursing student & childbirth educator
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Old 01-29-2007, 04:51 PM
 
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Old 01-29-2007, 04:56 PM
 
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I would suggest reading "Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing". It goes into much more detail than TCOYF.

We used this method and AF came back around 8 mo PP (when DS began sleeping in his crib a bit) I did not ovulate right away, and wasn't able to get pregnant until 12 months PP. Nursing also prevents pregnancy in other ways than just ovulation suppression. For some women (myself included) the onset of fertility is very, very gradual.

I would say watch your CM a bit and if you have a patch that looks different from the rest, get out your thermometer. I did that a few times for peace of mind but like I said, I did not ovulate until DS was I think 10 mo, and didn't have a luteal phase long enough to sustain pregnancy until the month I got pregnant (12 mo PP)
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Old 01-29-2007, 06:04 PM
 
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I was about to post on here...dh and I are using condoms until I can chart again (waiting until ds sleeps more) but we're definately leaning more towards nfp/fam.

anywho ds was ebf until 6m, got ppaf 3m and first ov at 4m (short lp though) anyways I haven't really been *fertile* since...mostly due to short lp rather than no ov.

right now I am just checking my cm...and I just go by whats on the panties/tp. ds2 is up every 1.5-2hrs at night to nurse and wakes me up as well so temping is out still.

Jami (25) Roland (27) & Caleb (5), Jacob (3.5) , Kaitlyn (2)
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Old 01-30-2007, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber Lion View Post
Just rereading your op - can you clarify this? You've never experienced any fertility signs? I'm just wondering what your experience with using FAM has been before (were you tta, ttc?), because that would help considerably if you knew your body's fertility signs. If you've never noted any then you might have a harder time recognizing them.
Hi- sorry to confuse. I haven't had any fertility signs since DD was born. Typically my fertility signs are *very* obvious...

J - Birth doula and *very* grateful mama to bouncy Q, fancy F, and mighty F!

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Old 01-31-2007, 11:08 AM
 
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I think it's important to note that the scott-free 6-months is only such if you HAVE NOT gotten your period. Tons of people get their period before 6 months, and thus need to be aware that they may be fertile. If you HAVE NOT had your period in that time period, then following the other "rules" you can have that 98+% success rate.

My personal experience is that I had no period for the 6 months after both babies, exclusively breastfed (a whole lot), no solids, no bottles, etc. And no ovulations, no babies. So, I fall into the "success" category. I did get pregnant my first cycle after getting my period after that 6 months was over though.
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Old 02-04-2007, 07:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Shell_Ell View Post
I would suggest reading "Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing".
I would second this... People who use her method have gone much longer without getting their period than other posters are saying. I think 14-18 months is the average. Her method and recommendations on "natural mothering" are quite AP as well.
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Old 02-04-2007, 07:37 PM
 
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but i occasionally chime in on this forum as the poster child for lactational amenorrhea (sp?) paranoia.

my first was born at home, never put down at ALL, slept with me, nursed for food, comfort, fun, all of it. i took here EVERYWHERE. i was the model MDC mom in just about every day.

my then partner and i played around a few times during those early months, and also 'used' the 'pull and pray' method. somehow i ended up with another baby 345 days after the first one was born. so, the .1 percent of people or whatever, they are real people, and i'm one of them. i could still kick myself.

so, i always advise a LOT of caution, i just think everyone's body is different, and you don't know what you've got going on for sure. even with tandem nursing two kids under 2, i was bleeding again the day my second turned seven months old. i don't know why i'm so fertile, i would love to read a book that discusses those ideas.
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Old 02-05-2007, 04:09 PM
 
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i'm hoping to use natural family spacing after #3 unfortunately I had to go to work after Jake was born so pumping and all that. he's reverse cycling but I still got af back when he was 3m

Jami (25) Roland (27) & Caleb (5), Jacob (3.5) , Kaitlyn (2)
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