So glad it is going well for you!
All I know is form the little blurb in Dr. Sears The Baby Book. He stresses the importance of bfing at night--I think he mentioned between one AM and 6 AM? Apparently, the body takes up more of the hormones involved during these hours.
For what it's worth, I definitely FELT infertile when I was. It took me 13 months to get a period, and I did not conceive for another 5-6 months. That's my own experience. I know a lot of moms "did everything right" and got their periods very soon after birth, and fertility returned much earlier too.
I hope you are enjoying that new little one! Blessings and grace!
there's a book by Sheila Kippley on this subject. the title is something like Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing.
There's no way to know how much you need to nurse to stay infertile. The guidelines are every 3-4 hours during the day and every 6 hours at night, but that may not be enough for you.
i knew i wasn't fertile for a long time, because i had NO cervical fluid at all. when i finally saw SOMETHING, i figured my time was up. sure enough, i had a brief period 2 days later. i didn't ovulate for 3 more months though.
This is what I know about it (but I'm not an expert or anything):
Breastfeed on demand (as often as baby wants).
Don't offer any other nipples--that includes no pacifiers.
Exclusive bf--no water, solids, etc. for baby's first 6 months
Then you will be 98% protected against pregnancy for the first six months, or until your first period, whichever comes first. (According to what I read.)
I had almost no CM until ds was about 10 months, then I started getting it regularly even though I had no signs of AF returning (I also started charting as so many strange things were happening with my body). I would take my temp, although not regularly after about 11 months just to get an idea of where I was at homonally. I ovulated before my first AF, but that wasn't until ds was 15 months. I wasn't able to maintain a pregnancy until 20 months.
I have read that frequency of nursing, not total length of time at the breast, is what conveys infertility. so 3 10min feedings are better at keeping ovulation away than 1 30min feeding. now if we can only get the babies to cooperate
my experience has been a period at 5mo pp (and a pg 6mos pp) with first babe, and a period 10mos pp (and a pg 12 mos pp) with second babe.) We were not charting either time. i was tandem nursing when i had the longer period of infertility, so the frequency thing seems to hold true for me.
Also, if AF comes back then you can no longer follow the rules of LAM. You can still chart if you want. What I did was still check my cervical fluid every morning. As soon as it changes you must assume that your fertility is returning. At best LAM will apply for six months.
I got AF at 4 months, and then at six months for a full return. However, my fertility JUST came back this cycle and my baby is nine months old. Still, I had to stop using LAM when I got that return at 4 months.
Some women do not get AF back until their baby is one year or more. (Wish I were so lucky) So if you don't get it back it is normal.
Either way watch for when LAM does not apply and you are safe. If baby starts to sleep longer than 5 hours at night the LAM rules would no longer apply.
I second the book by Sheila Kippley. It is chock full of good information.
In addition to the above guidelines, it is helpful to lie down and rest with your baby during the day.
Reduce the amount of light to which you are exposed during the day; nighttime lighting (even as little as what a clock radio emits) can cause you to ovulate more quickly.
Shorter, more frequent nursings are more effective at stalling the return of fertility than longer nursings.
Sleep with your baby at night.
Do not use a pacifier or bottle.
Wear your baby in a sling or frontpack.
Delay solids (including other liquids, and expressed breast milk in cups or bottles) until the baby is at least 6 months old.
Remember that anything you offer to replace a nursing is something that will increase the chances of earlier ovulation (pacifier, bottle, cup, food, etc.).
There is no guarantee that you will not ovulate or experience your period at a certain point in time; however, following the above mentioned steps, most moms will experience a return of their fertility around 14 or 15 months post-partum. For some, fertility will return much earlier, for some, it will be much later.
I also read Sheila Kippley's book and recommend it highly. I follow most though not all of her rules. (I don't nap with baby-well when am I gonna go online???
My baby is nine mos old and still no period or ovulation.
If you offer the breast FIRST when the baby starts getting restless, and only move on to other comfort soloutions when the baby refuses the breast, you should be nursing enough to stave off ovulation. Nurse whenever the baby wants, for as long as they want. I wouldn't try to manipulate the length of the nursing sessions based on some study - just follow your baby!
(Becky background: baby #1 ov 8 wks PP. Baby #2, ov once every 3 months for 1st yr PP. Baby #3 & 4 ov 14 mos PP, following the rules in "Breastfeeding amd Natural Child Spacing. READ IT!)
i don't want to put a damper on things, but....i followed EVERYTHING in the book plus more. dd1 was exclusively nursing until 14 months. that means, NO SOLIDS. we co-slept, nursed on demand (she still nurses, we tandem nurse now, she's 3), no pacifier or finger sucking, etc....af was back at 3 mpp!!!!!!
but, without ovulating. i got pg with dd2 when dd1 was 20 months old, and we were not using any birth control.
however, my sister did not have any af, and got pg, thus does not know her exact due date, though it's when her baby will be just over a year.
so be careful.
This article from La Leche League International,Can I get pregnant while nursing?
, provides the 'rules' for the LAM of birth control.
Within that article, there is a link to the original abstract
from August 1993.
I was just reading about LAM from my LLL Breastfeeding Answer Book, which is upstairs and thus I am unable to exactly quote it, so we must rely on my memory. One of the interesting tidbits mentioned in the text is that if a LAM-follower does menstruate before 6 months, it is most often an anovulatory period. After 6 months, it is most often an ovulatory period.
From memory, the frequency of breastfeeding rules are:
* every 4 hours during the day
* every 6 hours during the night
Moms using LAM are to be wary once baby starts 'sleeping through the night,' because that nighttime nursing is vital to stavving off fertility. I am 5 weeks pp and plan on using LAM, so let's HOPE my memory is accurate!
LAM works because every time the infant stimulates the nipple, the hormone prolactin is released...and prolactin negates the effectiveness of estrogen.
Estrogen is required to release an egg, and once the quantity of estrogen in the body rises to level x, the body will ovulate. This is why the frequency of nursing is important.
As I understand it, all day long estrogen is released into the body, and each nursing provides a shot of prolactin to nullify the effects of the estrogen in the body at that time. And the you're back to no estrogen again, 'til it starts accumulating again, and a few hours have passed, and BOOM you need another prolactin shot to balance the warring hormones, so to speak.