still confused by mestrual cycle after baby - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 07-02-2010, 12:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know it's normal for your cycle to get a little crazy after birth, and since I'm eco-bf'ing I wasn't expecting mine at all for a few more months, but when it came a couple weeks before baby turned 7 months I was surprised but didn't think much of it. It came strong and lasted 5-6 days, (normally I'm 3-4 days), but I've always been very irregular, so again I thought no big deal.

But now its been almost 6 weeks since the first day it came, and now I'm starting to get concerned... we definitely can't afford to be pregnant again, I get shivers just typing the word. But we did have unprotected sex a couple times since (big oops, I know), but for what its worth I was tracking cervical mucus and thought we were in the clear at the time.

So... could it be normal for me to be this late for my second flow since birth, or did I maybe have had some flow that wasn't my real cycle starting up again? Or something? Any thoughts/advice/accounts/facts would be great!!!

Thanks mamas!
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#2 of 16 Old 07-02-2010, 01:02 AM
 
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What is eco-bfing?

Without more details of timing, it's definitely possible to be pg if you had unprotected sex during your cycle, it all depends on when it was of course. However, the 6 week thing, that isn't abnormal. I had heavy, longer periods when my cycle returned at 7mo, and they are now more normal (14mo). The cycle length was a little off too from what it used to be but has normalized by now. So, it could very well be your body still adjusting. I would probably look for it to happen soon though?

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#3 of 16 Old 07-02-2010, 01:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, thanks for responding!

By eco-bf'ing I meant ecological breastfeeding.
Helps to know that you had a similar experience... I hope it is just that I'm still adjusting and it will come any day now.

As far as considering that maybe that wasn't my "real period", is that at all possible?
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#4 of 16 Old 07-02-2010, 01:33 AM
 
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What is ecological-breastfeeding?

I would think that if you had what seemed like a period, it was a period. Though someone else may weigh in. It IS possible that you were pg, m/c'd and bled from that, but there isn't any way to know at this point (or worry for that matter either about it being that).

I tell ya, I was soooo annoyed when my period came back! I did not miss messing with that.

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#5 of 16 Old 07-02-2010, 08:22 AM
 
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My motto is always "When in doubt, POS!" This could be because I've gotten pregnant without having a cycle in between babies!

Still, 6 weeks doesn't sound completely abnormal, especially if you're bf'ing (though I, too, have no idea what ecological bf'ing is, lol).

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#6 of 16 Old 07-02-2010, 01:13 PM
 
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Ecological breastfeeding

Ecological breastfeeding is a stricter form of LAM (lactational amenorrhea method) developed by Sheila Kippley, one of the founders of the Couple to Couple League. Studies have shown it has a 1% failure rate in the first six months postpartum, and a 6% failure rate before the woman’s first postpartum menstruation.[3][4] The Seven Standards of ecological breastfeeding are slightly different from the LAM criteria:

* Breastfeeding must be the infant’s only source of nutrition – no formula, no pumping, and (if the infant is less than six months old) no solids or water at all.
* The infant must be pacified at the breast, not with pacifiers or bottles or by placing a finger in the mouth.
* The infant must be breastfed frequently. The standards for LAM are a bare minimum; greater frequency is better. Sucking should include non-nutritive sucking when the infant cues the mother, not just breastfeeding as a means of nutrition. Scheduling of feedings is incompatible with LAM.
* Mothers must practice safe co-sleeping as it is the proximity of the child to the mother that increases prolactin.
* Mothers must not be separated from their infants. This includes substitutes for mother such as babysitters and even strollers or anything else that comes between mother and physical contact with her child. Babywearing (using cloth carriers) means tactile stimulation between mother and child and increases access to the breast. Any separation from the mother will decrease the efficacy of ecological breast feeding.
* Mothers must take daily naps with their infants.
* A mother must not have had a period after 56 days post-partum (bleeding prior to 56 days post-partum can be ignored).

*****************

I wanted to add that I chart religiously and started charting again pp with baby #1 as soon as I started to spot returning fertility signs (cervial fluid mostly) around 7 months postpartum (AF returned at 8 months pp for me). Temping produced the typical bi-phasic pattern despite breastfeeding, nightwakings, and often getting out of bed before taking my temp. Granted I had a lot more outliers than usual because of nights of extremely bad sleep, but I could still easily pick out the pattern. Therefore, I had a very good picture of what my cycle was doing. I experienced very varied cycles for a long time- varying LP, o day, overall cycle length, etc. I would say it took until 2 years postpartum for my cycles to return to very predictable and my LP to elongate back to a fertile length. My dd weaned at 27 months, but nightweaned at 2 years. I think this was a big part of it.

Certainly every woman is different. Some will get pg before their cycle even returns, others will have to stop bfing to become fertile again. I would suggest temp charting to see what's going on. If you charted pre-pg you should have a good idea of what "normal" is for you and hopefully you could see what's happening right now. Of course you can always POS, too!

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#7 of 16 Old 07-02-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papaya-luv View Post
As far as considering that maybe that wasn't my "real period", is that at all possible?
And yes, this is entirely possible. You can shed the uterine lining without actually ovulating. This would be considered "break through bleeding" caused by a dip in progesterone or it could simply have been an annovulatory cycle.

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#8 of 16 Old 07-03-2010, 12:48 AM
 
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When in doubt, why not just take an OTC pregnancy test? The peace of mind is totally worth it IMO.

That said, I'm 4 mo pp and have had two periods. Cycle length of 48 days! Last time I literally had a dream that I might want to take a pg test and got my period the next day, so for what it's worth it is possible that it's just being weird.
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#9 of 16 Old 07-03-2010, 12:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for the great feedback... I talked to hubby today and he was like 'lets go to the pharmacy right now!' So according to the magic stick we can breathe relieved, but of course I won't be completely confident until I see red. Maybe wearing white pants will do it.

Jaimee you are so on top of things, I wish I could be that good with charting. I tried before and it was so damn hard for me to do it right. I would always forget to temp before getting out of bed, and somehow I managed to mess up the chart one way or another every single month. But after this little mishap I will certainly give it another try.

Thanks again mamas, you guys totally inspire me...!
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#10 of 16 Old 07-03-2010, 11:27 AM
 
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My cycles are always very wacky after babies. I got AF back with DS at 7/8 months, but my cycles range from 50+ days to 38 the last one. I don't chart but know when it is O time based on signs and just avoid during that time.

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#11 of 16 Old 07-05-2010, 02:52 AM
 
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My cycles have varied in how they've returned, but after DS2, my first cycle was 52 days long! I did not have any signs of ovulation, either. It was actually several cycles (which progressively shortened) before I was sure I was ovulating again. And after about two of those, I got a .

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#12 of 16 Old 07-05-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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--* Breastfeeding must be the infant’s only source of nutrition – no formula, no pumping, and (if the infant is less than six months old) no solids or water at all.
* The infant must be pacified at the breast, not with pacifiers or bottles or by placing a finger in the mouth.
* The infant must be breastfed frequently. The standards for LAM are a bare minimum; greater frequency is better. Sucking should include non-nutritive sucking when the infant cues the mother, not just breastfeeding as a means of nutrition. Scheduling of feedings is incompatible with LAM.
* Mothers must practice safe co-sleeping as it is the proximity of the child to the mother that increases prolactin.
* Mothers must not be separated from their infants. This includes substitutes for mother such as babysitters and even strollers or anything else that comes between mother and physical contact with her child. Babywearing (using cloth carriers) means tactile stimulation between mother and child and increases access to the breast. Any separation from the mother will decrease the efficacy of ecological breast feeding.
* Mothers must take daily naps with their infants.
* A mother must not have had a period after 56 days post-partum (bleeding prior to 56 days post-partum can be ignored).---

That sounds like regular old fashioned breastfeeding to me...when is breastfeeding not ecological? I disagree that babysitters or strollers or separation of any kind would increase your risk of getting pregnant or would be a superior form of bfing. Your risk of getting pregnant depends on exclusive breastfeeding and the return of your cycle...which varies from woman to woman. I didn't get a MC for nearly a year with my first...even after the start of solids. And I pumped and stored milk. And I got my first MC with my second after 4 months PP. And I didn't pump. And believe me I left my children with their nana and took stroller walks and sat them in bouncy seats ...although I do baby wear I most certainly didn't wear them constantly. We cosleep and I am a very big cosleeping advocate but I also doubt that an exclusively breastfed baby sleeping in a crib would have any effect on a mothers MC either. And I agree that bottles and pacifiers can give the baby sucking satisfaction, and I have never given bottles or pacifiers, I cringe to consider moms who are breastfeeding but giving bottles of their own milk as doing anything but still breastfeeding, and thus doing a wonderful thing for their child...as well as being ecologically minded. And I don't understand how putting a finger in a baby's mouth would make any difference in anything at all. It's the mothers cycle (which varies from women to women) and the exclusive breastfeeding that determines birth control...and like any birth control is not fail proof. Whether you cosleep, baby wear, or pump/breastmilk bottle feed or not has no bearing imo on your level of being a breastfeeding mom or your rate of returning MC or risk of pregnancy.

Sorry I just find it sorta silly to divide breastfeeding into these different camps.

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#13 of 16 Old 07-06-2010, 07:23 AM
 
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That is normal because we have different cycles and unique ones, too. So don't worry about it much!

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#14 of 16 Old 07-06-2010, 07:59 PM
 
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My cycles were all wonky, when they did come back, this last time when I was nursing my twins. I had some three-week cycles, and some that were like two months, and once AF disappeared entirely, only to reappear like four months later. I suspect they were anovulatory-- they seemed to correlate with times when DS and DD2 were sleeping unusually soundly, so probably dips in hormonal levels, etc. I didn't resume actual predictable cycles that made any sense until the twins were down to nursing two or three times a day.

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#15 of 16 Old 07-06-2010, 11:11 PM
 
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my cycles *still* come every 6-8 weeks, and my daughter just turned 2 a couple weeks ago! That said, if you really REALLY don't want to get pregnant again any time soon, you need to start thinking seriously about birth control, whether it's FAM used religiously, an IUD, condoms, or whatever.

...then again, if you just don't really want to get preg. *now*, but are thinking it would be good in another year, you can probably afford to be a tad less serious/religious abour birth control, knowing that it could result in your getting pregnant before you had "planned".

Personally, I used FAM between my children and now have a copper IUD, since we are unsure whether we want a 3rd or not.

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#16 of 16 Old 07-16-2010, 01:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi mamas, thanks for posting about your experiences, its amazing how our cycles can be so unique, and I'm sure there are so many variables which dictate when and how they return.

That said, I still have no signs of AF, and I've been POS every few days for my own sanity and nothing, so I'm not so concerned but it would be nice to rule anything out. On the other hand as CookAMH said before, I really don't miss messing with that either.
Please continue to share!

Oh, and as far as the eco-breastfeeding, like terra-pip, I also don't think the "rules" have to be that strict either, and I agree the physical separation thing can't possibly be that big of a deal. But everything else does seem to make sense to me, at least in my case, since I've seen definite patterns with my baby as a result of following the guidelines or not. For example with co-sleeping and co-napping I've found that being next to her undoubtedly influences the length of sleep time and frequency of feedings, which in turn would affect the effectiveness of the breastfeeding method itself. (Just my own experience, I wouldn't say its absolute.)
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