pregnancy and nursing - Mothering Forums
Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy > pregnancy and nursing
julietev's Avatar julietev 06:14 PM 02-10-2005
My baby is 17 mos.old and still nursing probably 6-8 times a day? Hard to count! Anyway, we are co-sleeping at night, and I take naps with her during the day as well, so no return of my period. I'm starting to think about having another baby, but wondering when my period will return. I know that you can get pregnant without having a period, but I think the timing would have to be pretty good. Wondering what your experiences have been?

annethcz's Avatar annethcz 06:50 PM 02-10-2005
Every woman is different. Some women experience return of fertility within 6 weeks of birth, even when they are exclusively breastfeeding. At the other extreme, some mothers do not get their period back until they are no longer breastfeeding at all. Most women are somewhere in between.

All of my kids have been exclusively breastfed until around 6 months, and my cycles returned each time within a few months of starting solid foods. With my most recent baby, my fertility returned when DD was 9 months old. I became pregnant with baby #2 when #1 was 12 months, and baby #3 was also conceived when #2 was 12 months old.

Every woman is different.
Hollycrand's Avatar Hollycrand 07:01 PM 02-10-2005
We're in the same boat!
I'm nursing 19 mo dd a lot, night and day. Doctor has said I'm not even close to ovulating, which makes me sad because we're trying for #2.
But I don't want to wean or even night wean, because I think it's not what dd needs right now.
I do know of nursing mothers who BFed frequently and who became pregnant without even having a period. But I don't know if I'll be one of them.
julietev's Avatar julietev 02:06 AM 02-11-2005
I know it's tough! My midwife, too, told me in Nov when I saw her that I wasn't close to ovulating. I'm trying to just relax and enjoy the time I have with her to breastfeed and I don't want to cut out any feedings since it's so easy and we both are enjoying it.

On the other hand, I'm getting older and wondering how much longer I can wait. I keep taking pregnancy tests in the hopes that maybe I will be one of those people who go from nursing/no period to pregnancy. It's so disappointing to not get a "positive" result.

Many people have told me their periods returned once their baby was night weaned, but that seems pretty far in the future.

Good luck to you!
BlueSkyJennifer's Avatar BlueSkyJennifer 02:33 AM 02-11-2005
I'm curious, how can they tell if you are close to ovulating or not?

My period returned before I even started solids with DS. After 6 or so cycles of regular length I assumed I was ovulating again but when I started charting my temps to TTC again the first cycle I charted was annovulatory! I was shocked. I was still BFing (a lot) but I was sure that having had regular cycles again for 6+ months I was ovulating. The 2nd cycle I charted I did O, but 5 days late for me and for my cycle length, although I did conceive that cycle. You just never know.
bellee's Avatar bellee 02:43 AM 02-11-2005
I got PG while nursing my 12 month old. I've heard (it may be an old wives tale) that if you have 6 straight hours of non nursing, your chances are greater. I occupied DD for 6 hours during the day enough to get PG then I return to nursing as usual :LOL
stafl's Avatar stafl 09:47 AM 02-11-2005
I'm going to move this to breastfeeding beyond infancy forum, where you'll get more answers.

It varies widely between women. Both of my babies started sleeping longer (6+ hours) stretches at night at very young ages, without me having to nightwean them or ever refuse to nurse either of them when they want/need to nurse. With DD1 I got AF at 15 months, and didn't ovulate my first two "cycles" - I was charting with FAM as described in the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I got pregnant on my seventh post partum cycle, when DD was 22 months old. With DD2 I got af at 12 months, but was not charting and do not know if I ovulated or not. I started getting clear signs of ovulation (though I'm not temping so I'm not certain) about two months ago, that would be around 15 months post partum. - this link has some great information!
julietev's Avatar julietev 01:03 AM 02-12-2005
Thanks so much for the link, Stacy! Very informative reading and concise, just what I was looking for. With my first child, my period returned when she was 8 mos. and I got pregnant 2 mos after that, which is why my current situation is a bit mysterious. I guess some of the nursing patterns with baby #2 are different.
Thanks again for all the resources!
Jordansmommy's Avatar Jordansmommy 09:33 PM 02-12-2005
Originally Posted by BlueSkyJennifer
I'm curious, how can they tell if you are close to ovulating or not?
I would like to know this too...
stafl's Avatar stafl 02:13 PM 02-13-2005
You can tell when/if you are ovulating by watching for the signs. Your cervix changes, and so does your cervical mucous, right before ovulation. Right after ovulation, your basal body temp goes up, your mucous dries up, and your cervical opening closes up tight. Get a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler if you don't already have it!
TiredX2's Avatar TiredX2 02:49 PM 02-13-2005
I'm curious, how can they tell if you are close to ovulating or not?
I know the signs of ovulation (stafl just mentioned) but how could a medical professional know if you were "close to ovulating"? (I read this to mean a return of fertility, not actually that you are on day 12 or something of your cycle, swim?)

Anyway, the older your nursling is the more likely you are to ovulate before AF returns. If it is very important to you to catch that first cycle then you should start the routine in TCOYF (as mentioned by stafl). BUT, if you don't ovulate for another 4-5 months (or more) it's going to be a long boring wait!

As for the OPs specific situation. With DD, AF returned right before a year. With DS it was 25-26 months. Generally, AF take longer to return w/:
Increased maternal age.
Increased number of children.
Decreased weight.
Decreased nursing.

People are all different when they do get it back. With both children they were nursing full time (no 6 hour span) throughout the day and night. I was ticked with DD because there was never a two hour span, much less a 6 hour span! DS I was just a bit disappointed because I thought three years AF free would be nice :LOL

Other than weaning, in women have had a long cessation of AF (which I don't consider 17 months to be, btw, I've known people to go past the childs 3rd birthday) I first encourage them to look at their weight--- sometimes 5 lbs on an underweight body can bump you into ovulation mode.

Good luck!

stafl's Avatar stafl 11:29 PM 02-13-2005
Oh, they can test your hormones. FSH in particular, I think it is, but it's the relationship between your different hormone levels that tells the story.
carrietorgc's Avatar carrietorgc 12:21 AM 02-14-2005
for me, my period returned at 17 mo pp when dd starting going 5 hrs in btwn nursing during the day. (from nap at lunch to bedtime). I would offer and she would refuse.....

anyway, she had been going 8 hrs at night without nursing since she was 4 mo....and that did not do it.

we didn't try to reduce frequency of nursing to get my period back and I'm glad now, since dd is weaning due to no milk - i'm 14 wks pregnant now.
TiredX2's Avatar TiredX2 01:28 AM 02-14-2005
Oh, they can test your hormones. FSH in particular, I think it is, but it's the relationship between your different hormone levels that tells the story.
Galatea's Avatar Galatea 01:50 AM 02-14-2005
I got AF at 5 months post partum with no change in nursing routines. Ds is 11.5 months now and I am 9 weeks pg. My cycles regularized with 3 months of getting AF back.