Seeking your advice and wisdom, please...
My husband and I have a just-turned-2 daughter who loves to nurse; I'd say she nurses about 4-6x during the day and about 3-4x during the night. I've had my cycles back for just over a year now and they're varied in length and heaviness (nothing unusual there from what I understand). My husband and I have been TTC for a 3 months now, using a fertility monitor. Each month it's concurred with the CM I'm observing and showing that I'm ovulating (yay). In June I thought we were going to be successful, but then a handful of days before my period was due I had a few days of spotting. That went away, then several days later I got a crazy heavy, clotted period with awful cramps - all much more intense than anything experienced since having my cycles back. I guessed we might have had a chemical pregnancy but my OB's office wasn't too concerned so we just went on our way. We missed our most-fertile days in July due to travel and I had a fairly normal period. This month I *really* felt pregnant and took a HPT on Monday, which would've been day 29 (I've been averaging about 26 days so I thought that was not too early to test). It was positive, but very faint, so I waited another few days and took a digital test which said 'no'. Then, early this morning I got woken by awful cramps (like 10x worse than my looong natural labor, lol!) and have had bright, clotted bleeding again all day.
The nurse at my OB's office chided me today for not following my OB's advice that was written on my chart, which of course, was that I "had to" wean in order to get pregnant (she also told me it was not "safe to a developing baby" to have a mom breastfeed throughout pregnancy so I took it with a grain of salt at my last appointment). From what I can find online, it's not unheard of for a nursing mom's prolactin levels to inhibit a pregnancy from implanting (that is my best guess, as my luteal phase is the correct length, typically about 2 weeks). I've been looking at a lot of our LLL resources and there is a lot of "some moms find..."-type language about possibly having to wean to get things to go back to normal. I'm hoping this is not the case for us, and I'm wondering if there is anything else I can do. Do you think night-weaning would make enough of a difference in my prolactin levels? Some other random forum suggested boosting Vitamin B6? Or is it just a matter of time, as in keep trying and maybe when my DD is nursing less something will change? (although I forsee no end in sight for this babe...) :)
If anyone has any experience with this I would be most grateful.
Forum crashing, as I've never posted in here before. You caught my eye from the new posts list. I'm partly trained as an NFP teacher, and amongst my research I've learned that low progesterone can cause the symptoms you mentioned, premenstrual spotting and heavy clotted period. Also, low progesterone can lead to very early loss, and breastfeeding can cause low progesterone. I don't think you need to wean, although dropping night feedings might help. You can try supplementing your progesterone, or at the very least, find a HCP willing to listen and run some hormone tests for you.
Mom to eight!! Our twin girls arrived 3-3-2011.
Thanks, Mylilmonkeys - I appreciate that! I just assumed prolactin, haven't researched much on the progesterone front yet - off to google now!
Not to ask a stupid question, but how does one supplement progesterone? Is that the sort of thing you can find in different forms at a natural pharmacy or do you have to go through a doctor?
There are natural forms and there are prescription forms, it sort of depends on how badly your body needs supplementation from what I gather. I don't know a whole lot about it, but I'm sure there are more than a few ladies here who do!
Mom to eight!! Our twin girls arrived 3-3-2011.
As the pp mentioned, low progesterone is generally the cause of pre-AF spotting, short luteal phases, and chemical pregnancies while breastfeeding (or otherwise). And yes, prolactin suppresses the progesterone. As the pp also mentioned, there are things you can do to boost your system a bit. Wild yam is natural form of progesterone and there are also progesterone creams. Additionally, several supplements like vitamin B6, magnesium, or chasteberry can aid in the process. But before you start taking a bunch of stuff, just know that your body may simply need more time.
My cycles did not regulate and become fully fertile until just after my dd turned 2 years old and started sleeping through the night and cutting back on her day time nursing sessions. I had a chemical pregnancy about a month later and conceived two cycles after that. The m/c definitely helped kick my cycles into gear and I did not need to fully wean for that to happen. It is absolutely not uncommon to take over a year or two to become fertile again when you are breastfeeding. I knew some women that still had not resumed normal cycles at 3 years postpartum. It's nature's way of spacing our children. That being said, it is a very personal decision when you want to TTC again and whether you feel strongly enough about it that you would encourage nightweaning and/or daytime weaning in order to do so.
There is a TTC while nursing thread that you might find helpful and supportive in the TTC forum. Good luck!
Mama to Avalon 1/07 , Austin 1/10 in between and Avery 12/11
very interesting reply. Ds (a little over 2.5) and I just finished the weaning process...it went ridiculously well...pretty sure we both were 100% ready ;-)
So, I guess I'm not ttc while nursing, but since that was only a month or so ago, I've been wondering if my body might benefit from some extra vitamin boosts...thanks for the suggestions on yams. I had forgotten about them!
DP and I since 2007, DS born late 2008,
Excitedly expecting #2 mid-October 2012!!!