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I just started this AM - my lo is 14 months! Probably a little late to get back on the charting boat, but he's been primarily BFed for the last 14 months and has only begun to go 4-5 hour stretches w/o BFing, and I've remained in BIP this whole time. If he'd gone longer stretches earlier, I'd have begun then...

Per TCOYF, you are pretty certain to not ovulate for the first 6 months if baby is EBF, no paci, no bottles, no supplement, fed on demand, at least every 3-4 hours, day and night, and no bleeding at or after 6 wks PP for you. As for when you start charting, that is personal preference and how much certainty vs risk you are willing to accept
 

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I start as soon as I notice fertile cervical fluid returning. I'll temp for a while to see if I get a spike, but if I dry up and no spike then I stop for bit and start again when more fertile CF shows up. And as soon as I get any bleeding I start temping regularly no matter what. I didn't get AF until around 8-9 months pp with my first and around a year with my second. With my first it took another year for my cycles to regulate again. With my second it only took one cycle and then an oops pregnancy.

Breastfeeding can really mess with your CF making it difficult to CTA postpartum.... just a friendly warning from someone with two oops!!
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Do you meet the requirements for LAM? If so, I wouldn't worry about charting for at least 6 months. Also look into ecological breastfeeding. The more your breastfeeding pattern looks like ecological breastfeeding, the longer it is likely to be before your first PPAF. If you have seriously fertile-looking CM before 6 months, that could be reason to start charting. After 6 months, I wouldn't ignore CM.

I personally just payed a little attention to CM if it was obvious. I was pretty much dry every day for 18 months. Once I started having fertile CM, I started charting. Before that, I just thought about it if we were thinking about DTD and thought of if I've noticed any CM recently. Out of 21 months of amenorrhea, I only charted for 3.
 

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I'm still not able to chart BBT very accurately (and my ds is 5.5) because I almost never get enough consecutive hours of sleep before waking
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. Not even to mention how BFing (especially EBF) screws up your cycles... So I agree with PP: I started paying attention to CM etc once I noticed fertility signs returning, which in both cases was around 14-15mo.
 

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It is definitely more challenging to chart when you're breastfeeding and dealing with night wakings. But despite waking every couple of hours for years, I can still get a biphasic pattern with my temps. Everyone is different, though, and some women are much more sensitive to changes in sleep and waking time. Some find it's more consistent to take their temp vaginally.
 

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Statistically speaking any bleeding prior to 56 days postpartum is hormonal and not a true period (in other words was not preceded by ovulation). Just keep an eye out for fertile cervical fluid followed by spotting or bleeding from now on.
 

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What if one doesn't have much cervical mucus to begin with? I tried to use this method of tracking fertility but only discovered that I barely have any... I got pregnant with the help of preseed twice, never had a pregnancy without (don't know if that's a coincidence or not!)
 

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Just be careful. My period came back at 8 weeks pp -- and that was with ecological breastfeeding. I've heard a lot of stories of women regaining their fertility really fast, even nursing around the clock. I would keep an eye out for cervical fluid for sure.
 

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azhie, tracking CM may or may not be effective enough for you. It is hard to tell. I had scant CM before getting pregnant the first time and then had no CM for almost a year and a half after giving birth, but then I did have lots of CM before actually ovulating the first time. To overcome the breastfeeding hormones, you may need larger amounts of estrogen, etc, that would give you more CM than you might normally have. Additionally, without CM, sperm would live for only a very short time, like a matter of hours. Most people can conceive based based on DTD several days before ovulation. Without CM, you would have to DTD very, very close to ovulation, and even then, it may be difficult. If you do not have CM, the probability of you getting pregnant is very low, but if you happen to get the right day, it could happen. If you want more accuracy than that, consider looking into the Marquette Method.

MamaJen, you're right that while it is very uncommon, some women do regain their fertility quite quickly, even with breastfeeding around the clock, and I don't know all what contributes to that. 8 weeks seems to be the start of that, hence being allowed to ignore bleeding before 56 days but not after. Before 6 months, it is unlikely that a woman will get pregnant and have a long enough luteal phase before any sort of a warning bleed (though it does happen in about 1% of cases). I would not ever ignore more-fertile type CM, and definitely do not ignore any sort of blood beyond 56 days postpartum.
 
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