#1 Ruth: (one year) - working mom
I experienced a year of lactational amenorrhea with both my children, though my breastfeeding method was quite different from that usually recommended by NFP folks. I breastfed pretty much exclusively for the first three months, though I did use pacifiers and an occasional bottle of either formula or expressed breastmilk. After three months I returned to work and began the following schedule: Wake up and nurse the baby. Wash hair, put on makeup then eat breakfast while pumping my breasts dry (took about 15 minutes) with a hospital-grade double pump. Go to work and pump again at lunchtime for 15-20 minutes while eating lunch (you get pretty good at doing stuff one-handed). Get home about 5:30 and feed the baby. Nurse once or twice more before bedtime. Feed baby once during the night. Nurse every 3 hours or so on the weekends.
During that routine I had no mucus patches that I remember, though I wasn't using NFP, but I knew enough about it to look for the return of my fertility. When my kids were a year old the pump went back to the hospital and I just nursed when we were home. I got fertile mucus two weeks after the pump went back, and my period two weeks later.
Once the pump went back my milk supply dropped quickly and by fifteen months both my kids were weaned, in kind of a mutual agreement.
#2 Trisia: (eight months so far)
My son is 8 months old and I still have not begun menstruating yet. He nurses 8-10 times per day, sleeps with me at night (when he nurses 3-6 times per night) and I also nap with him once or twice during the day. I rarely leave him with other caregivers, and when I do it is never more than 2 or 3 hours (my breasts might explode otherwise!).
#3 Mary: (twelve months)
I used LAM, using all of the steps, for one year and 2 weeks, approximately. I ovulated for the first time since I got pregnant in April of 1998, after I fed my daughter her first solid food 2 days before her 1st birthday . My ovulation date was January 22, 2000. I didn't chart, although I have used FAM for getting pregnant, previous to this. We were not preventing pregnancy and got pregnant at this time. I didn't have a menses previous to this time. We sleep with our daughter, I breastfed on demand (actually still do, pretty much!), she never had anything other than my breast by mouth (ok, well, she TRIED to eat other things, paper, anything the right size, etc.). She didn't suck her thumb and still doesn't, never had a pacifier and I exclusively breastfed her for a year (well, two days short of).
#4 Trudy: (nine months, fourteen months)
We learned the Sympto-Thermal method while pregnant with out second child. I was able to identify the temperature shift that indicated my first post-partum ovulation, followed by menstruation at 10 months. With my first lactation experience menstruation returned at 9 months.
I weaned our third child at 14 months in order to achieve pregnancy, which followed without a menstrual period in between.
With our fourth child, ovulation and menstruation again followed total weaning.
I nursed our fifth child longer, and I think my cycles returned at roughly 14 months post-partum.
I had lots of those long cycles with lots of mucus, and zig zaggy pre-ovulatory temperature charts, with short post-ovulatory phases. :-(
The next two lactations followed a similar pattern, although with Ben I was 43, and it seemed that it took longer for my cycles to become something approaching regular.
#5 JoAnn: (eighteen months, twenty months, twenty-one months, eighteen months)
After my first son's birth, I had 18 months of LAM. Got pregnant the next month with son #2, and had 20 months of LAM. Got pregnant the next month with son #3, and had about 21 months of LAM. Didn't get pregnant again for several months, but after our daughter, I had about 18 months of LAM. I don't know the rhyme or reason. None of them was a thumbsucker, and no one slept through the night for AGES. We also start solids pretty late (just following their lead, and they're slow to eat much).
All of mine have nursed at least two years, most longer. We have shared sleep since our first child was born. We didn't initially have him in bed with us, but we played musical beds with him constantly. :) With all subsequent children, they've been in our beds exclusively until past age 3. Worked easier for me (lazy mom!).
#6 Dana: (fifteen months)
I did Ecological Breastfeeding (the NFP definition) with my first, no nothing but the real thing! We napped together daily, slept together at night, stayed together all the time (I was a basket case mommy first time around), basically, he almost never left my presence, literally. My period came back at 12 months postpartum with an infertile cycle and my fertile cycles came back at 15 months and we conceived our second child. So basically I had 15 months of infertility, and had 3 months of
infertile ovulation. My LA cycles on the chart have luteal phases of 8 days or less. I did have more fertile type mucus and my period did precede my fertility returning.
#7 Lisa: (ten months, so far)
Here's my experience so far with lactational amenorrhea. My daughter is 10.5 months old and I have not had a return to menses yet. She has used a pacifier since she was about 3 months old, she's had 2-3 bottles of expressed breastmilk, but honestly, I was just too lazy to pump much more than that, and she hasn't had a bottle since she was about five months old.
My daughter started solids at about 7.5 months old, and has always been breastfeed on cue. She still nurses around every 3 hours during the day, though she has recently started going longer (4-5) hours between nursings on occasion. She nurses a lot at night, probably 3-5 times. We family bed, and I've always napped with her in the afternoons. I have left her three times for one hour each time, with my mother or my husband. I am hoping that my fertility will return without my daughter having to completely wean, since we hope to get pregnant again soon, but I don't want to cut the breastfeeding relationship with my daughter short.
#8 Susan: (seven months, twenty-five months (?), sixteen months, sixteen months, fifteen months)
I have used LAM to space my children and they are 25-34 months apart. My periods returned 7-14 months. The 7 months was because she did bottles too and therefore also weaned earlier. My #2 was really addicted to nursing and slept most of the night with me until she was almost 3 and weaned at 2 1/2. #3 is 34 months younger, weaned at 15 months and #4 came along 10 months later. #4 weaned at 18 months slept through the night earlier than the others and #5 was 25 months younger. At 17months #5 still nurses up a storm, my period returned 3months ago.
#9 Sara: (five months - working mom)
I experienced LAM until my daughter was almost 5 months old (3 days short of 5 months). Actually, I was hoping for as much LAM as possible, but under my own circumstances, I figured it wouldn't last very long. So, it seems like it would be easier to answer this question by stating what I did that shortened my LA.
I am a working mother, pumping two times a day and going home at lunch to feed my daughter. The pump doesn't seem to be as effective for me in delaying fertility. I was gone everyday from 7:45 am to noon and then from 1:15 to 5:00. I do co-sleep and up until a few weeks ago, my daughter was still waking every 1-2 hours at night for feeding. In the beginning she was taking a pacifier because after a couple of weeks my nipples were so sore that I used the pacifier for a bit of a break (she was nursing for 10 minutes every 30 minutes to an hour). She continued to use the pacifier, mostly for going to sleep, until she was about 6 months when she gave it up for good (she never much liked it, so my break from nursing wasn't much! She took it for the last couple months only from dad who is her primary caretaker during the day when I work). As far as other supplements, she didn't have anything other than breastmilk from me or expressed in a bottle until she was over six months old.
In the time until my first cycle, I experienced a few different times of fertile fluid. Once I had my first period, it was very easy to see that I had most likely ovulated about 10 days before that. I believe my first menses was preceded by ovulation, but I was not temperature charting (and still am not) so I'm not certain.
I found LAM to be easy and after my experience, I have transitioned well back into FAM. I would like to try all of the rules for LAM to see if I would experience a longer time without my cycle and compare the two experiences. I am curious to see if I could have a longer period of lactational amenorrhea if I followed more of the guidelines.
#10 Salli: (fourteen months, twenty-four months)
My fertility returns around fourteen months when nursing one child or the equivalent of one child (i.e. nursing a five year old and a baby; five year olds don't nurse enough to make a difference) and two years when nursing two.
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