Lactational Amenorrhea Experiences - 2

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#11 Kathleen: (sixteen months, fifteen months so far)

With babies 1 through 3, I began my period with an ovulatory cycle, determined through mucus and middelwhatchmacallit [mittelschmertz], and got pregnant very quickly. With baby four I weaned him at 16 months and my period started a month later. Baby five is still nursing at 15 months and no period in sight. I have had a moderate amount of clear stretchy mucus for the last 7 months and always think I must be about to ovulate but it never happens!

I breastfeed exclusively, with the occasional pumped bottle for five or six months. Usually by nine months or so they eat fair amounts of solid food and only nurse for naps, bedtime, and comfort. This little Kellman is not a big eater, which is why I think I have not started my period yet. I would say nursing is still his main sustenance. It is nice, because my husband and I are not in agreement about more children. I want more and he doesn't. So there is no pressure now to worry about it, since there is no chance of it happening right now. I can rest easy and hope and pray God is using this time to work on his heart, or mine as the case may be.

#12 Sally: (not included)

I did exclusive breastfeeding until they demanded food; that varied from about six months to ten months with my kids. I would get a large, very large, amount of mucus about two weeks to ten days before ovulation.  When my two big kids were just little kids I was scheduled to give a talk on lactation amenorrhea at the New York State East La Leche League conference. My youngest was just two years old and I got that heavy flow of mucus.  I figured my period would return at the LLL conference.  Now we had no car since we lived in NYC and we were traveling on the train and our kids were still practically luggage themselves. So luggage space was at a premium but I was so convinced that I packed all the stuff for my period to return at that conference and by Jove, return it did. Generally my first menses was preceded by an ovulation, but not the last time.  I think the further post partum you are the more likely you are to have an ovulatory first menses.  The last time I had two anovulatory cycles but I do believe it was due to my advanced age (smile).

#13 Helen: (nineteen months)

My daughter was exclusively breastfed for 5-1/2 months, at which time she started solids, but still continued to nurse frequently, including at night.  (At nine months old, she was nursing every 1-2 hours at night.)  She has always slept with me at night.  She only stopped nursing during the night after I became pregnant again, and started giving her a snack at night instead of nursing.  This was at age 2-1/2.  She is a petite little thing, like I was, and I think she still needed the calories at nighttime.  She still nurses during the day now, despite my milk being dried up due to pregnancy.  She has never had pacifiers.  She rarely had a bottle of expressed breastmilk during the first year, no other bottles.  She was never a thumb sucker.  Were were separated on 2-3 occasions, but I don't think for more than 2-3 hours.  I never laid down with her to take a nap, but for the first 6-12 months she mostly only napped in my arms or the sling anyway.

My first menses, at 19 months postpartum, was not preceded by ovulation.  I probably did not ovulate until a couple of cycles later, though I might have on the first cycle after the first period, followed by an anovulatory cycle.  I had mucous patches for about 7 months preceding the first menses, but didn't chart a lot of it because the mucous was just in patches, and the temperatures were erratic.  My normal luteal phase, before this baby, was always 12-13 days.  After my cycles resumed with this baby, while still nursing, my luteal phase started out at about 3 days.  It gradually lengthened out, being 10 days by my 8th cycle after menses returned.  I did not conceive until my 11th cycle.

#14 Michelle:  (Twelve months, twenty months, twenty months)

#1  Demand nursing.  Offered pacifier at first but he didn't want it.  Did suck thumb though.   Tried solids starting at 4 months but he balked.  He took Cheerios from 6-9 months and started really eating at 9 months.  Started juice in a cup at 4 months.  Wouldn't take bottles.  Self weaned to cup at 13 months.   "Ferberized at 6 weeks.  :o(  Although at some point he started waking once a night again and I would nurse him.
#2  Demand nursing.  Pacifier on occasion for 6-8 weeks, then nothing.  Started solids at 6 months.  Started using cup at the same time.   Took about 10 bottles ever.  Slept through the night at 10 months.  Self weaned at 20 months.
#3 "Ad-lib" nursing.  (Same as before, but by now I think that sounds better.  <g>)  Absolutely no pacis, bottles, etc.  Started solids at 11 months.  Took sips of water (no juice ever) from cup about that time.  Night nursing.  Nurses to sleep, then put in crib till he wakes and comes to our bed.

Mittelschmertz and changes in cervical mucus let me know that I was about to ovulate.  I did not ovulate prior to my first menstruation.  I definitely prefer mothering the way I do now to the first and second times around.  My baby is much healthier and happier.  :o)

Update 9/24/00

My period returned when he was 20 months old.  It was the only one I would have.  I did not have another period but got pregnant two months later.  At that point, my toddler was still a nursing fiend! <g>  Day and night.  With the sensitivity (pain) of nursing at this point, I would sometimes ask him to wait when he wanted to nurse and suggest something else that we could do.  (Read a book, play outside, etc.)  He cut back to about 4 times a day and once or twice a night now at 26 months.

Update 1/14/02

My toddler self weaned right around his third birthday and I spotted very lightly for two days about a week later.  Cycles did not resume.

My baby is now 7½ months and nursing exclusively.  We co-sleep and she nurses when she wants on no apparent schedule at all.

#15 April:  (six months, nine months so far)

With my first daughter, I nursed her when she wanted to nurse, which was about every 3 hours.  She did take a pacifier because I have an overactive letdown and she could not comfort nurse.  She started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks old.  We did not co-sleep.  I often expressed milk to give to her in bottles, as I was too shy to nurse in public.  I introduced baby food between 4 and 5 months, but I was also weaning her at this time.  Her last nursing was the day she turned 5 months old, and my period, returned 6 weeks later.

With my second, I also nursed at baby's request, which also fell about every three hours.  She also took a pacifier for same reason, but refused to ever take a bottle.  She began to sleep through the night at 12 weeks.  But, I went on the pill when she was 3 months old which brought my periods back, and weaned her at 10 months, before I was off of the pill.  So, my experiences with her have no bearing on the question.

My 3rd dd is now 9.5 months.  I gave her a pacifier at birth, but she abandoned it at two months in favor of her two middle fingers.  (And it looks really cute, too.)  She gets expressed milk in bottles
occasionally.   She also nurses at her request, started at every two hours, now is every 3-4 hours.  She began sleeping through the night at 5 weeks old in her own bed, but got a cold at 5 months and started waking to nurse at night.  I brought her to our bed at 5 months, when the night feedings resumed.

She slept in our bed from 5 months until she was 7.5 months old, at which time she quit settling back to sleep after nursing.  She wanted to play, instead.  Now she is 9.5 months old.  She nurses 5-6 times during the day, and 1-2 times at night.  She eats baby and table foods 3-4 times each day.  She still sucks her fingers, and sleeps in a crib in her own room.

I have never had a period resume while nursing, yet.  Since I plan to nurse my current baby for awhile, I expect my cycles will resume while nursing.  I have no signs of it right now, though.  My children have spent time with babysitters once a month, if that.  But, they do go to the church nursery when they are 6-8 weeks old.  I am a stay at home mom, and most of our outings are family outings.

I don't nap with my babies.  I don't wear them in slings, except when on an outing.  I DO hold them when they are upset or fussy.  But, I do use cribs, swings (when very little), walkers until they learn to scoot, and bouncie seats, until they learn to play with rattles.  Once they become mobile, I put swings, walkers, and bouncy seats away.

So, although I nurse when baby requests to, it is usually at a predictable time.  I know I do not fulfill all the requirements for "Exclusive breastfeeding", but I am still experiencing lactational amenorrhea at 9.5 months.

#16 Mireille: (one month)

I was expecting my fifth child, and as a teacher couple of the NFP method I was introduced to LAM, and taught the method.  So after the birth of my daughter, I fully breastfed, No pacifiers, bottles, or other feedings. I did not bleed.  Within two months of her delivery, I was pregnant again! Why?  Because she slept through the night.  Some really important criteria, which was left out of my training, and I learned later from the main office, was that there has to be at least 6 feedings during a day, and no more than 6 hours between feedings, or it is possible for fertility to resume.  Had I known that criteria, I would have never gone on the LAM method, because ALL of my children slept through the night from birth.  I am one of those rare percentage that cannot use the LAM method.  Please be aware of us extremely fertile ladies. After the birth of this new surprise addition
to our family, my husband and I chose to await the return of our cycles, before resuming intimacy during the definitely infertile period.

#17 Rachael:  (thirteen months, fifteen months)

India.... my first child.  I breastfed her until she was 18 months.  She was on a loose schedule from an early age, i.e. she had a certain number of feeds a day.  She slept completely throughout the night from 5 weeks on!!!   She had a pacifier for the first 6 weeks of her life (we call them dummies in Australia!).  She started solids around 4 to 5 months.  She did not sleep with us, no need really when she stopped night feeding at 5 weeks.  Basically you would expect my cycles to return earlier rather than later because of this information and yet my first period was when she was 13 months. second child.  She was truly a hopeless breast feeder, she just didn't seem interested.  I have never come across another baby who didn't love it.  I  could only feed her in a dark room for very short periods of time and only if she was happy.  If she was upset or annoyed or excited she
would refuse to feed.  I had whole days when she was a small baby when she refused to feed at all!  This was quite frightening.  I put her on solids when she was 4 months old because I  was so concerned about her weight (she was a skinny baby).  The total number of feeds per day was very small.  She slept through the night from 8 weeks until she was 5 months old.  Then she refused to feed through the day at all and I started feeding her at night instead.  She had a pacifier until she was 3 months old.  I managed to feed her until she was 12 months old and then she weaned herself (I had prayed that she would make it until 12 months and God answered my prayer!)  She was on maybe one or two feeds a day at this point.  My periods returned when she was 15 months old.

Neither of my girls have ever had a bottle, they used a cup from 6 or 7 months.

So far I always know when I ovulate, even if it has been two years since the last time such as with Holly.  2 to 3 days before ovulation I  experience a big increase in my mucous discharge and this is a sign to me that it is going to happen soon.  On the actual day of ovulation I experience pain like period cramps on just one side of my body, I assume this is the side the egg is being released from.

#18 Laurie:  (twelve months, eleven months, twelve months so far)

Breastfeeding has delayed ovulation for me naturally twice.  The first time, I began having periods again when my first daughter was around twelve months old.  I had two, maybe three, and then we conceived our second daughter when my first was 14 months old.  The second time, I began having
periods when my second daughter was about eleven months, and I had about three periods again before we conceived our third daughter.  We did not abstain from sex at any time.

While I was not specifically trying to keep my fertility from returning, I did do quite a few things that I've read can delay ovulation, just because they felt like the right thing to do.  Like, I exclusively breastfed my first daughter for the first four months.  That means, no bottles of anything (not water, not formula, not breastmilk), no pacifiers, no solids, no cereal, nothing.  Then at four months I was over-eager for my first to grow up, and gave her less than an ounce of baby food a week for the "fun" of it.  She showed the signs of readiness that La Leche League had taught me: sitting up unassisted, didn't spit it out or gag, reached for the food herself, digested it well, etc.  By the way, I changed my mind about the wisdom of that idea later on.

We also co-slept every night of my first daughter's life.  When I say co-sleeping I mean that we slept in the same bed.  Sometimes she slept on top of me, sometimes she slept right next to me, skin to skin, and sometimes she slept a foot or two away.  She always had unrestricted access to the
breast, no matter what position we slept in.  I only ever left her with husband until she was over the age of three, and only did that on the very rare (maybe half an hour a month) occasion, like to take a shower.  We didn't take daily naps, but when we did nap it was often together.

I also exclusively breastfed my second daughter, this time for the first nine months, and after that only tiny bits of table food a few times a week until she was eleven months old.  We also never gave her bottles or pacifiers, and she co-slept with us every night of her life, with unrestricted access to the breast like her sister. Both my daughters nursed numerous times in the night, varying in number at different stages.  More frequently -- like eight to eleven times a night -- during growth spurts or
teething episodes, and less frequently -- like once to get to sleep and once upon waking -- in between.  I have kept the same pattern of no separation except for tiny stints with dad with my second daughter, who just turned three too.

I am currently exclusively nursing my third daughter, who turns a year old this week, and my periods have not yet returned.  We have done all the same things, co-sleeping, no separation, and delaying solids till about nine months and only feeding her small bits of table food as she indicates a desire then.  With all three of my daughters I used a sling type carrier, sometimes around the house and quite frequently on outings.  This seems significant to me since it allowed me to give all three completely free access to the breast when we were away from home.  I always nursed my children when they indicated the need -- with or without a sling.  At the grocery store while loading and unloading my cart, at the mall while walking around, even on long trips in the car my husband would drive and I would sit along side my babies and lean over the carseat to nurse them.

My second two conceptions were both preceded by a period, though I never charted or did anything else to confirm the anovulatory phase.  We have always been sexually active though, and never used birth control, so I'm fairly convinced that my ovulation has been suppressed for about a year all three times.  My ovulation seems to have been preceded by a period every time.

#19 Chris:  (fifteen months)

I experienced 15 months of lactational amenorrhea.  No bottles, no pacifiers, slept together, took daily nap together, no babysitters until 2 years old, no schedules, nursing for food and comfort,
all sucking at the breast.  I feel my ovulations, so I knew when I ovulated. My first menses was preceded by ovulation. I seem to be one of the women sensitive to hormones, because even with my scheduled, frequent bottle babies, I did not get my periods back until they were weaned (at six months).  I would still do everything the same even if I got my periods back early because I believe this is the natural way to parent a child.

#20 Nikki:  (eleven months, eighteen months, twenty-two months, twenty-two months, and nineteen months)

After my first:  11 months (weaned at 13 months conceived again at 20 months) I worked part-time, and was rather scheduled with this baby--also listened to the doctor who said, well, you know, she really doesn't  need breastmilk after a year!  What sorry advice!
After 2nd:  18 months (force-weaned at 16 months, conceived again when this child was 2 years 11 months old.)
After 3rd:  22 months (weaned at 28 months, conceived again at 30 months)
After 4th:  22 months (weaned at 3 years 3 months; nursed through pregnancy and tandem nursed 3 months after having conceived again when this child was 29 months old)
After 5th:  19 months (not currently weaned at almost 23 months; I am 6 weeks pregnant at this time).  I had two periods, one Christmas Eve and one Feb. 4th--ovulated about  Feb.28th and that was it!

I breastfeed exclusively until they have at least 4 teeth--however long that takes!  Since it is not really possible to bite off or chew food with less, I take at least 4 teeth as a sign from God that this particular child is ready for food.

The only child I ever used a pacifier with was my 3rd, and then only for 3-4 months.  He was a very "sucky" baby, and after feeding would want to continue to suck, just for comfort to fall asleep, etc.  But when the milk would let down again he would get very angry!  That was NOT what he wanted at all!  So after nursing him thoroughly I would use a pacifier for napping.  My children have all slept in a bassi"nest" and then a crib, until they wake for the first night feeding.  Then they go between us in bed and if I don't wake to put them back, so be it. I night-nurse until they are about 18 months, then I say, no feeding from sleep-time until daylight! I am big on naps, trying to get one a day if pregnant and until a baby is at least 4-6 months old.  I make older kids lie down with me (up until about age 5) and sing to them. I take the baby EVERYWHERE with me until they are nearly a year old, but
sometimes I take JUST the baby, and leave the older kids home with dad or my oldest.  If the baby needs to nurse while I'm grocery shopping, for example, I go sit on a bench and cover the baby with a little blanket and nurse it.  Then I go back to shopping.

I usually have clear signals before I ovulate.  I always notice a good amount of a clear, slick discharge (like thick egg whites) and within a day or so, "mittelschmertz" which is the term for mid-cycle cramps.  It lasts about a day, then after a couple more days my breasts will be tender, and when that passes it is about a week to my period.  My cycles usually are 5 weeks, but the longer phase is BEFORE ovulation (this would be true for most women with long cycles), since the hormonal pattern set into motion by ovulation almost always takes 13-15 days.

Yes, my first menses was preceded by ovulation most of the time.  In fact I was sure I ovulated a couple months, and did not get a period, before my menses resumed this last time.  Like perhaps the baby had slacked off nursing enough to allow ovulation, but the resumed nursing enough to stave the period.

When my periods resume, they are usually "slow" to get back on track.  By this I mean my first two or three might be as much as 6 or 7 weeks apart, but "Normal" for me is 5 weeks, and then bleeding 6 1/2-7 days.

I might add too, that I do not enjoy nursing while pregnant, and particularly do not like tandem nursing, but did not want to pressure my very sensitive 4th child into weaning.  The one I am nursing now does not appear to be ready to wean, but I am not that sore yet, and maybe the milk production will slack off during the pregnancy.  (Who knows? not me!!)

I feel that a lot of the breast cancers today have been caused by the "feminist" lifestyle--
1)  Birth control pills
2)  Delayed childbearing
3)  Few pregnancies
4)  Lack of lactation
5)  Smoking
6)  Use of dietetic substances (artificial sweeteners are highly suspected)
7)  Job-related stress

When a woman's body is used as God intended, that is, to bear children and nurture them, her breasts may experience hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle only a few times, followed by a "rest" of pregnancy, which is in turn followed by a "cleansing" of lactation--sometimes for a year or more!  It is a known fact that the more children a woman bears and nurses, the less her chance of ever having breast cancer.

On the other hand, bc pills, with their artificial hormones, or even other methods of family "planning" (which usually means PLANNING NOT to have a family) expose a woman's breasts to month after month of hormonal changes--sometimes for YEARS on end--without ever being used for their natural function.  Must be really tough on the system.

If you would like your lactational amenorrhea experience included on this webpage, please send us an e-mail  with the details. 

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