Lactational Amenorrhea Experiences - 3

#21 Dawn: (eight months)

I gave birth to my daughter, Mary Beth, on May 24, 1999.  My postpartum nurse told me "breastfeeding isn't birth control!" and I accepted that as truth until my husband and I took a Natural Family Planning class 4 months later.  We learned about ecological breastfeeding when our daughter was 4 months old and started doing as many of the standards as we could.  I was taking a few college classes and was separated from Mary Beth for a few hours twice a week.  I pumped milk for her, and she had 2 bottles a week. We took her pacifier away, which she wasn't using very much anyway.  We also started doing the family bed to encourage Mary Beth to nurse at night (she was sleeping through the night at that time).  When I was with Mary Beth (which was most of the time), I breastfed her on cue, as I had been doing since she was born.  We waited until she was 6 months old to introduce solid food, but she didn't start eating it until she was 9 months old.  She's 11 months old now, and she still eats very little solid food.  We were taking daily temperature readings and mucus observations from the time Mary Beth was 4 months old, and there were no signs of fertility until my periods returned when she was 7 months old.  The first one was anovulatory, but I knew it was coming because I had a very noticeable mucus patch with 3 days of drying up (no thermal shift, though).  The second cycle was 64 days long and my temperatures indicated that I did ovulate, but I only had 7 days of elevated temperatures, so that probably wasn't a fertile cycle.  The third cycle was 40 days long, and again I ovulated, but I had only 8 days of elevated temperatures, so that probably wasn't a fertile cycle, either.  I'm currently in the middle of my fourth cycle.  I hope to do ecological breastfeeding from the very beginning when (and if!) the Lord blesses us with another baby.  I've really enjoyed my breastfeeding relationship with Mary Beth and plan on allowing it to continue for as long as she is interested.  I feel really lucky to know everything I do about breastfeeding because a lot of moms just find out by trial and error.

#22 Jessica: (fourteen months)

Just have to share this with you. I never weaned my children. I nursed my son until he decided to taper off. By his 18th month he was painlessly weaned and I was 4 months pregnant. My menses began right away after childbirth. Since I managed to conceive sooner than I had hoped, I guess my ovulation began again, too.

#23 Kelly: (eighteen months, eighteen months, and thirteen months)

Here is our experience with spacing so far.  We gave up BC when child #1 was 2 years 1 month.
Baby #1 - Baby #2, 3 years 3 months
Baby #2 - Baby #3, would have been 2 years 6 months but we lost to miscarriage
Baby #3 (lost to miscarriage) - Baby #4, 6 months
(Space between Baby #2 - Baby #4, 3 years 2 days)
Baby #4 - Baby # 5, 2 years 4 months

I nursed baby #1 over 2 years.  Baby #2, 18 months and Baby #4, 11 months (it would have been longer but we weaned because of illness).  My cycles returned in order 18mos/18mos/13mos.

I can't say there was anything particular that I did that encouraged the delay in my cycles.  My babies didn't take pacifiers because they wouldn't. All of them had some bottles.  #1 slept with me all the time, #2 sometimes, #3 rarely.  All of them started solids about 5 -6 months or so.

I am afraid I don't have any idea if I did or didn't ovulate before my cycles returned.

#24 Mary: (thirteen months, sixteen months, sixteen months, fifteen months, fourteen months, and sixteen months)

1st Baby: I was 22, our daughter born at 40 weeks weighed 6 lbs 10.5 oz. The labor was horrible and mismanaged, I was given morphine (against my will), phenegrine and demerol. She was fussy and nursed very often. We did not use a pacifier, or bottles. She slept with us until 9 or 10 months. At 5 months she started solids. She received  all of her fluids from me, until maybe 10 months when we started giving small amounts of water and juice in a cup. We were eager to have another child and weaned for a month just after her first birthday. A couple weeks later I had my first period and when my first child was 13 months, we conceived our second child. My daughter seemed to still really want to nurse, so we resumed nursing during the pregnancy.

2nd Baby: I was 23, our 2nd daughter was born at 38 weeks and weighed 7 lbs 6 oz after an epidural. I tandem nursed until she was 10 months.  She slept with me for the first 6 months.  I still sometimes would nurse her in the middle of the night and bring her to bed to nurse in the early morning hours so I could sleep longer after she slept in her own bed.  She started solids at 5.5 months. I had my first period when she was 15 months old, and ovulated 2 weeks later. At about 18 months I became pregnant, but lost the baby at 3 months. My daughter weaned around her second birthday.

3rd Baby: I was 26 when our son was born at 39 weeks weighing 7 lbs 2 oz, I  had an epidural. It was a little harder for him to get started, but he was soon nursing well. He slept with us until 10 months.  At 5 months he started solids. I had my first period at 14 months. I got pregnant during
my second cycle and lost the baby at 6 weeks. Within a month I was pregnant again. My son tandem nursed until he was almost 3.

4th Baby: At 28 I gave birth to our second son, no medication this time, at 39 weeks he was 8 lbs 4 oz. He was  a fussy baby and did not want to nurse as much as the other kids. He also slept less. We all survived and now he is a really sweet little boy. He started solids at 4 months. At 10 months he slept in his own bed. At 14 months I had my first period and soon was pregnant. My HCG (pregnancy hormone) was very low and I had lots of cramps. I only nursed my son once a day hoping that would help the new  baby. An ultrasound at 5.5 weeks showed what looked like a blighted ovum. The second ultrasound was even worse, we thought the baby was dead and we
were waiting to miscarry. I nursed frequently again. At 8 weeks our final ultrasound showed a healthy 8 week old baby. We were thrilled. I had severe morning sickness and weaned my son in the following weeks.

5th Baby: I was 31 when I had our 3rd son at 40 weeks. I took no medication during the birth and he weighed 7 lbs and 14 oz. We followed our usual pattern of frequent nursing. He slept with us until he was about 12 months. At 4.5 months he started solids. I donated breast milk to a hospital  from the time he was 4 months old until he was about 10 months. At 14 months I had a period and then got pregnant. I weaned him at 16 months.

6th Baby: Our third daughter was born when I was 33. She weighed 7 lbs 6 oz at 38 weeks. She started solids at 5 months and slept with us until 13 months. I donated milk from the time she was 2 months until she was 13 months. This was the only time I ovulated first. This happened at 16 months. I noticed fertile type cervical mucus, my husband looked even more handsome than normal and on the day of dry up I had several hours of crampy pain on one side. My period occurred 11 days later.

I nursed all of my babies (except my second son who did not want too) very frequently, much more often than the 8-12 times you often hear as being an average. It did not bother me to nurse often, I encouraged the babies to nurse when I was going to be sitting anyway reading, using the computer, talking on the phone, writing etc.. After they were eating solids, I would  sometimes go out without them for 2- 4 hours. When I was home they nursed more often than that. The first year almost all fluid received was breast milk. As the first birthday approached we would give small amounts of water and juice in a cup. The children were offered regular meals after 6 months, but did not have a big appetite for solids until after they were one. We did not use any formula or pacifiers. The little ones slept with us for several months, but during that time we had a crib set up so we could have some grown up time when we wanted. Five times my period returned before I ovulated, this last time I ovulated first. My cycles returned between 13 and 16.5 months. Our children are from almost 22 months to 37 months apart. There has been a lot of joy in parenting this way. While my kids are not perfect, they are loving, helpful people. They are good friends with each other and  always happy
to welcome a new baby.

#25 Bevin: (five months and six months so far)

With #1 I really don't remember, even though he weaned at 4 months (due to nipple confusion) I believe it was a good month or so after that that my periods resumed.

I am now nursing my 8 month old son, who eats 3 solid meals a day, still nurses every hour or 2 (sometimes every 15 minutes!) and nurses pretty solidly throughout the night (we family bed, so I'm not completely sure, but I know that he latches on at around 2 am and doesn't come off until at least 6 am!)  I have not used a pacifier with him at all (he wouldn't accept one of those plastic things) and he was exclusively breastfed for 6 months! Hope this helps someone!

#26 Jill: (ten to eleven months)

As I said I always start my cycle when the baby is 10 or 11 months and get pregnant the next month, so the cycle is fertile at that point for sure.

I do schedule feed, put my babies in their own room at 4 months, and they sleep all night by 3 months. I also use a pacifier if the baby likes one.  So the only thing I do to keep my cycle off is no other food or drink at all until I start my cycle.  I take my baby everywhere I go and never pump or
supplement.  I feed my baby every 4 hours all day once they are over 6 months old.  (Before then they eat every 2-3 hours). I think feeding my baby table food would bring back my cycle earlier.

We all  have to learn our bodies in this area and figure out what works individually because we are all so different.  Others may cycle early due to pacifiers, schedules, or supplementing.  Even stress and tiredness are factors.  There is no one way that works for everyone.

#27 Kristie: (fourteen months, twenty-four months)

I haven't had a period since 1993, and could totally tell when I started ovulating with all of my kids.  while tandem nursing it took longer than while nursing one... which makes total sense... and I was hardly separated.  Both of my kids weaned during this last pregnancy.. one was 4.5 years, and Nathan was 2.5 (I always thought that he'd wean at a younger age, I just was so used to Taylor being 4.5 that I thought I'd be closer to that age... can you believe that I thought he was young... ?)  I almost would get him to try and nurse.. more of a loss for me obviously than him...  I still ask sometimes.. he just says NO...  Oh well, I'm wondering since I'm only nursing one now if I'll be back to ovulating like I was with Taylor...  I took about 14 months to feel ovulation and then at 15 months I was pregnant with Nathan.. I ovulated only once that I can remember with and then got pregnant with my last (Connor) so it was exactly 24 months of tandem nursing... I'll be interested to see if
it goes back to the lower number.....

#28 Alison:  (four months, five months)

The longest amount of time I've experienced amenorrhea is this time:  going on five months.  Prior to that, the longest time was four months.  My period returned almost like clockwork when my previous four babies turned four months.

I nurse my babies many, many times during the day, and at least once at night.  I nurse when they are hungry, tired, cranky, hurt or in need of comfort.  They don't get bottles (I introduce a cup sometime
between six and nine months).  I delay solids as long as possible (again, sometime between six and nine months for introduction).  My husband and I sleep with our babies.  They never get a pacifier (three of them are or have been thumb-suckers).  After five babies, I don't always get a nap, but I try to nap with the baby when I can.

Usually I've noticed crampiness before I ovulate.  This time, for the past month, I've been feeling crampiness off and on.  So far, no period. With two pregnancies, I conceived the month after
menstruation resumed.

I would say that I would parent this way even if menstruation returned immediately.  It feels right, and my babies always thrive this way. Breastfeeding this way is, I believe, a gift from God to mother and baby. It forms a bond that is so amazing, I could never recommend it highly enough.

#29 Jennifer:  (eighteen months, twenty-seven months)

The first time was 18 months and second time was 27 months, before my fertility returned.

I did exclusive breastfeeding, delaying solid foods fior 10-12 months, no bottles, no pacifiers, no babysitters, co-sleeping, on demand breastfeeding, baby wearing, nap together.

I didn't notice any fertility signals before ovulation. Well, maybe more cervical mucus.

For sure the first time my first menses was preceeded by ovulation as I never had a menses, just got pregnant.  I do not know with my second. I did have two periods before we concieved again.

I ovulated the first time due to a stress to my body, that is the only reason it wasn't longer. I had a tattoo on my lower back and immediately ovulated. Stress causes you to have menses earlier. With my second, I was ill and drank 16 oz. of ginger juice. I think this too was a shock to my body.

#30 Joanne:  (four months, eleven months, eleven months) - working part-time

With my first child, I worked part-time and traveled but I did nurse him for the first year. My period started after only four months. I attributed that to missing his daytime feedings, even though I used a
breast pump when I was away at work. I think that breast pumps are great for those times when a mother needs to be away. However, I think that the used of a breast pump will interfere with using breastfeeding as a method of family planning.

With both my second and third children, I stayed home and nursed for over a year each. My periods started at eleven months for both. I feel that the introduction of solid food decreased my milk supply enough for my cycles to start again.

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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