#41 Cindy: (eight months, so far) - working mom
My daughter is now 8 months old and I have continued to experience lactional amenorreah. I still have no menstruation. I introduced some solids at 6 months. She nurses on demand while we're
together, but does have cereal twice a day while with my mother (her caregiver). She has used a pacifier ocassionally in the past, but has not been interested in it for about 3-4 months. I express my milk about every 2-3 hrs while I work an 8-hr shift 5 days/week. We co-sleep.
I have experienced LAM with my second child Katie now going on close to three years. This would have been great, except I had weaned her around her second birthday. I had seen my fertility signs begin to start a few months before her second birthday. My husband and I decided we really did want another baby, so we weaned her. The first couple months in continued amenoherrea were fine and explainable by the varied fertility return rate of 2 to 8 weeks cited by CCL's Art of Natural Family Planning. We had added consolation by Sheila Kippley's book. But when the amenoherrea lasted a year, we were concerned and sought the help of our OB/GYN.
Come to find out I had "high prolactin," Duh...I still had much milk in my breast. After much debate, my husband and I agreed that I needed to go on Parlodel or Dostinex to lower my prolactin. Given the great expense of the two drugs, we chose Parlodel. That frugal choice came with serious and sickening side effects. (FYI Parlodel is approx $80 for a month's supply and Dostinex is $250...Parlodel stays in the body for 14 hours and Dostinex 2-4 days.) Thus far a happy ending. After 15 days on the Parlodel I ovulated, had a very healthy 12 day Luteal Phase, and the most well received menstruation I have ever had in my life (also my worst!). Since my husband and I are wanting to have another child, we expressed to the doctor that the birth defect and problems associated with getting pregnant while on Parlodel were unacceptable. I used it for one month, then
discontinued it against the wishes of my doctor. My first cycle "parlodel-free" we conceived! Our third child is due Sept. 13, 2001. We could not be more excited or thrilled.
#42 Amy: (seven months to nineteen months)
I think I am a rare case in that I do not get my cycles back at ALL until I stop nursing completely. At least that has been my experience so far. I have 4 children. The shortest nursing time was 7 months and the longest so far was 19 months. I am hoping to go AT LEAST 2 years with this one who is 15 months. After my first and second I never did get a period. I must have become pregnant after the first ovulation upon cessation of nursing. After the third I got my period back about 2 weeks after completely weaning I think. At that time I think we used condoms to prevent a pregnancy for awhile. When we stopped using them I still didn't become pregnant for 9 months.
There was nothing I did to keep my cycles at bay. With the first I used a pacifier a lot and the next 3 not much if at all. Right now there is a 6 hour gap between one of the feedings during the day and I still don't have my cycles. Sometimes she goes all night without nursing. The boys nursed every 2 hours the ENTIRE time I nursed 24 hrs a day.
I thought I would share my experience with the return of fertility. I have 7 children, and the return of fertility has been different with each one. I found that, for me, the best indicator of the return of fertility before I received my first postpartum period was to keep checking my cervix. I didn't learn how to do this until after my fifth baby. By then, I figured it just HAD to be there somewhere! HA! Once I learned how to check, I could tell the difference between fertile and infertile signs. I preferred doing this instead of taking my temperature for months and months and months, not knowing if it was going to change that month. Once I received my first period, then I resumed charting with the temperature taking and all.
#44 Amy: (sixteen months, thirteen months, ten months, and twelve months)
This is what I have experienced in regards to lactational amenorrhea: After first baby--16 months without a cycle, after 2nd--13 months w/o a cycle, after 3rd child--10 months without a cycle, and
after 4th I didn't get a cycle, but conceived around his first birthday.
The funny thing is, that I had the longest amenorrhea with the first child, and he is the only one who has used a pacifier and started solids earlier--at around six months of age. He even had a bottle (Playtex nurser) with my expressed milk 2 evenings a week when he was between 2-3 months old.
This was because my husband and I had gone back to our dinner cruise music job part time for about a month, and then tourist season ended for the year. The others have not shown much interest in solids until between 8-9 months old. I have always nursed on demand and the babies sleep with us until they are weaned.
The first two boys nursed for 25 months each, being weaned four months into the next pregnancy. Our daughter weaned at 18 months. I was already five months pregnant with our 4th child and the milk seemed to dry up then, so she quit. The baby is now 15 months old and still nursing and I am three months along with the fifth pregnancy.
I do not have real obvious symptoms of ovulation. Before I had children, my "fertile mucus" was usually a good indicator, but I don't seem to have it like I used to. I do not know if I ovulated before my cycles returned with the older children or not, but I guess I did this time!
#45 Willena: (two and one half months, five months, ten to twelve months, twelve months, twelve months, twelve months, and twelve months)
My first baby was born when I was 29 1/2. I had flat nipples, which I didn't know until after Irene was born. This, coupled with the baby's lack of natural ability to latch on correctly, was the perfect combination for failure in the nursing relationship. I had big cracks on both sides, and a breast infection which turned into an abscess when the baby was four weeks old. I *still* had flat nipples. End of nursing relationship. I started my period when Irene was 2 1/2 months old.
James was born when Irene was 18 months. Nursing went much better this time, once I learned about correct positioning. James was a natural from day one, with a good, strong latch on. He was sleeping through the night by 6-7 weeks, going ten hours or so without nursing. He never used a soother, though he did suck on his fingers a lot at 3-4 months. Because he was so young, we didn't realize he was teething. His first two teeth appeared when he turned 4 months old. Although James had no solids until he was 6 1/2 months, I started my period just 5 months after the birth. I also got strep throat. Was there was a connection there? I think so. My body got the message that the baby did not need me so much and my cycles could therefore resume. Yet this big, 18 pound baby was still getting *all* his nutrition from me. My body was not strong enough to do both, and it lowered my resistance to infection. I decided that if I had another child, I would nurse "on demand" a lot longer, and not encourage the baby to go on a rigid schedule at all. James was 3 1/2 the last time he nursed. By that time he was not nursing more than 2-3 times a week.
Raewyn was born when James was 2 1/2. I nursed Raewyn on demand, day and night, until she was well-established on solids at around 9 months. She was adamantly against *anything* but breastmilk until she was 7 1/2months, and I didn't want to rush her because of allergies on both sides of the family. My cycles returned when Raewyn was 10-12 months. (Can't remember exactly.) Like James, she was 3 1/2 the last time she nursed.
Vicki was born when Raewyn was 20 months. Vicki was somewhat of a high-needs baby, and slept tummy-to-tummy with me for the first 12 months of her life. I tried repeatedly to start her on solids from 7 months. But every time I did, she would get sick or develop a diaper rash that would not go away no matter what I did. Vicki was 12 months before she could tolerate any solids. My cycles returned when she was about 12 months. She was just under 2 1/2 when she weaned.
Andrew was born when Vicki was 3 years 9 months; I was 38. Andrew was nursed on demand until he was around 9 months. He did use a pacifier from 2 months, but not often. He rejected it when he was 6 months. He started solids at 6 1/2 months, and my cycles returned 12 months after the birth. He was 21 months when he weaned.
Timothy was born when Andrew was 24 months; I was 40. Timothy was a robust eater, just like James, only he did not work himself onto a schedule. He was fed on demand until around 9 months, by which time he had been on solids for 2 months or so. My cycles returned a year after the birth. Timothy was four, the last time he nursed.
We learned a lot between our first two babies. No bottles, no solids until after six months, no pacifiers (except Andrew), frequent feeding around the clock, sleeping with baby in our bed, mom not being separated from baby. All of these were true for the five babies following our first. Then came Nathaniel.
Nathaniel was born when Timothy was 6 years old, and I was 46. This was after my cycle had come month after month for five long years, and we had all but given up hope of ever having another baby.
Nathaniel has a different breastfeeding story. Although he was 9 pounds 7ounces at birth, he was six ounces *below* that at 4 weeks. We don't know why. He was typical of our other babies in every way, except that he was sleepy during his first week, and he never nursed a long time at most feedings. He was a snacker. He still is, in fact, at 14 months. Anyway, this put the doctor into a
panic. She gave me absolutely no latitude -- the baby had to be put on formula supplementation, and exactly according to her specifications, under threat of apprehension of the baby if we didn't do it her way. I might add here that low weight gain was the *only* thing "wrong" with him. He was developing quite well in every other way, and was by no means a "failure to thrive" baby.
Long story short, the next three months were a nightmare. By the second week of formula supplements, Nathaniel liked the bottle too well, and I had to work *very* hard to nurse him lots, to build up my milk supply, without cutting him off the formula and thereby possibly losing him. Public health nurses came to our home to weigh Nathaniel -- twice a week, then once a week, then twice a month, until he was 7 months. Only twice during that time did he show more than 2-3 ounce weight gain in a week. The day he turned 7 months, the doctor called off the weighings and declared him perfectly normal, just tiny.
Perseverance in breastfeeding paid off. Nathaniel thoroughly rejected the bottle at 4 months, and was almost totally breastfed till 8 1/2 months. I say "almost," because all through those months I had to keep trying to give him solids or the doctor would be threatening again. But he never *wanted*
anything but mama's milk for the longest time.
Despite our fragile nursing relationship, and Nathaniel's frequent nursing due to his continuing tendency to be a snacker, my cycles returned when he was 12 months. He never used a pacifier, has always slept in our bed, and is never separated from me. Today he still nurses frequently and is still
tiny -- 28 1/2in. long, 17 1/2 lb, at 14mo. Since I am now 47, Nathaniel is probably (but *not* necessarily) my last baby, I hope he will continue nursing for a good long time.
I have never had any clue that my cycles were about to start. It's more like my cycle would return, and I could look back and say, yes, I did stop nursing the baby quite so frequently about a month or two before I started.
#46 Kim (22months, 24 months, 30 months and 5 months and counting)
All four children have exclusively nursed for the first six to seven months and then began offering some solids. They all have slept with us and none have slept through the night before 18 months with any consistency. Children numbers two and four are big time thumb or finger suckers. Child number one also took a pacifier some. All of the weanable children were weaned around 30 months of age. I did work some with the first child but had access to a large hospital grade pump which was a
I always said that I would never nurse a child who could ask to do so. In the end, I would tell you that my favorite thing about nursing, is feeding a toddler. I love that they can ask to nurse, it is such a sweet special time to spend with them.
I have always had very regular ovulation and periods. Ovulation was obvious each time before beginning my first postpartum period. I have never purposely tried to use nursing to avoid fertility but have enjoyed the fact that I have only had nine periods in the last 10.5 years and six of those were last year!
I have always attributed my lengthy lactational amonorrhea to several things; solely breastfeeding on demand, children that do not sleep through the night, and my weight pattern. With each child I have had the same weight pattern. I am 5'3 and weigh about 108-110 at each conception. With each pregnancy I have gained 24-30 pounds. During nursing I will get down to about 97 pounds and will stay there until eventually I slowly gain back to 104 pounds and then I will ovulate again. I have wondered if my lowered body fat range is also suppressing fertility?
#47 Gayesy (thirty-one months)
I experienced lactational amenorrhea about 31 months!
Thomas and I were hardly separated at all, sleeping alongside one another etc. He did use a pacifier very briefly as my milk supply was getting too much due to his almost constant suckling (I was happy for him to suckly constantly but I was making too much milk and he ended up very colicky and with reflux, so for a brief period, we used a pacifier for maybe a few minutes here and there over a period of a few months). He had a few bottles of EBM when I was very ill but apart from that, he nursed around the clock and very frequently. Even at about 2 1/2, he was still nursing about 10-12 times during the daytime and about 2-3 times during the night (as a newborn he nursed ALL night, and I mean literally, if the breast came out of his mouth, he woke up screaming!). It was when he changed to only one nighttime nurse that I first got my "period" back, although I didn't ovulate until he stopped nursing during the night altogether several months later (and was down to about 4-5 daytime nurses as well) He started solids at about 4 1/2 months due to his reflux, but only ever had small amounts and didn't eat a large quantity at all until he was well over two. (He is still nursing now at 3 yrs and 10 months, but usually only once or twice a day)
I didn't really notice any fertility signals that let me know I was about to ovulate, except as I said, I got my anovulatory bleeding for a few months first, so I knew it could happen any time and was actually charting temps and mucous from when I got the first bleed. When Thomas's nursing decreased further, I pretty much expected things to return.
I had anovulatory bleeding for three or so cycles before I ovulated, and then I only ovulated every once in a while. My luteal phase was only 10 days. I am not sure what it was before having Thomas, because wasn't so "informed" about it back then and haven't kept my charts.
I was not breastfeeding in order to suppress ovulation, and in fact, would kind of have liked it to return sooner. Having said that, it was great not having periods for so long!! The reason I breastfed on demand and for so long is because I believe it is best for the child and I really believe in child-led weaning.
#48 Jennifer (fifteen months, six months so far)
I had 15 months of amenorrhea with my first child and currently 6 months with my second and still going.
I did exclusive breastfeeding, with no bottles or pacifiers, co-sleeping, taking a daily nap together, and not being separated.
I noticed crampiness when my period returned with my first.
#49 Erica (thirty months)
I had approximately 24 months of lactational amenorrhea with my daughter, with a further 6 months of infertile periods, until I became pregnant after an abrupt weaning.
I read Sheila Kippley's Natural Child Spacing book while I was pregnant and decided to practice Ecological Mothering/Attachment Parenting. I breastfed exclusively, on demand, for both food and comfort. My daughter was a frequent feeder and stayed 'attached' to the breast for long periods of time. I tried never to 'detach' her if at all possible. She was always with me, and on my body most of the time. She never had bottles or pacifiers, slept with me, we had naps and baths together, and I massaged her frequently. She started tasting solids at 7 months, but only gradually started eating more. It wasn't until 24 months that she ate bigger quantities, 'good sized' meals, and all of a sudden her breastfeeding felt like a 'drink', and food became her main nourishment. I offered water, but she didn't drink it much until around 20 months. At around 18 months my daughter started sleeping on a single bed pushed up against our double bed for some of the night. During the next few months I gradually asked her to wait more during the day when it was an inconvenient time to nurse, and I would carry a snack and water bottle when we were out, and sometimes this substitute would satisfy her until I could breastfeed her later. I also started asking her to shorten a feed more often, and during the night I would sometimes detach her once she was sound asleep and put her back into her single bed. Just before 24 months I tried putting her in her own room for a couple of nights, and consequently she fed less on those nights. But it was too tiring for me so I brought her back to sleep next to me.
My breasts suddenly looked smaller after my daughter turned 2, I started feeling less hungry, and I got very thirsty for a few days. So I started taking my temperature again, and within a week or two after these signs I saw an ovulatory rise in temperature followed by a period. But the luteal phase was very short, and it only gradually increased in length during the next few periods, none of them being long enough for fertility until I had to wean abruptly at 30 months. With the next cycle after weaning I became pregnant. So I'm not sure how long my infertile cycles would have lasted if I hadn't had to wean.
In relation to the body size theory: I'm 175cm (5 feet, 9 inches) tall but of medium build (69kg). I wouldn't call myself plump or thin, just in the middle, some fat on me, not that much muscle.
#50 Hannah (nineteen months)
I experienced 19 months of lactational amenorrhea.
We had frequent nights feeds right up until she stopped nursing at 2 years 4 months
I had a 3 day light bleed in Jan (19 months after birth) and started charting then. Nothing again until 3 day light bleed in March which was followed by first ovulation 14 days later. First full proper period 2 weeks after that. Nothing then for 4 weeks until second ovulation around the end of May and concieved this baby!
It worked as excellent child spacing, although number 4 wasn't actually planned! (Not till a bit later anyway)
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