FREAKING OUT about NFP- reassure me!


My husband and I were not raised Catholic. We were raised in a “birth control is your friend” Presbyterian climate.

We converted when our second was almost a year, but hadn’t been using chemical b/c for the entire length of our marriage. We’d been using a hybrid of the calendar method (yeah “pull out” method and had no unplanned pregnancies for the entire time we’d been sexually active.

Now, here we are, no NFP training, me breastfeeding baby no. three, with no sign of my cycle returning, and feeling a bit…trepidatious. We’re completely open to more children, and are, in fact, looking forward to more, but have no idea how to go about delaying that happy day. Our youngest isn’t even 6 weeks old yet!

I was just reading over the ins and outs of NFP, temps, cervical mucus, feeling one’s own cervix, and I’m freaking out. How can we keep track of all this? What can we do if we’re starting out while I’m breastfeeding?

I know we need to take a class, and we will; I’m just having a moment of panic, that there’s simply too much information for me to keep track of. I have insomnia- I get up all the time at night to wander- when do I take my temp? I get the whole cervical mucus bit, but I’ve never in my life felt my own cervix, how do I know I’ve reached it? Argh! Help!


I practice the Creighton Model, which is mucus only. It’s verrrrrrry simple and easily used when breastfeeding. I would go that route if taking temps and cervix position is too much to handle. But, everyone has their own preference.


Well, since you have not currently taken a class, I would suggest downloading the 15-day trial of the Taking Charge of Your Fertility Software. Take your temperature every morning before you get up and before 730. Take a minute every couple of hours and see how you feel in your panties (dry v wet) and when you wipe after using the toilet, observe to see if you have an mucus. All of this can be noted on the software.
Other people on here will be able to help you more. And Ovusoft offers a message board :slight_smile:
Good luck and welcome to the wonders of NFP!


Oh, Cari, it’s very simple! Really! Check out this website. They have a simple book you can chart on where all your info is on a page. You don’t have to remember anything. You just each day make a few notations and you realize very quickly there is a definite pattern to your fertility. I am all for the temperature/mucous crosscheck of the Sympto-Thermal method, because with sickness and other issues, CM can be confusing or inconclusive sometimes. The temperature crosscheck is a definitive reassurance that one is in the infertile time after ovulation. (Three days of raised temperatures.) Because the ovum only lives three days after ovulation, once your temps have been up three days, on the fourth day, to be very sure, you can then start intercourse and do that until your next cycle starts.

You take your temp when your alarm goes off at the same time each morning. Really not difficult. Lie in bed for a few minutes and you have your reading for the day. Your cervix is where you expect it to be. Up there. Yes. You can find it with a finger. It feels like the top of a pear with an indentation. You’ll know it when you find it. It’s the only thing up there! And it rises and falls and opens and closes with fertility. And when your temperatures are elevated .4 degrees, and your cervical mucous has dried up, and your cervix is low, easy to reach,and firm like the tip of your nose, and closed tighter than a drum, you KNOW you are absolutely infertile.

Pretty soon it all becomes very natural to check throughout the day as you use the bathroom.

I know breastfeeding makes things uncertain, but they have rules for monitoring fertility and the return of fertility after childbirth. Usually the temps will be up and down and no pattern. And so one checks the mucous and it can come and go also.

Don’t be intimidated! It’s just making note and actually writing on a chart you can order stuff that you’ve observed all your life, but just never knew the meaning of. (Like, I finally found out why I was always cold right before AF came. It’s because my basal body temp crashed, and then I knew to be prepared for it.)


My husband and I use Billings. It is SO EASY! It is mucous-only; you don’t have touch anything you wouldn’t normally be touching. Honestly, I spend a maximum of five minutes per day even worrying about it; it’s that simple.

Check it out!


Here’s an online learning site for the sympto thermal method

Here are links to the “big 3” NFP methods:

A source for finding some NFP only dr’s and teachers of NFP (also check with your diocese, they often offer some form of NFP)



I agree with you. That’s why I chose to learn Creighton. It is SO easy. Mucus only, very simple. CrM has a structured system of classifying mucus and once you learn it, it’s super easy.

I can’t tell you the last time I had to look at the book to check something. And, I don’t even buy their stickers anymore, I made an Excel spreadsheet to track my cycle.


Thank you all so much. Like I said, we’re in a sort of odd situation, having to learn NFP not only 8 years into our marriage, but also while I’m breastfeeding. Thanks again for all your tips and references.

You’re right- a lot of this stuff I already do- mostly the cervical mucus monitoring. I can spot fertile mucus a mile away. It’s the finding-and-touching-my-own-cervix that is still making me a bit squeamish. :rolleyes:

I think a mucus/temp combo might be for me.


A few ramblings from my experience:
Most people have covered the different methods. My wife and I served in the Navy and used for years – we later found out that we in fact are infertile and ended up adopting. Therefore, to be scientific I can’t say that my case says whether it works or not – but we did find the taking of external mucus only signs worked well. It’s helpful to mark the readings and for both to be involved so you know when is a good day to schedule romantic evenings, etc… etc… and when to go for a movie and find other things to bide your time so to speak. Taking the measurements is straight forward – although don’t think it is all roses – there will be time of abstinence, and that timing may be more per month for a little while as you get used to your body. From what I’ve read, you seem to not have issues with mucus readings, so no problem there. The sacrifice is not unbearable, but it can be a sacrifice – try when you’re both out to sea for a long time, are only home for 3 or 4 days all in the fertile period and back to sea for a few more weeks. That is tough – but hopefully most people aren’t in that situation. I’d suggest along with your NFP studies – whatever method, Creighton, CCLI, Billings, etc. (basically temp or mucous variations) – also read about the theological side. Humanae Vitae isn’t too long or hard a read, maybe a little stretch. Also, read up on the Theology of the Body – talks by Christoper West, etc. That helped me to see the moral mandate for the theology of the body – and what the use of contraception does (chemicals that can harm the woman, cause a small but still significant percentage of early abortions, and violates the wedding vows of which sex is the expression of). Again, it’s a sacrifice – but the alternatives are not options once you understand and embrace the truth of how God created us. If you can do the tough day to day work in raising multiple small children, you can do this!


If my husband can learn the method, then trust me, anyone can! It seems like a lot of observations, writing, examining, but in all reality after you get used to it, it’s like 2nd nature.


Some methods of NFP don’t require you to check your cervix or do any internal examinations at all. I never have, which is great because I really couldn’t bear the thought. I rely on external observations, and other indicators-I don’t even need to take my temperature-and I have never got pregnant accidentally while charting.


Question for all you mucus-only practicers:
Does the external mucus check really work for someone who is breastfeeding or do you do internal mucus checks too?

I am breastfeeding and recently started checking my cervix and internal mucus because externally, I was always dry. But when I check internally, I can see there are days where there is definitely more “fertile-like” mucus.

To Cari, I was squeamish to check my cervix at first too, and I had absolutely NO idea what I was looking for. But like someone said, once you find it, you know… and now that’s the sign I rely on the most because my CM is all over the place.


I am anxious about this too. Since the post is already going I will ask here… I am also still breastfeeding, my youngest is 10 mos. however and cutting way back. My cycles have not returned, but, I am very, very irregular, so I don’t know if it’s related. I have both endometriosis and PCOS, plus I was ill-advised to begin the pill as a teen to “regulate” me, and when I got married and got off 5 years later, started having more problems than ever. That’s when my periods mostly stopped and I was told I was anti-ovulatory–BUT–I do ovulate once in a blue moon, apparently. We had a baby, then decided to adopt, then, surprise, another baby (although I was undergoing “diagnostics” at that time)…so my kids are 3, 2, and 10 mos., and I really have to wait a while, I’m exhausted!

Anyway, so I mostly don’t ovulate, and have a really hard time predicting it. For one thing I have little pains all the time from the endo, so that doesn’t help. I find it impossible to take temp before getting out of bed, as I am usually jumping up to address 1 to 3 crying kids. And discharge, well, I just can’t tell. I’m always getting vaginosis, it seems to be my body chemistry. And since I’ve been nursing this time I’ve been estrogen deficient and using a hormone cream (internally).

Sorry this is all a LOT of info but I feel really shaky, and my husband acts super nervous which makes me worse. What should I be looking for, or focusing on?:confused:


The external mucus checks are enough, you are not “allowed” to do internal mucus checks with Creighton. You are checking for more specific attributes of the mucus with Creighton than you do with Sympto-Thermal.


Is there a Creighton class in your area? (and even better, an NFP-only doctor?) If so, I think you would be able to use Creighton effectively…but you really have to be working with a nurse trained in Creighton. If you don’t have one in your area, you may be able to learn and correspond with one from another area.


My dear best friend had to stop using the internal examinations - no matter how well she washed her hands before checking, she would get raging vaginal infections. So now she only uses the mucus method with temps and has been able to very successfully manage her fertility. They have three children, two of them twins.



Don’t worry. If you can find yourself a good teacher, they will help you to get it straight in your head so it won’t seem so overwhelming. It’s simpler than you think. And you don’t even have to do the cervix thing. I don’t. It’s purely optional. Some women find it helpful if they have strange mucous patterns. I tried it for a while and didn’t find it particularly helpful and didn’t like going up there anyway, so I stopped.

Sleeping with your baby may make that part of your life easier to cope with, so you won’t have to get out of bed so much, and it will be easier to take that temp. As far as the insomnia, don’t just assume that that’s how you are. Seek out a solution for that. Perhaps you can take some melatonin before bed (if it’s safe for nursing—I don’t know) or make a dietary change. Are you getting enough good fats in your diet to nourish your brain? Take coconut oil and cod liver oil regularly to aid with that. How’s the night lighting? Do you have a bright alarm clock or a lot of light streaming through your bedroom window? Because that affects your natural melatonin level. The human body needs to be in sync with sunrise and the lunar cycles in order to know when to wake and when to go to sleep, so the darker you can get your room at night, the better. Wear a mask over your eyes, and see if that helps. Don’t stay up late, and be sure to drag yourself out of bed at sunrise no matter how tired you are so you’ll go down easier the next night. Hopefully something in there is helpful. Hang in there. It gets easier.


everyone is different but for I don’t even chart until I get my first period. the first time DS was 14 months. i did practice ecological BF and the first time he slept 7 hours straight without nursing i started getting very sore nipples and a week later got it back. now DS 2 slept 6 hours straight the other day but no signs yet. he’s only 11 months so i think my body isn’t ready. i personally won’t bother charting anything until it comes, because last time my first 2 periods were so wacky i couldn’t have become pregnant. the leutal phase were way too short. it took a while to get back on track

good luck


I would check out your local Diocese Family Life office. My fiancee and I just completed our class(I think 50 bucks for three 2 hour sessions, plus one on one sessions). I was clueless going in, but after walking through it with a trained instructor, we are up to speed on everything including breast feeding. There was another couple who tried studying on their own in our class who said that had not worked properly for them(not sure which way), but that is why they took the class.

On breastfeeding, to promote an extended period of infertility you will need to do what is called Intense Breastfeeding meaning a total of two hours a day and no longer than 8 hours between feeding.

May God bless your fertility!


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