I have lurked on this site many times, but have finally joined today because I really need some help from you experienced NFP-ers.
Backstory: My husband and are a young couple (22 and 20). We have a 19 month old son, and just three weeks ago tomorrow had our second son. They are both amazing! We want to have more kids, but definitely not for at least two years. I am very happy taking care of them, but the very idea of getting pregnant again any time soon absolutely terrifies me. I literally had a nightmare about it.
After our first son I tried learning NFP, the sympto-thermal method through a book. It really overwhelmed me. So we decided to just “whing it”. But my husband is military, and deployed twice, and nobody wants to abstain after being separated for three months. Thus our second son was conceived, even though we wanted our kids to be spaced a bit more.
But now we want to get serious about NFP. I’ve read Taking Charge of Your Fertility which teaches the fertility awareness method. In the section about FAM and breastfeeding, it says that mothers of babies six months and youngerwho exclusively breastfeed are safe by the lactational amenorrhea method. You have to breastfeed every four hours during the day and every six at night. And you can’t have any bleeding past day 56 post partum. Here is a link on it llli.org/ba/Aug93.html
Now this sounds great to me, but I’m afraid to believe it. Anybody here know and use it? I had an easy delivery, and feel ready to resume having sex with my husabnd now. But I am deathly afraid of another unplanned pregnancy! Basically I just need some advice, reassurances, whatever you’ve got. We want to do what’s right, but Thanks for reading all of this!
Another part of LAM is nothing but mama nipple - no paci, no sucking daddy’s finger - feeding or comfort nursing on demand.
Thank goodness for internet anonyminity (sp?). I could never say the following to a stranger in person!
The problem you are facing is that it is REALLY hard to START NFP during a time of change in your body. The best time to start is when things are ‘normal’. Ideal is before you are even married (so not having intercourse). Then you can learn what YOUR normal body symptoms of fertility area.
In my marriage, we’ve had no trouble practicing NFP during the BF times because my wife has very reliable mucus symptoms. During the BF infertile times, she had no cervical mucus whatsoever. So she checked daily. No mucus, no fertility. Once even the tiniest bit of mucus showed up, we abstained until at least the 4th day after it was gone (for occasional freak mucus appearances that never developed into fertile ones) or until the 4th day after the mucus showed PEAK symptoms (indicating that fertility was BAAACCCK!). We use the Billings method exclusively.
Do you have any idea what your ‘normal’ mucus symptoms were? Have you tried looking up a Billings instructor in your area? IMO, Billings is best for spotting the return of fertility after baby. Easy once you learn what to look for.
I would strongly suggest that you contact a certified NFP instructor. It can be very difficult to learn NFP from a book, unless you have a “textbook cycle” (no irregularities at all) and even then, you still do not know exactly what to look for as fertility signs unless you have experience… an NFP instructor can help you through the learning process, which can take months as you start to learn your own signs of fertility. My husband and I use Creighton (very similar to Billings) and we are very happy with it. I do not know much about breastfeeding as NFP, but I do know that if you are not monitoring your signs of fertility otherwise, it can be very demanding on Mom as you’ll need to be completely attached to the baby. (not necessarily a negative!) You can find a Creighton instructor through their website: www.creightonmodel.com
NFP can definitely help you and your husband in responsibly spacing births, but it needs to be learned and practiced well!
God Bless you!
Look at this website nfpandmore.org/nfphowto.shtml there is a section all about ecological breastfeeding, and LAM. I would second contacting a teacher and class.
Seriously, we just got ours and it’s really easy - try getting an ovacue from zetek - you can take your reading with it and it charts it - it also lets you back up your salivary readings with vaginal readings - it tells you about 5 days prior to ovulating and you’ll be able to know for sure if you’re ovulating. Here is the site- we’ve rented ours but I feel sure we’ll buy it. Good luck - I hope this helps some!
You should also look at the book Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood. The entire book is online at the publishers sight, here. It also explains ecological breastfeeding and the requirements that go along with it that give you the highest chances of preventing ovulation.
My daughter is 15 months old and it still seems to be working for us (a little too well, we are hoping to conceive soon, but I don’t want to wean her and it seems to be preventing it). In my limited (I only have one) experience it seems like the night feedings play a large role in preventing ovulation. Not trying to get your baby to sleep through the night is one of the requirements they list under “ecological” breastfeeding that separates it from “exclusive” breastfeeding. Exclusive breastfeeding usually doesn’t delay ovulation by much. As someone else said pacifiers and bottles are also a no-no in ecological breastfeeding (although after my daughter nursed for 7 consecutive hours, crying hysterically every time she stopped, we started giving her a pacifier and it didn’t seem to make a difference). If I really wanted to delay it for as long as possible, I would follow all the rules carefully though!
The problem that I’ve found goes along with breastfeeding all night is it’s hard to get an accurate morning reading. I would look into the NFP methods (to go along with the breastfeeding) that involve checking mucas too (and maybe cervical position). Relying on temps when your up all night is hard and not all that accurate in my experience!
To Red Sox Wife - you and your baby look so beautiful in that picture - I’m jealous! I hope the night feedings start getting so normal to you that you’re both able to sleep!
Thanks everyone for your replies!
I did try to find a class, but found nobody close enough. Also, my husband doesn’t get home till the evening, and we only have one car. And we’re new to the area and wouldn’t know who could babysit DS1. Ugh.
Catholic parishes often have NFP classes. Check to see if you have Couple To Couple League in your area. There are teaching couples who can assist you by phone and email.
I slept with babies in the bed. Worked great. Baby nursed at night and I slept through it once they latched on. No cycles for 11 to 16 months.
It DOES work if you do it right.
And that was the dark ages before all these saliva detectors and computer programs and ovulation predictors.
Thank your husband for his service.
Nice people like you having lots of children really isn’t a nightmare for America. We need more people like you!
Also, google your state and city with the words “Catholic Diocese”. On the Diocese website, find the Family Life office or the NFP office.