Question re: breastfeeding and pregnancy


#1

hi, I have a question for all the moms and moms to be out there,

I understand that when a woman breastfeeds she doesn’t ovulate. What I don’t understand: how is that a few of my friends have breastfed and wound up getting pregnant shortly thereafter? A few of them were even surprised because they thought that they couldn’t get pregnant until after the feedings have stopped and the body returns to its natural cycle.

thank you for your help.


#2

[quote=crohnie4life]hi, I have a question for all the moms and moms to be out there,

I understand that when a woman breastfeeds she doesn’t ovulate. What I don’t understand: how is that a few of my friends have breastfed and wound up getting pregnant shortly thereafter? A few of them were even surprised because they thought that they couldn’t get pregnant until after the feedings have stopped and the body returns to its natural cycle.

thank you for your help.
[/quote]

Hi!

It can go either way. Many women do not ovulate, others do. Personally, I didn’t, but I know of several women who mistakenly believed that NO ONE does and became pregnant.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


#3

That can depend on several things. Every woman is different, so the length of time she’ll experience infertility from breastfeeding will vary. For me, it was about a year with each of mine. I’m not an expert, but I’ve read pretty extensively on breastfeeding, and from what I’ve read it seems night-time nursing is the most important for suppressing ovulation. Also, strictly breastfeeding without giving pacifiers, bottles or solid foods. Once you introduce other things, you increase the likelihood of ovulation returning.

I would highly recommend you check out Couple to Couple League (www.ccli.org) to get accurate and complete information about breastfeeding and ovulation.


#4

My handy dandy NFP textbook by the Couple to Couple League offers a table of “Return of Menstruation with Ecological Breastfeeding”:

Months of Amenorrhea: Percent of Experiences
1-6: 7%
7-12: 37%
13-18: 33%
19-24: 15%
25-30: 8%

The average duration of breastfeeding amenorrhea in this study was 14.5 months. However, note that this is ecological breastfeeding (breast milk is only source of food for ~6 months, then is still a source of food as desired till child self-weans, mother breastfeeds throughout the night, all comfort is provided at the breast and not through pacifiers).

Also, know that a woman may ovulate before she experiences her first menstruation, so if she is not tracking her mucus and temperatures, she won’t know that she ovulated.


#5

[quote=TridentineFan]The average duration of breastfeeding amenorrhea in this study was 14.5 months. However, note that this is ecological breastfeeding (breast milk is only source of food for ~6 months, then is still a source of food as desired till child self-weans, mother breastfeeds throughout the night, all comfort is provided at the breast and not through pacifiers).
[/quote]

With “non-ecological” breastfeeding (for instance, if the baby sleeps in a crib, or uses a pacifier, or is sometimes bottle-fed expressed milk), the average duration of lactational amenorrhea seems to be about 10 months. This estimate comes from research done by the Kippleys (founders of CCL) and others, and it matches with the experience of women in my social circle.

This doesn’t necessary correlate with the return of fertility. As TridentineFan mentioned, a woman can ovulate before her first period. On the other hand, it’s also common for a nursing woman to remain infertile for some months after the return of her cycle, due to anovulatory cycles or a deficient luteal phase. (In the latter case, a baby may be conceived, but not be able to implant. :frowning: Sad to think about, but evidently part of God’s plan.)

Of course, women’s bodies can behave very differently from the average. If a woman has a strong reason to space pregnancies, such as recovery from medical problems related to the birth, she’d be well-advised to practice a systematic form of NFP starting a few weeks postpartum. Methods that are based on external observation of the mucus sign (e.g. Creighton, Billings, and Marquette) are a simple and reliable way to predict the first ovulation, whether the woman is breastfeeding fully, partially, “ecologically,” or whatever. :slight_smile:


#6

I breast fed my first child 18 months. She was weaned and the next month after…our second child was conceived. Others in our family average 12-18 months.


#7

thank you all for your replies. I was very curious about it since my friends all breastfed without bottled formula, cereal, and pacifiers within the first few months and then found themselves pregnant shortly thereafter. I have really learned alot and appreciate your wisdom.

God Bless,
Lisa


#8

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