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Increasing fertility without stopping BF(4 Posts)
I wasn't sure whether I'd get more responses in Breast and Bottle Feeding or Conception so I've stuck it in both, sorry!
DS was conceived with IUI and me taking clomid. I'm 36 and have a low follicle count. DS is now 3 months old and from day 1 he took to BF like a duck to water! We co-sleep so night feeds are easy (he's fed to sleep), and if anything bothers him a comfort feed sorts him out in seconds. I really love BF and all the health / ease benefits for both of us.
When I got pregnant with him, we knew we'd love to have a second child too. We thus planned to swap to formula from 6m to endeavour to get fertility back and probably try clomid / IUI again.
Now that time is approaching I feel really torn and quite sad. In an ideal world I'd feed him for at least a year, and then think about trying for a second. I feel awful about stopping BF as he is getting great health benefits and is comforted by it. And I'll miss it too.
However because of my age and fertiliy problems, I know we should try for a second as soon as possible.
I'm hoping for sage advice on how I can somehow get the best of both worlds - I guess dropping a few feeds might help, but any other suggestions? If I can perhaps TTC naturally for a while then I won't have to stop BF (as I obviously would have to if I was taking clomid again).
Also I know fertility can return before your periods start again - is there any way of telling if that has happened? I guess the ovulation predictors won't work if you don't have periods and thus know when to use them.
Forgive the ramble - I think I've included all the relevant info!
My personal opinion (so dismiss it if you wish!) is that I would not want to sacrifice the known benefits of BF to 1 yr for a theoretical second child. After all your DS is here now and I wouldn't want give up the BF relationship so early. I don't think 6 months is a really long time to wait to TTC. So I'd TTC naturally a while (you never know - pregnancy could have reset your hormones!), then think about assistance.
Probably the greatest effect on fertility is night feeds. I got my periods back when DD stopped night feeding, at 15-16 months. She was still feeding at least six times during day at this point!
My opinion is based on my own experience of course, I've BF my DD to 2 yrs (almost weaned now). I've loved having this special relationship with DD and can't imagine TTCing when she was under a year! I have been TTC the past 6 months. No luck yet, but hopefully soon! Lots of women do get pregnant while breastfeeding.
Its a difficult decision for you based on the fertility struggles you went through, I understand that. But remember to enjoy your DS and not focus solely on getting the second child.
Sorry it has taken me a while to respond to this - had family staying. I just wanted to thank you for your advice - it was very good advice which I have taken on board and after discussions with my partner we've decided to keep EBFing DS and worry about TTC #2 later. I feel much more comfortable with this, as I'd hate to think I was compromising DS's wellbeing in an attempt for another child. (Hopefully it'll happen not long after DS has been fed for a year - fingers crossed!)
I just wanted to say that I also had a struggle to conceive DS (IVF/ICSI because of my DH's low sperm count after years of trying, and failing, ttc naturally). I'm still BFing DS (at 15 months) but it's just really a morning and evening feed now. We never bothered with formula, as after a year he'd take cow's milk in a cup. We also agonised over BFing vs formula for fertility reasons, as we do want another child but yet also want to enjoy the benefits of the BFing relationship as long as feels good for me and DS...
Anyway, my periods came back at 6 ish months - right after the introduction of solids (we did BLW at just before 6 months) - when DS was still feeding so much I hadn't noticed him dropping any feeds! By about 8 months my periods were regular, and "better" than before (in that I don't seem to spot pre-AF the way I used to). Anyway, I ended up getting pregnant naturally when DS was 11 months. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be and I MC'd, but it did reassure me that BFing doesn't interfere with fertility once periods are back. We've never bothered with contraception (although we will probably do IVF again before too long once I wean DS).
With regards to catching the egg before your period comes back, you need to be aware of fertility awareness signs, eg CM and cervix position.
Anyway, enjoy your DS and good luck when you do start TTC!
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