Torn between wanting to continue BF and trying to conceive.
bubble99 · 13/11/2005 20:49
And yes, I know that it is very possible to become pregnant while still BF, but my prolactin levels have a history of being off of the scale. It took nearly a year for me to stop producing milk after I stopped BF DS2 when he was one year old, and I know that high prolactin levels can inhibit ovulation.
I'm BF twice a day now, morning and last thing at night and I love the closeness this gives me with Elijah, but I really want to conceive again and I'm 39 in July.
zippitippitoes · 13/11/2005 20:52
well, i thinbk finishing breastfeeding would be quite ok now..it's up to you really, twelve months feeding is perfectly adequate and you can if you wish look forward to the next stage with children..good luck
Eulalia · 13/11/2005 20:55
How long did it take for you to get pregnant with your second child? How did the breastfeeding affect your periods? How old are your children now. I found breastfeeding affected my fertility by having no periods for ages (13 months and 18 months after births of ds and dd) but not sure if that was to do with prolactin levels ... sorry not being much help except that I fell pregnant again v quickly after my periods started. 39 isn't so old. Just had my 3rd baby at end of July a couple of weeks before my 40th birthday. There was someting I did read about b/feeding and fertily but will dig it out later for you as I need to get some children to bed.
Miaou · 13/11/2005 20:57
bubble, wish I had some advice for you but I don't - it's a hard decision, isn't it? One I can see myself making in a few months' time.
Bear in mind that you have given Elijah a good long time on the breast, and presumably he is having some bottles during the day now? So you wouldn't be introducing something new. And I know it's not quite the same but you can still cuddle him whilst giving him his bottle.
And 39 isn't that old
I know these are all things you know already, but sometimes it's good to hear them from someone else too
frannyandzooey · 13/11/2005 21:01
Naturally you must do what you feel is best, but something a bf counsellor said to a friend of mine has stuck with me:
How would you feel if you weaned this child in order to have another, and were unable to conceive even after weaning?
She wasn't trying to say it would be wrong to do so, just that my friend should think very carefully before deciding.
I think it is a heart wrenching decision. I do have 2 friends who fed their first right up to and after their second babies were born, so obviously it can be done, but you know that already....wish I could help more.
bubble99 · 13/11/2005 21:36
Franny, that's exactly it. If I can't conceive again and I wean entirely now, I would feel that I'd missed enjoying BF my last baby. He's nearly 9 months now and I BF until around one for both of my other two DS'.
Eulalia, it took me 11 months to conceive last time and I ended up with a twin Pg. This fact alone suggests that my ovulation is becoming more hit and miss, and I'm sure there were a few times during the 11 months of trying that I didn't ovulate at all.
Thanks Miaou and Zippi
Eulalia · 13/11/2005 21:48
Here it is in full - you can find it at - http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detfert.html
Breastfeeding and Fertility
by Katherine A. Dettwyler, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology,
Texas A & M University
2004 Update: Peter Ellison has published two books on this topic. They are
On Fertile Ground, by Peter T. Ellison, May 2003, Harvard University Press. Available from www.amazon.com (click HERE)
Reproductive Ecology and Human Evolution (Evolutionary Foundations of Human Behavior), edited by Peter T. Ellison, December 2001, Aldine de Gruyter Publishers, New York. Available from www.amazon.com (click HERE)
----------------------My original post from 1995:
There is a chapter in Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives on "Breastfeeding, Fertility and Maternal Conditon," by Peter Ellison. He is an anthropologist and head of the anthropology department at Harvard University. This chapter takes a historical look at the research that has been done on understanding the links between breastfeeding and fertility, from the earliest days up to 1993, when he finished his chapter (it takes forever to get a manuscript through all the stages in to print).
Here's my brief synopsis of his thorough chapter. Suckling by the baby causes the mother's pituitary to release prolactin. It used to be thought that prolactin directly affected ovulation/fertility, but new research suggests that there is another hormone intermediate between prolactin and the ovaries. So that high levels of prolactin lead to either high or low levels of this other factor, which then affects fertility. Fertility is not an "either/or" sort of phenomenon. Post-partum, a woman does not ovulate for a while, even if she isn't breastfeeding. If she is breastfeeding frequently enough to keep her prolactin levels above her individual critical threshhold for fertility (and women vary in this threshhold) then her fertility is suppressed.
The greatest level of suppression is not ovulating, but as your prolactin levels go up, your fertility will gradually return. First you will ovulate, but not have the proper hormone levels for fertilization; then you will ovulate and fertilization may occur, but you still may not have the proper hormone levels for implantation; finally, you may ovulate, be fertilized, and implant, but not have the proper hormone levels for continuing the pregnancy, so you have a very early miscarriage, probably along the lines of minutes or hours after implantation, so you wouldn't know you had been pregnant. It is also possible to ovulate without having the right hormonal levels in the right combinations for the uterus to have been preparing for implantation, so yes, it is possible to ovulate without menstruating. For all of these stages, there seems to be incredible individual variation between women. Some women get pregnant again the first time they ovulate, with no intervening menstrual periods. I knew a woman in Indiana years ago who had three children in six years with no menstrual periods! Her doctor couldn't figure out when to predict her due date
Also, would you believe there is no research out there yet, none at all, on whether it is possible for the trajectory of gradually returning fertility to be reversed as a result of increased nursing? I specifically asked Peter Ellison to include this research in his chapter, and he assures me there isn't any, though as he puts it "Logically, it makes sense." That is, if the baby nurses more frequently again,, after the mother's periods have returned, it would raise the mother's circulating levels of prolactin, presumably high enough to affect fertility again.
I am sure that this works, both from personal experience and from anecdotal reports from other nursing moms. To give a specific example, with my third child Alexander, I worked mainly from home the first year of his life, and spent many hours at my computer writing with me logged on and him latched on! The summer of 1992, when he was a year old, I was at home for the summer (not teaching classes) and he nursed a lot. When he was 13 months old, and fall semester was starting, I put him in day care 6 hours a day, so I could have more time at the office, and my periods promptly returned the next month. I had a period in October, and one in November, then we finished for the semester in mid-December and I was at home with him all day for 5 weeks (what a job ). I didn't have a period in December or January, then resumed again for good in February. Sigh. I wish someone would develop a pill that mimicked the actions of lactation amenorrhea so I didn't have to have periods for the next who knows how many years. And I don't have PMS or menstrual cramps or anything, so I know I shouldn't complain. Back to the subject at hand -- my understanding is that a woman is born with thousands of eggs, and that menopause has nothing to do with using up all your eggs.
I would imagine that there could be some connection between continued breastfeeding and failure to sustain a pregnancy, especially in a woman who released large amounts of prolactin in response to nursing, or whose ovaries were especially susceptible to whatever level of prolactin (or other hormone) she did produce. You should consult a reproductive endocrinologist to see if this is the case. I don't think the oxytocin levels that cause uterine contractions could be leading to miscarriages that long after the birth of the first child, but the prolactin levels might be interfering with implantation or continuation of the pregnancy.
You can find much of Peter Ellison's information in his already published works. If you have access to a university library, look him up on the computer and see what they have by him. I hope this helps.
Eulalia · 13/11/2005 21:51
Why not just carry on b/feed your ds till he is a year like the others and then even if it takes another year to conceive afterwards you will still only be 40/41 by the time the baby (or babies!) are born. I think you'd feel happier to have carried on for the full year like you did before and its only another 3 months.
mears · 13/11/2005 21:57
In the scheme of things, 3 months is not long Bubble. If I were you I would continue feeding until he is 1 year old and re-evaluate it then. The worst thing to happen would be that you stopped and didn't conceive again. Try not to run ahaed of yourself - enjoy your feeding relationship at the moment (and remember to bonk [wink})
mears · 13/11/2005 21:57
bubble99 · 13/11/2005 21:58
I think you're right Eulalia. I will feel gutted if I can't get pregnant and I gave up BF before either of us was ready. Mr Bubble has been primed for a potential trip to a fertility clinic if I haven't conceived by next July (when I turn 40) Hopefully it won't be necessary, but I remember the agony of waiting 11 months last time when I'd previously got Pg pretty much as soon as we'd started trying before.
Thanks for the info.
bubble99 · 13/11/2005 21:59
Too true, mears
bubble99 · 13/11/2005 22:04
I've just read this thread again and I'm 40 next July, not 39. Amazing how amnesia can set in when remembering age, isn't it?
lua · 13/11/2005 22:18
this is probably a daft idea, but as a compromise, couldn't you buy some ovulator kits and get some idea how your body is doing while you are breastfeeding for the next two months? Depending on the result, you can keep on Bfing?
suzi2 · 13/11/2005 22:18
Good luck. I can see it being something I'm going to have to think about too...
milward · 13/11/2005 22:19
I've had to make this choice with dd1. I began to resent bf but still wanted to bf - iyswim!! One morning dd1 didn't want to bf - she was 18 months. She stopped suddenly & I had been bf on demand with constant snacks through out the day. I became preg quickly but had a miscarriage & was diagnosed with secondary infertility some months later. Difficult time. I wished I'd stopped bf & just got preg sooner. In the end went onto have other kids. It's a tough choice & I feel for you. If you stop bf & don't become preg are there any treatment options for this? With age as a factor (I'm an older mum!) could you get some medical advice on what to do if preg doesn't happen. best wishes xxx
starlover · 13/11/2005 22:21
bubble are you trying to conceive at the moment?
bubble99 · 13/11/2005 22:23
Yes, SL. Well, not right at this moment.
starlover · 13/11/2005 22:26
phew thank goodness for that!
i don't know much about conceiving tbh, but I would do as someone already suggested and see if you can monitor your levels of "stuff"
it's one of those impossible decisions really isn't it?
hunkermunker · 13/11/2005 22:28
Don't know what to say as it has to be your decision (obv!), but if I was in the same position, I think I'd breastfeed till Elijah was one. I think that his birthday would be very hard for me and it would help me in a very small way.
I'm really hesitating to post this. I've been back to this thread about six times already and tried writing this several times.
bubble99 · 13/11/2005 22:29
Good idea for Ov kits, lua. I'm going to have to get back on the TTC treadmill again. Last month I had a 35 day cycle (my usual is 28 days) and I was so excited, I was aware of every twinge and managed to convince myself that I was Pg and bought a test. Negative, and my period turned up the next day. I am so lucky to have Elijah, and my other two of course, and I know I should just be enjoying him but the fertility clock in my head is beginning to sound like Big Ben.
bubble99 · 13/11/2005 22:38
Thanks for posting, munker chops. You're right, Elijah's birthday is going to be difficult. It's so sad to think that a little boy's birthday can be anything other than a happy day, isn't it? I'm beginning to enjoy being with him more now. I've always loved him, but there's always been a difficult edge to that love and TBH I've spent a long time feeling that I wouldn't be surprised if I looked in his cot and found him not breathing. I can't really explain it, it's as though he's never been 'complete.' I'm now slowly recognising him as an individual, not as half of a missing pair. Does any of this make sense?
noops · 13/11/2005 22:45
it makes total sense after all that you have been through bubble
i don't have any advice on the concieving front.
I am one of those people who thinks that they may want a baby and then suddenly am pg,
but my ds is 12 weeks old and i am was 40 this last jan, so age may not be an issue
i had 3 periods after stopping bf ds1 (14months) and then got pg at a very strange time in my cycle...hence the name oops (which i randomly changed)
Anyway, rambling aside, i would try to cut back on one feed, maybe the am one and give the lovely pm one. Do some ov tests and get on with the other stuff
hunkermunker · 13/11/2005 22:48
Yes, sweet, it makes perfect sense
I felt guilty posting on this thread as I did get pg breastfeeding - I SO hope it happens for you. But if you have to stop to ttc, that's fine - I just think that if you get to where you'd naturally stop first, then you won't feel any guilt about it. If you were going to be bfeeding till he was five, then perhaps you could think about curtailing it but for the sake of another three or so months, I think I'd keep on.
bubble99 · 13/11/2005 23:08
Thanks, noops and thanks, munker. I'm often moved by the loveliness of mnet and tonight has been no exception.
You've both confirmed what I feel is the right thing to do. Over the last couple of weeks I've made up formula to give him for the last two remaining feeds that I've been giving him as a BF. I've then looked at his little face nuzzling (and grabbing now ) to try and get a boob and I've thought how crap it is that I'm trying to give him a bottle when he's not ready to give up these two feeds yet. If his twin hadn't died I wouldn't be TTC and they'd both perhaps be BF still. I can't 'punish' him for perhaps adversely affecting my fertility.
And you're so right HM. Having the unique closeness of a BF baby to get me through what will be a difficult day will help, just as having him to hold a Bo's funeral made it just about bearable.
hunkermunker · 13/11/2005 23:15
If you feel it's the right thing to do, it is. You could, you stop bfeeding Elijah and you fall pregnant next month. Or you could keep bfeeding him and fall pregnant next month.
Or you could stop and not get pregnant without intervention, or it might take some months. You could keep bfeeding him and ditto.
It's the uncertainty, isn't it? I know when we were ttc the first time round, it took 11 months and a course of Clomid. But had I known it would been 11 months, I could've enjoyed those 11 months more than I did iyswim. As it was, I'd been told when I was 22 that I would never have children because I have endometriosis and PCOS - so I was bloody miserable for a lot of the ttc time.
That's why I was very laid back about ttc this time - because I know how hard it is to be waiting each month (or longer - I had a 42-50 day cycle), only to be disappointed.
If you want to get really into knowing what your body's doing, you could try temperature charting too - have you been to Fertility Friend ? Cheesy name, but a free site!
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