EBF and Fertility Charting — The Bump
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EBF and Fertility Charting

Hello! I am still breastfeeding my one-year-old. He eats 3 solid food meals a day and gets some snacks, but he mostly plays with his food, so I don't really know how much he's eating. Regardless, he nurses when he wakes in the morning, before and after each nap (2 naps per day), before bed, once or twice during the night, and occasionally for comfort. He is super attached to nursing, and I plan to let him wean himself when he is ready.

I still haven't had a period, and it may be, I assume, because I'm still breastfeeding so frequently. I do want to start charting my "fertility", though, because DH and I use NFP and we've decided that we would like to TTA for several months before we start TTC #2.

So here are my questions: Is it possible to chart data meaningfully when you haven't had a "cycle" yet?  Is is possible to ovulate or have a cycle but not have a period (I.e. could I be ovulating and just not menstruating)? Lastly, does anyone here have any tips on NFP and TTA following pregnancy?

TIA! 

 

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Re: EBF and Fertility Charting

  • I am also wondering about all of this. I was however, surprised to hear just recently that it is possible to ovulate without having a period, which explains how some mamas get pregnant before their first pp period. 
  • imagealimaried:
    I am also wondering about all of this. I was however, surprised to hear just recently that it is possible to ovulate without having a period, which explains how some mamas get pregnant before their first pp period. 

    True, but the reason, then, that they didn't have a period is because they became pregnant the first time they ovulated...so, in theory, they would have had a period had the egg not been fertilized, right? Ovulation comes before period, so naturally you could become pregnant and have ovulated without a period...

    I want to know if you can ovulate and just not get a period at all during that "cycle".  I.e. could I have been ovulating regularly and just not know it because I haven't been charting and haven't had a period?  

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  • If you ovulate, you either get your period, or the egg gets fertilized and you become pregnant.

    Have you read Taking Charge of Your Fertility? It has a section on charting while bf'ing. I'm not sure if The Art of Natural Family Planning has a section on it or not.

    Tracking your cervical mucous can be helpful in predicting the return of your fertility. Charting your basal body temperature confirms when you ovulated. If you don't have a consistent stretch of 3 hrs of sleep, your temp readings won't be very accurate though.

    With DD1, I got my period back at 11 months. I knew my fertility was returning because I went from having no noticeable cervical mucous, to have egg white cervical mucous. EWCM is what you get when your body is getting ready to ovulate.

    If you want to use NFP, you definitely need to chart your cm and temps [if you get enough sleep], so you can hopefully detect when you do ovulate again. If you're not ok with a potential pregnancy right now, you should use condoms until you get the hang of charting. You can chart on fertility friend.com.
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  • Charting may not be a safe way of TTA for you at first. Charting temps tells you when you ovulated, but doesn't predict ovulation so it would be too late to avoid by the time you know. Charting can be used to avoid, but I think it would be difficult while BFing and without having returned to fertility as in getting your period regularly. I agree with PP you should read TCOYF and see what it says. I would not trust charting to avoid while breast feeding
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  • imageshotzie:
    If you ovulate, you either get your period, or the egg gets fertilized and you become pregnant. Have you read Taking Charge of Your Fertility? It has a section on charting while bf'ing. I'm not sure if The Art of Natural Family Planning has a section on it or not. Tracking your cervical mucous can be helpful in predicting the return of your fertility. Charting your basal body temperature confirms when you ovulated. If you don't have a consistent stretch of 3 hrs of sleep, your temp readings won't be very accurate though. With DD1, I got my period back at 11 months. I knew my fertility was returning because I went from having no noticeable cervical mucous, to have egg white cervical mucous. EWCM is what you get when your body is getting ready to ovulate. If you want to use NFP, you definitely need to chart your cm and temps [if you get enough sleep], so you can hopefully detect when you do ovulate again. If you're not ok with a potential pregnancy right now, you should use condoms until you get the hang of charting. You can chart on fertility friend.com.

     This is great info. Thank you! I will definitely check out that book. I am using fertility friend now, and I am going to hope that my CM gives me some reliable data for when we should abstain. I get plenty of sleep for temping, so I should be good to go there. 

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  • While seeing a fertility specialist last year, bloodwork and ultrasounds were showing that I was ovulating, but I was not having any periods. I had some kind of hormonal imbalance where the lining of my uterus was not building up enough to shed. They put me on a round of Provera, and BAM! I got pregnant right away! So yes, in very some cases, you can ovulate with no menses, however, it is extremely rare. I did have several doctors warn me that you can ovuate while EBFing, but they probably meant that AF would return along with that in most instances. I wanted to mention that you have to have several hours of solid to sleep to chart effectively, and if you're still up a few times in the MOTN to nurse, the charting may not work. Sadly, full weaning is recommended if you want to start TTC. My husband and I would be TTC already, but I'm just not ready to wean DS yet.

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  • imagektpaladino:
    Sadly, full weaning is recommended if you want to start TTC. My husband and I would be TTC already, but I'm just not ready to wean DS yet.


    Who says you have to wean to TTC? We started TTC as soon as I got my period back. I was still bf'ing DD1, and I got pregnant right away.

    Everyone is different. Some women resume ovulating while bf'ing, some don't. It depends on the couple's TTC timeframe, whether they want to wait until the woman starts ovulating again or if they don't want to wait, and decide to wean in hopes of her fertility returning quicker.

    I can see if a woman hasn't resumed ovulating yet and she wants to TTC ASAP, that she might wean. But not //everyone// has to wean to TTC. My sister resumed ovulating at 3 months pp. She bf'd her daughter for a year. So for her, bf'ing had very little effect on her fertility.
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  • imageshotzie:
    imagektpaladino:
    Sadly, full weaning is recommended if you want to start TTC. My husband and I would be TTC already, but I'm just not ready to wean DS yet.


    Who says you have to wean to TTC? We started TTC as soon as I got my period back. I was still bf'ing DD1, and I got pregnant right away.

    Everyone is different. Some women resume ovulating while bf'ing, some don't. It depends on the couple's TTC timeframe, whether they want to wait until the woman starts ovulating again or if they don't want to wait, and decide to wean in hopes of her fertility returning quicker.

    I can see if a woman hasn't resumed ovulating yet and she wants to TTC ASAP, that she might wean. But not //everyone// has to wean to TTC. My sister resumed ovulating at 3 months pp. She bf'd her daughter for a year. So for her, bf'ing had very little effect on her fertility.


    You don't HAVE to, but that's what all of my doctors have recommended for the "best chances" of conception success. Some women have to fully wean in order to get their periods to return is what I meant, but I know there are many women that have AF return much sooner, as in your case!

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  • imagektpaladino:
    imageshotzie:
    imagektpaladino:
    Sadly, full weaning is recommended if you want to start TTC. My husband and I would be TTC already, but I'm just not ready to wean DS yet.
    Who says you have to wean to TTC? We started TTC as soon as I got my period back. I was still bf'ing DD1, and I got pregnant right away. Everyone is different. Some women resume ovulating while bf'ing, some don't. It depends on the couple's TTC timeframe, whether they want to wait until the woman starts ovulating again or if they don't want to wait, and decide to wean in hopes of her fertility returning quicker. I can see if a woman hasn't resumed ovulating yet and she wants to TTC ASAP, that she might wean. But not //everyone// has to wean to TTC. My sister resumed ovulating at 3 months pp. She bf'd her daughter for a year. So for her, bf'ing had very little effect on her fertility.
    You don't HAVE to, but that's what all of my doctors have recommended for the "best chances" of conception success. Some women have to fully wean in order to get their periods to return is what I meant, but I know there are many women that have AF return much sooner, as in your case!

     Thanks for the responses!

    I specifically asked because we're TTA for now, and we are nervous about trusting CM and temps to tell me when I am going to ovulate. I haven't started temping much yet, but my CM charts all over the place! Must be a hormone thing, because if we were relying solely on that, I'd say that I ovulate several times a month!

    We are Catholic and don't want to use hormonal or barrier birth control, just NFP. It does scare me, though! I hate being so uncertain. It was definitely easier before LO!

    DH thinks that any sex might just be too risky, but I don't wanna abstain for forever. Waaaaah! :( 

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  • Oh, and we also bed-share with LO, so I'm not technically "up" during the night. I wake up to nurse, but I don't really move. My temp would still be valid, right?

    I plan to let LO wean himself whenever he is ready. Baby #2 will have to wait on him. ;) 

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