Many people have a clear cut idea on how much time they want to have between their children. Some are eager to have their family completed in a relatively short period of time, while others feel it is better to have some space and distance in developmental stages. There is no right or wrong way to plan a family, however those women who are interested in getting pregnant while breastfeeding will probably find it useful to be aware of some of the challenges involved with pregnancy while lactating.
It is far easier to get pregnant while breastfeeding after the baby is six months old. Many breastfeeding moms don’t ovulate or have periods for quite some time when the infant is very young. Obviously without these functions happening, getting pregnant while breastfeeding is improbable. Each breastfeeding woman is different and some resume their periods as early as three months after delivery and others can wait up to a year.
Let’s look at some numbers to get a clearer grasp of the difficulties involved in getting pregnant while breastfeeding. When a woman breastfeeds her body produces high levels of the hormone prolactin. This hormone is responsible for suppressing ovulation. The suppressed ovulation reduces the chance of pregnancy to one or two percent. Considering a non-lactating woman only has a twenty percent chance to begin with, the challenge here is obvious. When the baby is a little older, around the six-month age, fertility comes in with a 6% pregnancy chance.
There are some things you can try to aid in getting pregnant while breastfeeding. These are geared toward older babies and toddlers. Very young infants rely solely on breast milk for nutrition and it should not be limited in any way. If the baby is of an appropriate age, it may be advantageous to introduce more solid foods into the baby’s diet to supplement your mild supply. In this way the levels of prolactin will decrease along with the breast milk supply potentially increasing the odds of pregnancy. Timing could be everything in this situation and stretching out the time in between feedings during the day and night may be helpful.
Once menstruation begins again, regularly charting your ovulation cycle may assist in getting pregnant while breastfeeding. There are charts, kits, and calendars all designed to help designate the correct days for conception. Understand though that ovulation can be unpredictable especially for a breastfeeding mom.
Creating your family, as you and your partner want it to be is important, but be patient during the process of getting pregnant while breastfeeding. All good things come in time.