Confessions of a Breastfeeding Mom: TTC

Probably the most hated item in my medicine cabinet

I have proudly been nursing my son for 17 and a half months and we have worked hard to get here.  Our plan is for him to decide when our nursing relationship is over.  My hope since nursing has become easier for me and a wonderful tool for us, is to tandem nurse when our second child arrives, so we nurse.

But that is just it – when our second child will come.  Like I said I’ve been nursing for 17 and half months and I have only had two cycles, that weren’t even regular.  When I entered my cycles into one of those online fertility charts the comment came back: you may be infertile, you should talk with your health care provider.  Epic fail.

My biggest challenge is trying not to blame nursing for my lack of fertility.  I am one of those “lucky” women that any amount of nursing prevents me from having a regular period.  I made the decision about pumping at work in order to help bring on my non-existent cycle.  When that did not work, I encouraged gentle night-weaning and stopped bringing Little Man into my room when he woke up at night.  I might have been tired but we worked together until he did not need to get up in the middle of the night regularly.  Despite all of these changes, I am still not regular.

I realistically cannot blame all of my cycle abnormalities on nursing.  Before we became pregnant I had been on birth control for 10 years and the time between cycles was growing longer and longer.  I decided to begin TTC when I made the decision that the birth control was not working for me as a woman, despite having tried multiple brands and formulations.  It took us 9 months to conceive Little Man, but we did.

I have days when I am so touched-out and upset that I cry and wish that he didn’t want to nurse.  I have days that seem brighter and nursing does not bother me and we nurse happily on demand.  I have days that I try to discourage nursing with distractions and games as well.  Some days it works, some days it doesn’t.  Every day I don’t want to nurse though, I feel like a monster.

Nursing at his 1st year photo session

I love my son and I wouldn’t stop nursing him for anything, but it is hard on our bad days not to want to cut back.  As my hormones fluctuate so does my milk and he nurses more frequently.  If I am upset, he is upset and then he needs more nursing time as well.  Nursing is love for us – plain and simple.  Even though we are having a hard time right now, I have to believe that we will have a positive outcome.  It took us so long to get to where we are right now as a nursing dyad that I would hate to give that up for selfish reasons.  Did you have trouble with nursing while preparing for new additions to your family?  How did you handle this?

For more information about Breastfeeding and Fertility:

This year’s theme for World Breastfeeding Week is Talk to Me! Breastfeeding – A 3-D Experience.  From their website:

Communication is an essential part of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding. We live in a world where individuals and global communities connect across small and great distances at an instant’s notice. New lines of communication are being created every day, and we have the ability to use these information channels to broaden our horizons and spread breastfeeding information beyond our immediate time and place to activate important dialogue.

Continued Reading from another Natural Parents Network Volunteer!

Please join me in supporting my friend Sarah, as she confesses her experience with breastfeeding today in her post about being a breastfeeding advocate who was not able to breastfeed either of her children.

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I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!

You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.

(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)

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18 Responses to Confessions of a Breastfeeding Mom: TTC

  1. Melissa says:

    Thank you for sharing so honestly about this struggle. It’s obvious what a loving, caring, and unselfish mother you are, even though it sounds like this makes it hard for you to see that sometimes. Sending love your way. xoxo

  2. Amy says:

    Hugs to you. I haven’t experienced this struggle (my cycle came back at 7 months PP) but I can really feel the conflict you’re going through when reading your words. I hope you find peace around this, and that you find the balance you’re looking for. <3

  3. Thank you both for your support. I feel terrible even saying the words I wrote here but healing for me is a process and support is the best way to get moving in the right direction.

  4. I’m so sorry you’re going through this when you so want to TTC. I’ve been feeling nursing aversion and feeling touched out with tandem nursing, and I, too, have been worried about saying it out loud – it’s not the way I want nursing to feel, for sure. I hope your cycles resume soon and that you’re able to feel some more patience with your body’s timing. It sounds really hard. Thank you for talking about it openly.

    • Lauren I am so glad you wrote about tandem nursing on Hobo Mama today. I think what you wrote was fabulous. I am going to implement some of the guidelines you talked about using with Mikko with Little Man. I really appreciate hearing other mother’s stories because there is always something we can learn from each other.

  5. I haven’t had that specific problem, but I know about TTC. We TTC for 2 years for my first. I was expecting a long journey with our 2nd too, but it only took 4 months. And I was nursing Munchkin 5 times per day at that point. My period came back when she was 11 months old, but I didn’t TTC until she was 24 months old.

    I have a friend at work who really wanted to have her kids close together due to her age, but couldn’t get her period back while nursing. She stopped nursing at night, and then stopped pumping during the day, but it still didn’t work. Her baby was only about 10 months though when she decided to wean completely to get it back and TTC. And it worked for her and she is now due with her 2nd.

    • Alicia – That is wonderful that your second child was easier to conceive than your first. I know that it will happen when my body knows I’m ready – I just wish my heart understood that.

      I have gone through a similar experience to your friend. I thought all those things would help me but my body has said otherwise. Today was a good day and I felt a little less hopeless about it – tomorrow could be different. I probably should go out during the day more often with Little Man because today he wanted nothing doing with me until naptime and then bedtime.

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  7. Anjanette says:

    Our children are around the same age. I have a little girl born on March 13, 2010. She is our second, but we hope for more. I haven’t had even the suggestion of a cycle since she was born. I know that this is common enough – especially when ecologically breastfeeding, but I feel a tinge of sadness when I think about how long it will be until I have another baby in my arms. I am trusting that my body, and my Creator, know exactly when I will best be able to handle pregnancy again (and when my family will), but I still take PG tests every two weeks and am sad to see only one line. *hug*

    • Anjanette – *hugs* to you too mama. Your daughter’s birthday was my EDD – Little Man had other plans though. My husband called me on his way home from work today and asked if I wanted to share a bottle of wine tonight. I told him sure pick one up and a pregnancy test (hah!). You are so right about not being the one who decides when the right time will be for each of us. I trust that it will happen one day – I just wish I felt more confident about the possibility at the moment. It is hard to feel normal when my body refuses to perform like a healthy-fertile woman’s body. Please keep in touch – I’d love to know how your journey goes.

  8. Pingback: NPN Communicates About World Breastfeeding Week | Natural Parents Network

  9. katie says:

    It’s encouraging to me to see that you nursed your babe past the 1 year mark. Our son is 9 months and I’ve already had people ask when we’ll end it. It doesn’t help things that he’s losing interest in nursing…sigh. but

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  11. Erica Hafferty says:

    My periods returned regualarly after 5 weeks pp after my son (our first) was born despite breastfeeding exclusively. We have been ttc for several months for the next and so far, nothing. Sometimes I feel like I am a terrible mother for having good days and bad, wanting to bf and then not wanting to. I have to tell myself that its my body’s way of saying, “not now. there is enough on your plate”. But I still keep my fingers crossed and hope that we will be blessed…but in the right time. Prayers and hope to you!

  12. Nikki says:

    I’m in exact dilemma right now, my little guy is 23 mths old and he’s an avid nurser, to the extent of nursing all day long and refusing solids whenever he can, needless to say, my AF is still no where to be seen yet. I did nothing to wean or drop his feedings as he will keep on fighting me til he’s on my boobs. I’ve been TTCing (not regularly though) since he turned 1 with the hope of catching the first egg, but it’s so disappointing to get negative every mth.

  13. Chloe says:

    Hi, I know this is an old post but I found it through a google search in trying to find information and support about TTC while breastfeeding. I see that you were successful in your TTC another child – congratulations! Sorry if you’ve posted this elsewhere, but can you share your experience in getting pregnant the second time around? Is there anything you did differently that contributed to your success? I’m pretty much in the exact same scenario you were in back then and would love to hear your more about your TTC #2 story. I really don’t want to wean, but I’m in my late 30’s and time is ticking. Thanks!

    • Hi Chloe- I’m sorry it took me so long to reply. I hope that this may find you already pregnant or cuddling a new baby. My experience was that I scaled back enough nursing to start my cycle. I also introduced acupuncture for fertility into my weekly routine. I found a practitioner that was knowledgeable in fertility and lactation points so I could keep nursing but also TTC more actively. I was already familiar with NFP so I also used some of the information and practices from there.
      It is now almost 2 years later and we are finding ourselves in a similar position but Little#2 has no interest in weaning and I have yet to begin acupuncture again. Good luck and baby dust!

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