many causes of infertility but one that seems
to go unmentioned is breastfeeding. I’m one of the many moms who have decided to
long-term breastfeed my child. I’ve seen the health benefits of it, as well as
the emotional benefits, but one thing I’ve really struggled with is how hard it is to
conceive another baby while continuing to breastfeed my toddler. Ready for our
second child, my husband and I tried to get pregnant again. More than a year
and a half passed without any luck.
After the birth
of our firstborn, the midwife told us that breastfeeding was a 98 percent effective
form of contraception by using LAM (or the Lactational Amenorrhea
Method). This was fantastic news for us! We wanted to wait a while before
having another baby and enjoy our newborn. I loved the idea of not having to
take another form of birth control. I was already breastfeeding on demand so
not being able to get pregnant because of it was just an added bonus.
This journey is something that I’m not alone in. Part of me felt guilty about being frustrated.
But once my
menstrual cycle returned, I knew the Lactational Amenorrhea Method was something
we could no longer rely on as a guarantee. My husband and I spoke about the
possibility of having another baby and decided that we would be ready for
whatever happened. The problem was that nothing ever did—even when we
intentionally tried for another child.
journey is something that I’m not alone in. There are other moms I’ve spoken to
or have read about who are trying to get
pregnant but can’t for the same reason: breastfeeding. Part of me felt guilty
about being frustrated. I know there are plenty of women who can’t ever
conceive and here I was complaining about not being able to get pregnant with
our second child. But this was my own reality and something I couldn’t just
ignore, so we made an adjustment. We swapped places during our daughter’s
nighttime routine and that’s when everything changed.
to nurse her frequently throughout the day but started to get my husband
involved in the evenings. I would send her off with him after a good nursing
session so he could bathe her and then rock her straight to sleep. This meant
she was going anywhere from eight to 10 hours without needing me (i.e., without breastfeeding). I honestly believe that spacing out our time together meant that my prolactin levels had a chance to decrease,
causing my reproductive hormones to rise. Within a couple of weeks of this new routine,
conception happened. I was finally pregnant.