Hi there, mamas and papas. A mom of an eight month old wrote in asking about the likelihood of getting pregnant while breastfeeding. Since this happened to me a few times, I answer her query in today’s new video.
Generally speaking, breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding, discourages pregnancy. I consulted one of my favorite sites Kelly Mom on this issue. This site makes clear that many of the techniques that allow us to produce milk for our babies — including holding your baby close, frequent nursing sessions, and avoiding supplementing with bottles of formula — also can prevent the onset of pregnancy. When new moms exclusively breastfeed, the time before which they will ovulate is delayed. Thus, if you are looking to get pregnant right away, you might want to consider curbing your breastfeeding by supplementing with formula.
Being a staunch advocate of breastfeeding, I find typing this advice to be uncomfortable. Breastmilk builds a baby’s immune system and likewise brings outstanding health benefits for the mother, reducing her changes of developing various cancers and other diseases.
So, although you might be very anxious to become pregnant with your next child, place the advantages of breastfeeding firmly into the equation when it settling upon your family planning. How many children do you dream of? How close in age would you like them to be? Perhaps you can make it to a year of breastfeeding before slowly weaning your baby and trying to get pregnant again. Consult with you pediatrician and your OB and see what their thoughts are.
Breastfeeding and Pregnancy
With all that said, here’s a bit more on my experience and check out my video for more detail. I got pregnant while breastfeeding several times. With my second baby, I got pregnant when my first was only five months old and had not yet had a bottle. Ditto with my third: I became pregnant when my second baby was short of 9 months. Having read up on this now, I realize that statistically speaking, this is rare, which makes me feel fortunate. Having my children close in age worked for me since I started on the late side and knew I wanted to have quite a few children. You and your partner will have to chat it over and figure out what works for you.
Check out my video for more thoughts and thanks so much for tuning in.