Many women, who are older, want to complete their families by having children in quick succession. While doctors do not ideally recommend this, there are instances and accidents when unintentional pregnancies are known to occur during breastfeeding.
Many women are under the myth that they cannot get pregnant during breastfeeding but this is far from the truth.
While lactation does cause temporary amenorrhea, there are still chances of ovulating before you even get your first period. If you are planning to become pregnant during breastfeeding, here are some ways to do so.
Tips To Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding
Chart your Menstrual Cycles
It is a good idea to chart your menstrual cycle while you are pregnant. If you have already started to have your periods, there is a good chance that conception may occur. If your periods are regular, try having unprotected sexual intercourse during the most fertile period of your cycle. If your periods are irregular, you can still have sex but will have to so do more regularly so as to maximize your chances of conception.
Suppression of periods is caused due to the high levels of prolactin hormone, a hormone that aids breastfeeding. This hormone is produced in liberal quantities when infants suckle on their mother’s breasts. The suckling reflex is an important factor in production of the hormone.
You can suppress this hormone by pumping out the milk during some feedings and giving the expressed milk to your child from a bottle. A few pumpings could reverse your cycle and enable you to get your period so that you can ovulate and conceive.
Increase the gap Between Feedings
Try to increase the gap between feedings. Follow a three hourly schedule instead of a two hourly schedule. Alternately, you can also wean your child at night by keeping a considerable gap between feeds or giving the child a top feed. The longer the gap in between feedings, the more the chances of getting pregnant. You can try this for a few months to see.
Experiment with the Breastfeeding Patterns
Experimenting with the breastfeeding patterns like cutting down on one feeding, tapering the feedings or increasing the gap between feeds can help you to conceive. You can also speak to your doctor who can give suggestions for enhancing the likelihood of you conceiving.
Early weaning is one of the best ways of getting pregnant. Start weaning the child after 3-4 months to boost your chances of getting a fertile menstrual cycle. While this is certainly not recommended, as you should nurse your baby for at least 6 months, it is worth giving it a try.
Do speak to your doctor who may give you the green signal after taking into account certain factors like age, your fertility status and the number of children you have had before. Early weaning of the child will give you a boost in getting pregnant and having yet another baby.
Reducing the time Duration of each Feed
Most babies can suckle for hours at the mother’s breasts even after they have finished feeding. This can lead to increased production of the hormone prolactin, which further suppresses the menstrual cycle. Try to reduce the time durations of each feed by not feeding the child for more than 10 minutes.
Do not allow the child to fall asleep suckling at your breast. This is a common tendency amongst new mothers. Speak to your doctor if your baby refuses to leave your breast for suckling.
Do not Breastfeed Beyond 6 Months
If having another baby is on the cards, early weaning at 6 months maybe the best trick in the book to get pregnant and have a baby. Women who breast feed for a longer time and go beyond 1 year have a harder time conceiving another baby as compared to women who wean after 6 months. Put your child on semi solids and solids after 6 months to maximize your chances of conception.
Supplementing Feeds with Formula
Try giving 1-2 feeds a day to your child using formula milk. However, you have to be sure that your baby will take to the formula milk, as many babies are very attached to their mother’s milk and do not like the taste of formula.
Speak to your doctor about a good brand or dabble in brands to see which formula your baby will like.
If your baby is fond of suckling at the breast as a means of self-soothing, you are in trouble. This will hinder conception and make it more difficult for you to get pregnant. Try to soothe your baby with the help of a pacifier as this will cut time at the breast, which will then force your body to produce more of the ovulatory hormones.
Give your Body time to Recover
While you may be in a terrible hurry to get pregnant, this is not the time when you should be planning a pregnancy. Planning a pregnancy soon after the delivery of your first-born is likely to take a toll on your body in more ways than one.
Your body needs at least a year before you try to become pregnant again. Give yourself at least 6 months before you decide to give pregnancy another try. Your body will thank you for it and you will also not be depriving your first born of the goodness of mother’s milk that is nutritionally important for all newborn babies.
Working soon after your baby is born can also increase your chances of becoming pregnant. This is because of the number of expressed feedings and the time spent away from the baby. This allows your period to return sooner than normal. During this time if you do not practice safe sex, you can become pregnant even if you do not get your period immediately after.
These are some of the ways by which women can become pregnant while breastfeeding. It is important to note that conception will take time and will be more difficult due to the presence of breastfeeding hormones in the body.