Breastfeeding dilemma

Hello ladies I have a dilemma and I wonder if you could help. I had my little girl in October and she's now 15 weeks. She's exclusively breast fed and feeds about 3 hourly during the day (sometimes less) and 3-4 hourly at night. I think some of the time she's sucking for comfort too. We co-sleep so often I'll wake up and she'll be helping herself!

Now I am more than happy to continue breastfeeding but I am 33 and would like at least one more child but probably 2 and maybe more. Also it took 9 months to become pregnant with this baby so I'm not confident it will happen quickly if we were to start trying again.

So the way I see it I can either continue what I'm doing and take a chance with future pregnancies ie difficulty getting pregnant/older age so higher risk pregnancy/having less children or I try and wean this one onto food or formula early than I would have liked.

Also do I have to get her into a cot to stop her nursing at night or might my periods return if I continue to nurse at night? How many times a day were people breast feeding before their periods returned? I'd love to give her some breast milk longer term but not sure if I want to do this at the expense of giving her a brother or sister.

Also if I express milk and freeze it will this be better than formula - surely freezing it destroys lots of the ???????goodness????????

Help me please!

(also in breastfeeding forum)


  • Hi MrsMermaid

    Oddlly I was just about to post about breastfeeding for comfort. Liv is also 15 weeks (ish, I loose count!) and feeds roughly every 3 hours in the day and at night more. Last night for example she fed at 1am 3 something 5am and then 7am.

    On the clusterfeeding/co sleeping front I have been doing this myself between 5 and 7/8, up until last night. Liv had previously been clusterfeeding between those hours and it was just easier to have my boob next to her so she could help herself. But slowly she has stopped doing that so last night I tried putting her back in her crib after the 5am feed and she slept through until 7am. So I think for a couple of months she needed to feed that much but lately it HAS just been a comfort thing.

    So I don't think your little one would stop wanting to feed if she was in a cot all night, but then, maybe she would, who knows?

    Sorry, not much help there really!

    And also I can't really help with the periods returning question either - I'm really rubbish!!
  • When would you have liked to wean her if having another baby wasn't an issue? I always thought I'd stop BF at 6 months, but when we got there things were so easy, that I really wanted to carry on. I'm back at work now, so doing two FF during the day, but I'm still feeding her morning and night myself. She's 9 months and I still haven't had a period, even just on 2 feeds a day.

    It is possible to get pregnant whilst BF - I'm sure there are lots of Mums on here who would testify to that! In the grand scheme of things, would another 3 months make a massive difference? You could always stop using contraception and see what happens until you are ready to stop BF.
  • I swapped two of DS' feeds for formula at 6 months, and 4 weeks later my periods returned! Might it be worth holding out to 6 months EBF, then maybe introducing one feed at a time from a bottle until your cycle returns?

    BTW, 33 is young! My friend has just had her 4th at 41 and looks fantastic on it.
  • In response to Lizzies question:

    "It is possible to get pregnant whilst BF"

    YES! My friend has an eleven month old, is solely breastfeeding and is now 3 months pregnant.

    My sister is law is 40 and had her first at 38 and second 2 days before her 40 birthday and looks better than me at 31! While I do understand the worry with pregnancy and age, 33 is young in this day and age.

    Also, if you are worried about it taking a while to conceive, invest in the clear blue fertility monitor. It also took me 9 months and I conceived on the second month of using it. It was a godsend!

  • hey just a thought why not try some cheapy OPKs to see if you're ovulating- if you are you wont need to worry about stopping feeding x
  • "My friend has an eleven month old, is solely breastfeeding and is now 3 months pregnant." your friend is only giving breastmilk to an eleven month old?!?! image

    when you start introducing food baby takes less milk, so often that is when people's fertility returns. so around the 5-6 month mark. i ebf for the first 6 months and my first af was at 5.5 months. when i introduced food at 6 months af became regular. it's exclusively breastfeeding (which means no other food source) thats the contraception.

    expressed breastmilk is better than formula, even if defrosted, but as its you expressing so that probably wont make any difference than bfing direct.

    firstly, id put baby in a cot as she might start to sleep through, so you'd be skippng a night feed or two.
  • Reneewantsabump - god no! I meant with regards to milk. Maybe I should have been clearer...!
  • ah right! thought that didnt sound right. hvs would be having a fit. then she would have got pregant after starting weaning, which is when fertility returns usually for a bfing mother. bfing is only a contracetopin (if you want to risk it) while bfing exclusively every few hours and through the night.
  • ah right! thought that didnt sound right. hvs would be having a fit. then she would have got pregant after starting weaning, which is when fertility returns usually for a bfing mother. bfing is only a contracetopin (if you want to risk it) while bfing exclusively every few hours and through the night.
  • Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply.

    Mostly i was interested in when peoples' periods restarted.

    Lizzie_76 it wouldn't matter if it was only 3 months but because it took quite a time last time i'm thinking 3 months more breastfeeding, then probably some time before i ovulate and then a few months to get pregnant. Also i was hoping to continue breastfeeding once or twice a day longerterm but definitely wouldnt do this if it stopped periods returning completely.

    Maenad its quite encouraging for me that your periods returned so quickly after just substituting 2 feeds. If that were to happen i'd be quite happy to continue 1 or 2 feeds a day (breastfeeding). I plan to continue until she's 4 months just breast feeding then between 4 and 6 months start solids - when she seems ready. Just not sure about the formula. When a baby starts solids do they start juice/water as well or mainly still milk? How often does a 6-7 month old nurse?

    lolashola i know it is possible but i don't think we are the most fertile couple ever, plus i have a very sucky baby who doesnt sleep through the night and feeds at night so i just don't think it will happen like that for me. Also we don't use any contraception now but also didn't for 3 years before actively "trying" (just good old Catholic methodsimage ) so again this makes me think it might take a while next time.

    lolashola and _mummy2grace_ (grace is a lovely name btw) I have a CBFM and it did show me when i was ovulating but my cycles were all very regular anyway and it just confirmed what i knew. Also it wouldn't work at present because you have to be having a cycle of less than (i think) 40 days. Also i would know if i was ovulating because i would get a period 2 weeks later or a positive preg test. I haven't had either.

    Reneewantsabump its funny, the people that want breastfeeding to work as a contraception end up pregnant and those of us who don't end up with 100% contraception! I think its working so well for me because my baby feeds so often, she also sucks a lot when i suspect she isn't actually hungry and i think thats why i'm not ovulating. My thoughts on expressing were so that i could build up a little supply now and freeze it so that i could stop feeding her from me but she'd still be getting breast milk for a few extra weeks but surely it is not as good as fresh breast milk? Also some people say it tastes odd when defrosted due to an enzyme in breast milk. Is this true? Do babies ever refuse it after freezing?

    I feel a bit more positive after hearing stories of returning periods (never thought i'd say that)! Also i think i will try her in the cot again - i'm too soft when she cries though. Maybe BFing worked so well as contraception in the past because everyone co-slept and babies fed more at night?

    Oh and the age issue; i know it's common for people to delay motherhood, but it is more risky especially in terms of chromasomal abnormalities and thats why, as i would ideally like at least 2 more, i'm eager to get on with it! image

  • My af didn't return until I actually stopped feeding completely, and that was 7 months after having ds. My friend's returned at xmas, her daughter was just over 3 months. It really varies!

    As for the original dilemma question - I wouldn't stop bfing my baby to buy myself a couple of months, but that's me. I wouldn't take something away from one for the idea of another, iyswim. That's only me though, it's only what I could justify to myself! I sort of know the clock ticking feeling, but I still wouldn't put one onto formula to conceive the next one.

    Hopefully, as the other girls have said, you might conceive anyway before af returns! It happened to a wonderful friend of mine - and it happened to a friend's wife too, so it does happen! Good luck x
  • Thanks littlewolves it would be good if that happened to me, its just the unpredictabilty of the whole thing thats difficult.

    EmCB i know exactly what you mean and i dont want to sop breast feeding before 6 months although i might introduce solids earlier if she seems ready. I've started freezing milk. In a few weeks i'll start weening and then hopefully breastfeeding will reduce. If my periods don't return until i stop breast feeding then at least i'll have the frozen milk to continue with.

    Thanks x
  • I was BF DS exclusively till 6 months when I began weaning, 4 weeks later I began feeling unwell, did a pregnancy test to rule that out and got my DD1 8 1/2 months later, no period between them, no obvious signs of ovulating either. I continued to BF DS untill he gave up of his own accord when I was 6 months pregnant. Best of luck TTC x
  • Thanks mrscbw,it's good to hear stories like yours. I'm not desperate to have babies very close together but was worrying that it might take a long time.

    Also moonandstars thank you for you reply, i hope your little girl us settling. Must have missed you response earlier!

  • my baby wont have defrosted milk. :cry: ounzes and ouzes thrown away. she'll have fresh (ie pumped one day, put in the fridge and used the following day) in her cereal, but she wont have a bottle / cup of milk as a drink at all!
  • I bf my dd for 12months and my periods returned when she was 3 months. My son was also born in oct and is now about 17wks and my periods returned when he was 7wks. I think im in the minority though!
  • It really is so different for everyone. My periods didn't return until

    My DS was about 11 months and was feeding twice a day, however I was the last of my BF friends for my periods to return.

    Once you start weaning and are on 3 meals a day you will find the milk feeds will

    Drop anyway. My DS quickly went to 4, then 3 feeds a day. Perhaps if your LO is quick a sucky baby you could consider settling her in her cot at night with a dummy? That way she still gets to suck, but you are not doing night feeds as much which might help your periods return.

    Also when you reduce your feeds, it is worth waiting a few weeks to a month as you usually ovulate first then get your period, so your cycles may be returnig but obviously it would only be 14 days later when your period arrived you would realise (or you could be lucky and conceive before even seeing a period!).

    On a positive note I got pregnant while still BF once a day.

    Good luck, try not to worry and just do what you feel is right for you and your baby.

  • I fed my DS BM in a bottle from when he was only a few days old. BM still contains vital nutrients even if frozen and yes, it's definitely a better alternative than formula.

    As I expressed exclusively I kept a record of the times/amounts. I started off pumping 8 times in a 24 hour period, then gradually reduced it over several months. When I moved from 3 sessions a day down to 2 I got my period back. It was the only one I had because I got pregnant that month. If I had been bf'ing it would have been the same, periods would have returned when I was only feeding twice a day.

    In the end he got BM for 10 months and I stopped because I was pregnant and didn't want to tandem feed, particularly as I was expressing and hope to BF successfully this time. Oh I'm 38!

    HTH xx
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