Many women believe the old wives' tale that getting pregnant while breastfeeding isn't possible. And if they do, they might give their baby a sibling sooner than they thought!
Most breastfeeding moms experience lactation amenorrhea, which means they have little or no periods. This can lead them to believe that they are not ovulating, but the University of Maryland Medical Center says that getting pregnant while breastfeeding can and does happen.
So how can you detect ovulation if you aren't having a period? Marquette University offers a few tips to discover early signs of fertility:
- An increase in vaginal mucus: If you notice an increase or change in your vaginal discharge, especially if it transitions from thick and white to thin, clear and elastic, you are probably ovulating.
- Temperature spikes: If you monitor your temperature as a preventive measure, watch for increases that aren't related to illness because your body temp rises during ovulation.
- Discolored discharge: As your menstrual cycle returns, it might not look like a normal period at first. Many women notice small amounts of brown or pink discharge instead of red blood, but that discharge can still mean that fertility has returned.
Playing it safe
If you don't want to rush in to making Baby No. 2, make sure that you and your partner play it safe by using contraception. This will help you to avoid any unexpected surprises, and you'll feel more in control of your family planning. Always talk to your OB/GYN to help you decide on the right method of birth control for you.
Trying for another baby
If you want to become pregnant while you are breastfeeding, certain things can speed up your fertility. In general, whenever your milk supply decreases, your fertility hormones increase. Older babies and toddlers develop different nursing patterns than younger infants, so when your baby reaches 6 months of age or older, fertility becomes more likely. For example, if you have an older baby, start her on a few solid foods and the demand on your milk supply will go down and your fertility should go up. Try to keep calm because stress can also decrease your milk flow. Little stressors, from increasing your exercise to starting a new part-time job, can affect milk production and fertility.