As X-Man and friends celebrate their first birthdays in style, the topic of conversation among us mamas has shifted from nursing, weaning and nap times to planning baby number two.
Even though most of us are still reeling from the sleepless nights and dealing with a multitude of new challenges, from tantrums and teething to rising health insurance costs and finding the elusive work/life balance, we all have one thing in common – a second bundle of joy will (hopefully) be making an appearance at some point in the not too distant future.
While my brave friends are busy dusting down their maternity jeans and downloading ovulation apps – heck, some of them are pregnant again already – it soon became apparent that bagging baby number two may not be so straightforward for the breastfeeding mums among us.
“Err, have you actually got your monthly back yet?” whispered my friend Cat.
“Err, nope!” I replied.
“Me neither,” she laughed.
While we giggled away in the corner while our friends discussed potential baby names, I started to wonder whether being period-free for 21 months and counting – as liberating as that is – really did mean I was less likely to fall pregnant again than my ‘back in business’ buddies.
Don’t get me wrong, taking an extended lady break has been brilliant. PMT is the last thing I need to be dealing with right now on top of a stroppy 13 month old. But say I did want to pop out a troop of Bartle babies close in age. I suddenly felt like my chances could be getting slimmer by the day.
I’m not planning on giving up breastfeeding anytime soon, but I’m also acutely aware that my ‘’moment of suspense’ is most likely due to my nursing prowess. Indeed, breastfeeding is credited as an effective method of birth control (it’s called the lactational amenorrhea method, for your information). As I dug a little deeper, however, I soon learned that this comes with a whole load of conditions.
For starters, when your baby passes six month mark, you are much more likely to become pregnant, even if you’re still dealing with a ‘no show’. As my baby is now 13 months old, that’s a great big fat tick from the get-go.
In addition, you must be exclusively breastfeeding with no lengthy intervals between feedings. X-Man has had a formula (and now cow’s milk) bottle before bed from six months old, giving me another glimmer of hope.
What really put my clucking ovaries at rest, however, was confirmation from a reputable medical resource that you can indeed get pregnant before your first period (when you ovulate). Duh!
Now I understand why there is a sizeable tandem nursing community out there, and while I can’t imagine breastfeeding for that long I’m a firm believer that what will be will be. If we are lucky enough to be blessed with baby number two it will only make our family more complete and, of course, it means I won’t have to deal with the dreaded monthly anytime soon.