While breastfeeding does provide some protection against pregnancy, particularly during the first six months, you can get pregnant while breastfeeding. The return of fertility varies from individual to individual and is impacted by how frequently you breastfeed, formula supplementation, the introduction of solid foods and whether baby sleeps through the night. Regular menstrual periods signify that your fertility has returned, in most cases.
Wait until you menstrual period returns before you attempt to get pregnant while breastfeeding. In most cases, your first period will be an anovulatory cycle and you will not get pregnant, but this is less likely if your baby is more than six months old.
Begin charting your menstrual cycle. Note the days you have your period, starting your chart with the first day of your period. If you begin charting before you are having regular periods, start your chart on the calendar by noting your temperature and cervical fluid; however, this should not be considered cycle day 1.
Check your temperature each morning before getting out of bed with a basal body thermometer. Keep records of your temperature on your chart, starting with cycle day one. Increased temperatures signify ovulation.
Record the texture and appearance of your cervical fluid each day, noting whether it is dry, has a lotion-like texture or is quite stringy, resembling egg whites. Cervical fluid with an egg white consistency is a clear sign of fertility. Have sex daily or every other day when signs of fertility are present.
Review your charts for fertility signs or signs of pregnancy. If basal body temperatures remain high for a significant period, it is likely that you have succeeded and are pregnant.
Consider reducing breastfeeding frequency, increasing solid foods, or encouraging baby to sleep through the night if you do not see clear signs of ovulation and fertility, including a temperature spike for ovulation and fertile cervical mucus.
- Pregnancy will lower your milk supply and may cause your baby to wean.
- pregnant woman image by Valentin Mosichev from Fotolia.com