Getting pregnant while breastfeeding may be a bit more difficult, but it is certainly possible. Here are some tips for increasing your chances. You should know that you can even get pregnant without having a period!
The best thing you can to do increase your chances of getting pregnant while nursing is to stop breastfeeding in the middle of the night. Your body will produce the most prolactin between 1am and 6am. If you nurse during that time, you will stimulate more prolactin production.
If you are trying to increase your breast milk supply and also decrease the chances you will ovulate, nurse between 1AM and 6AM. If you want to increase your chances of getting pregnant while breastfeeding, avoid nursing during this time as it often interferes with ovulation and achieving pregnancy.
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You should know that you can even get pregnant without having a period if you are breastfeeding. If you don’t believe us, read Aisha’s story (below) about Breastfeeding for Natural Pregnancy Spacing for a perspective on this topic from a mother of eight children that has never really stopped nursing and has had seven healthy pregnancies without even having a period before getting pregnant.
Signs that you may be pregnant even though you haven’t your menses
There are three things that a nursing mother may notice that indicate she may be pregnant again despite the fact that she hasn’t had a period since her child was born.
An unexplained decrease in milk supply is often a sign that a woman is pregnant. Usually not a permanent situation, most women experience a significant decrease when getting pregnant. If this is your situation, don’t worry, your supply will likely adjust back up and you can continue nursing. For more information read Breastfeeding While Pregnant Pregnant.
Unexplained nipple sensitivity is another sign that you may have gotten pregnant while breastfeeding. This symptom will also go away as your pregnancy progresses.
Unexplained fatigue or thirst are both signs that you may have been successful in getting pregnant while breastfeeding. As long as you drink plenty of fluids and increase your sleep, there is no reason why you can’t continue breastfeeding during your pregnancy.
What to do if you are having trouble getting pregnant while breastfeeding
If you have given up middle of the night nursing and are still having trouble getting pregnant, you may need to eliminate another nursing or two until you are down to 5-6 nursings a day to increase your chances of getting pregnant while breastfeeding. Normally 5-6 breast feedings a day are enough to maintain a supply of milk, but will not produce prolactin levels that prevent pregnancy.
If your period does not return after giving up the middle of the night and extra nursing’s, then consider visiting an acupuncturist. Acupuncture combined with Traditional Chinese Medicine is wonderful for reestablishing periods after pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you still haven’t had a period after giving acupuncture a go for a couple months you may need to cut back further on breastfeeding in order to re-establish your reproductive cycle.
If you do have a period, but you are having trouble getting pregnant, read Tips for Getting Pregnant Naturally to become familiar with your cycle and to maximize your chances of getting pregnant each month. As long as you have given up the middle of the night breastfeeding, you should be able to get pregnant just like anyone else.
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