My children have all been planned and I conceived successfully while breastfeeding three times. For my first pregnancy, I used a basal body thermometer and inexpensive ovulation test strips to track ovulation. I woke up every morning and took my temperature under my tongue before I even spoke (as per the thermometers instructions) and used the strips. It worked! We were expecting our first baby in no time. However, I learned that concieving and breastfeeding was harder.
When it came time to plan for baby #2 it wasn’t as easy. I couldn’t track a temperature pattern. I called my OB. She said that my temperature wasn’t reliable due to breastfeeding and my hormone levels. Getting pregnant while breastfeeding was a bit trickier. The thermometer was no longer an option and it was time to move on. I started researching other ways to determine ovulation in what could be unpredictable cycles. I was told by a Doula that there are certain ways to read your cervical mucus, which I don’t have time or interest in. The search for an answer was on!
I certainly wasn’t going to wean my son. I knew that there had to be another way. I found myself in the disposable pads-condoms-pregnancy tests at Target. I picked up inexpensive ovulation test strips the first time which were reliable with my first son. I purchased these again and discovered that I had 2 lines signaling Folicle stimulating hormone (FSH) for almost a week! Despite this inaccuracy, we were able to conceive baby 2 and 3, but it certainly wasn’t a pin-point ovulation. Post contains affiliate links.
When it came time for baby 4…I noticed that my cycle returned later. Breastfeeding can naturally delay your period, and while tandem nursing babies 2 and 3 it took almost 1 year for my cycle to return. Yay if I wasn’t planning on another baby…but the delay made conceiving seem more urgent. It’s important for me to have my babies close together, so I got to work. I started using the inexpensive test strips again and after 3 months I was confused. I would get 2 lines regularly and they were vague, I couldn’t pinpoint ovulation. I knew it was time to pull out the professional tools and I purchased digital Ovulation Tests from the store. The kind that look like pregnancy tests. These worked in 1 month! Instead of getting a vague 2 lines like I did on the test strips, I didn’t get 2 lines until I had a definite FSH surge. Bingo!
If you’re trying to conceive while breastfeeding, I definitely recommend using the higher quality ovulation tests. In my experience, they are more reliable, accurate and alleviate stress and confusion other methods may have.