My children have all been planned. I initially 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.
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. 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.
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 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 actual 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.
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.