FET while Breastfeeding Anyone?


#1

Hi! I am currently BFing (and co-sleeping) with my 12 month old DS. I am ready to prepare for our next FET - my DH is 38 and I’m 33- but I am not ready to fully wean. I am still nightfeeding, and thinking of doing Jay Gordon’s nightweaning and then doing FET while still daytime feeding. I know the FET meds and pregnancy hormones will lower my milk, so I am hoping that will encourage full weaning on it own.

My RE said that prolactin levels may interfere with implantation, but I have read about success stories with FET while BFing. I’ve read that women with AF (I’ve had mine since 10 w pp) don’t have elevated prolactin. I am getting my prolactin drawn, and if it is normal I am thinking of doing the FET while BFing.

Anyone have experience with this?


#2

Are you considering doing a natural FET, then?

My RE won’t let you do any hormones while breastfeeding, he says they’re just not 100% certain about how much passes in the breastmilk and what levels are absorbed by the baby and the effects of that and consider the risk to the breastfeeding child to be unacceptable.


#3

No it would be medicated - BC, then estrogen and progesterone.


#4

Studies show that those getting pregnant while breastfeeding is very rare and the reason is that the prolactin IS too elevated for TTC purposes. What I mean is that since prolactin levels are supposed to be higher in those breastfeeding it isn’t clinically considered elevated so what you are seeing as far as those having an AF not having elevated prolactin despite breastfeeding isn’t really the full picture since their levels aren’t considered clinically high, but for the purpose of conception it is. This is one reason why most even without infertility do not get pregnant while breastfeeding despite regular periods. There is some birth control protection in breastfeeding.
So, in my opinion, if you are going to put your time, money, emotion, and frozen embryos into a cycle you want that cycle to have the very best chance and breastfeeding during that cycle will reduce your odds of conception.

Totally understand why you are wanting to get the ball rolling though. Whatever you decide to do I hope it all works out and you get your BFP!! :flower:


#5

Not to debate, but that is completely untrue that it is rare to become pregnant while breastfeeding. Before 6 months with no cycle yes, but after 6 months and eapecially after cycle returns it is common to become pregnant. I read that 19% of breastfeeding mothers become pregnant by 12 months. That is far from rare.

Also I do not believe it is true that if you have a low prolactin and ovulate, fertility is lowered. Unless there is a luteal phase defect (not enough progesterone). Did a doctor give you this information or you are just surmising?

Anyways, I just wanted personal experiences from women if possible. I do understand that I want to maximize my chances, of course! That is why I am debating what to do. I have noticed that women who do not breastfeed very long don’t appreciate the breatfeeding relationship or how hard it can be to wean. Babies/toddler become quite attached!


#6

I wasn’t lucky enough to have any snowbabies, but I understand the heartache of weaning. I weaned at 14 months because I really wanted to try for baby #2 and my doctor absolutely refused to even give me progesterone while nursing. We have one shot left and if we don’t get pregnant this time, it will feel like I weaned for nothing when I should have been enjoying that special bond for as long as I could since it was my only chance.


#7

[QUOTE=essemkay]I wasn’t lucky enough to have any snowbabies, but I understand the heartache of weaning. I weaned at 14 months because I really wanted to try for baby #2 and my doctor absolutely refused to even give me progesterone while nursing. We have one shot left and if we don’t get pregnant this time, it will feel like I weaned for nothing when I should have been enjoying that special bond for as long as I could since it was my only chance.[/QUOTE]

Exactly! I really hope your next shot works! It’s so hard to balance giving our current miracle babies all the love and bonding we can while working toward another baby. I guess I don’t see why progesterone is a problem since it is high during a “normal” pregnancy. Plus the mini pill is a progestin pill. Sigh. I guess I am going to nightwean first and then get my prolactin checked. My RE is fine giving me birth control while BFing but wants me weaned prior to the rest. I would lie and still BF 3-4 times daily. My LO only latches for a few minutes each time, so really not much total suckling. I know, I know, not great, but I’m torn. I have read other sites of women doing the same and getting a BFP, so I was hoping for more such stories on here. It sucks knowing I have had my cycle for 10 months now and I’m pretty sure I’m ovulating (definite LH surge), so if my DH’s sperm were healthy I could just get pregnant while BFing no worries. :grr: Wish me luck night weaning-it won’t be fun and lots of crying (although I will be comforting him so no CIO).


#8

Actually, the night weaning might go more easily than you think. I sent my husband in to comfort her with a glass of water and after the first 2 nights, she decided water and dad weren’t worth waking up for and slept through the night after that.

It was the daytime when she would come up and ask me to nurse and then throw a fit and try to rip my clothes off that was harder to take.

And nursing for only a few minutes, he’s probably getting more than you think, sometimes as much as 4-5 ounces. They get crazy efficient.


#9

I don’t think I’d be willing to breast feed with all the hormones of a fully managed cycle.

I was still nursing my daughter about 4 times a week when I started my first post-daughter FET cycle. It was a natural cycle and my prolactin levels were down. My clinic would not do a cycle while breastfeeding, so after determining that their only three reasons were (1) prolactin (which was normal) and (2) medications (which I wasn’t taking any that were of concern) and (3) protocol (which isn’t my problem) I decided not to tell them I was still nursing a little.

Well, about the time of transfer DD started increasing the nursing she was doing some. The cycle wasn’t successful, but I am positive it had nothing to do with nursing. I’ve had two more failed cycles after she weaned so I don’t see how nursing can be blamed. Anyway, I was glad I didn’t wean in order to do the cycle because I didn’t end up with a baby out of it anyway and DD increased back up to once or twice a day and went on to nurse for about 6 more months before she finally self-weaned at 23 months of age. I would have felt really bad if I would have cut her off only to have a failed FET anyway.


#10

If your prolactin levels are normal and your little one is not exclusively BFing then a natural IVF cycle should be possible, but some docs won’t do it. I nursed my twins up until December and as soon as they were done nursing I started looking into doing an FET cycle. I didn’t want to do one while nursing because 1. I’d have to find a new doc because my doc wouldn’t do it… as it is he raised a huge stink about the mammogram being done before I had finished nursing for 6 months… 2. I didn’t want anything interfering with my breastfeeding relationship. Honestly, you are young and unless there are other factors involved I would say it can’t hurt to wait. Ultimately it is up to you but they don’t really have many studies and you likely could get pregnant but with a lower chance of success. If it were me, I’d savour that nursing relationship with your son and give yourself the best chance of success by waiting. It’s so much money to do a cycle and depending on how big a family you want you wouldn’t want to waste embies on a cycle that might otherwise be successful.


#11

I guess I should add that I don’t believe in “weaning” babies. They will stop when their bodies and spirits are ready.


#12

My RE wouldn’t even see me until I was lactation free for 2 months at least. And we were doing a natural cycle. Though 19% of women who are breastfeeding get pregnant that’s still 80% who don’t. As we have limited fertility coverage, my husband and I didn’t want to risk it so I waited until I was no longer expressing milk before moving forward. It still took 3 cycles to get a positive.

I was an exclusive pumper and was not breast feeding and had been having regular cycles for 5 months before seeing my RE again. I don’t know if pumping 8 times a day makes a difference versus nursing 8-10 times a day. I also worried about exposing my daughter to hormones even in small doses. I don’t know what kind of effect they may have on her later in life.

If you’re doc will do it, and you’re 100% comfortable, go for it.


#13

I’m trying to decide when to do FET also. DD is 9 mos and still EBFs. I too don’t believe in weaning a baby, I think they should be allowed to self wean. As far as women not getting pregnant while BF, I don’t know about statistics, but what I do know is that my younger sister got pregnant with her 2nd while she was still EBF her 1st who was a yr old and she continued to BF until her 6 month of pregnancy, she is now 13 weeks pregnant with her 3rd while EBF her 2nd who is going to be 2 yo next month, and I’m sure she’ll continue to BF him until her 3rd trimester.


#14

I nursed my daughter until she was 16 months old. She nursed pretty much all night - ok weaned her from the day nursing a first and she naturally weaned herself from the through the night feedings- the one before bed was the last to go. I started when she was about a year old - so it took 4 months- before she was done nursing. I could not imagine going through a cycle while nursing. I stopped in late November and we were going to do a transfer in jan but I held off til now only cuz I wanted to give my body a few months to balance so I’d have the best chance. Also my RE would not take the chance of exposing my baby with any fertilty drugs and honestly- I’m glad for that. I would suggest being honest with your RE- you will never forgive yourself if your son had any side effects from the fertilty drugs- no matter how little he nurses. There’s a reason why REs won’t do a cycle while nursing-- give it a few more months cuz u also don’t want to regret ending that relationship for a cycle - no matter the outcome. I’m glad and happy with the way I did it and am looking forward to being pregnant again and nursing that baby as well


#15

I wasn’t BF when I went through my FET - which was not successful but…

I did a lot of research on it because I thought I might do FET earlier than I did. There is a really interesting podcast from an Australian lactation consultant who BF through two successful FET’s and explains why the estrogen and progesterone - already present in women’s bodies, are not a problem. I can’t recall her name - but probably still available by googling.

Anyway - she argues that some, but not all, REs routinely refuse this really know nothing about actual lactation, breast milk and babies and that their reluctance is based on that lack of understanding and therefore they are cautious about something that she doesn’t believe applies. Anyway - she advocates for continued BF as long as periods have returned and she outlines a few other conditions.

It is an interesting read. If I was in the position to do it, I would not hesitate if the cycle only involved estrogen and progesterone. I would not do it if I had a cycle where they suppressed with Lupron which i have seen in some FET protocols.

Good luck with your FET whatever you choose!


#16

Natural FET & BF

My daughter is 17 months and BF. I’m starting a natural FET (the only med. is a trigger shot of HCG). I’m thinking that should be ok. I don’t want to actively wean but I also want to have the best shot at a successful implantation.


#17

[QUOTE=Fluidity]I wasn’t BF when I went through my FET - which was not successful but…

I did a lot of research on it because I thought I might do FET earlier than I did. There is a really interesting podcast from an Australian lactation consultant who BF through two successful FET’s and explains why the estrogen and progesterone - already present in women’s bodies, are not a problem. I can’t recall her name - but probably still available by googling.

Anyway - she argues that some, but not all, REs routinely refuse this really know nothing about actual lactation, breast milk and babies and that their reluctance is based on that lack of understanding and therefore they are cautious about something that she doesn’t believe applies. Anyway - she advocates for continued BF as long as periods have returned and she outlines a few other conditions.

It is an interesting read. If I was in the position to do it, I would not hesitate if the cycle only involved estrogen and progesterone. I would not do it if I had a cycle where they suppressed with Lupron which i have seen in some FET protocols.

Good luck with your FET whatever you choose![/QUOTE]

Thanks! I heard very similar statements about the meds. I am going to do an FET while BFing with estrogen and progesterone suppositories after 1 month of BCP, but have decided to try to nightwean first and wait until LO is closer to 18 months. I think my supply will likely plummet either due to meds or hopefully due to pregnancy, so I don’t want to upset LO too much if that happens. I have been ovulating, but my luteal phase was only 8-9 days this month (so short), but the progesterone etc should “fix” this. This is why I would NOT do an UNmedicated cycle while BFing - lowers chances of success.

I saw your signature - congrats on your BFP!


#18

Halcyon, Thank you for your post. My son is 16 months old and pretty attached to breast feeding. He is very persistent in requesting “boobie” and easily frustrated when he doesn’t get it immediately. I will be 40 years old in 3 months, so I really feel like we should do our FET soon. We have to ice babies, and if they both fail, I would like the option of doing some medicated IUIs. (No t enough money to do anything more than that.) Hearing people’s opinions and the debate on this issue has been helpful to me! I will go back and ask my doctor if she will be doing a natural cycle, whether she would do it while I am breastfeeding, and how “compromised” my chances may be if I continue to breastfeed. I have done a quick google scholar search to see if there is actually any medical research on implantation rates being harmed in FETs, but I didn’t find anything.


#19

Hi! I personally would not do anything without progesterone at a minimum. Implantation can definitely be affected by a short luteal phase, which is VERY common if breastfeeding. I have been tracking ovulation and my luteal phase seems to be only 7 days roughly. Too short.
Also high prolactin levels can affect implantation as well, perhaps due to its affect on lowering progesterone as well. Also are you sure you are ovulating (to do a natural IUI)? I read that clomid can be used I think-although most docs prob won’t. I’ll have to find link. I once did a natural IUI and it was kind of hard since I didn’t buy ovulation kit with smily face and had trouble telling when I was truly positive. Also some BFing women have LH surge without actually ovulating 24-48 hours later or at all.

Good luck!


#20

I BF through my February FET with the approval from RE. Since I had started my period 6 months prior to the FET he wasn’t concerned about it interfering with implantation. I brought up the meds and her being exposed and I felt ok with it. The cycle ended in a chemical pregnancy however and I just had another FET Friday and I’ve not let her nurse just out of curiosity! She’s 19 months and we co sleep. You’ll make the right choice for you!! I’ve got friends who did and have had successful cycle!! Best of luck