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My name is Kim, I EBF my 4 month old daughter and just got my period yesterday. I was really not expecting my fertility to return so quickly. I don't pump, my daughter is nursing every 3-4 hours day and night (we co-sleep), she doesn't even use a pacifier! So yes, DH and I thought we had a couple more months at least.
My question is: what now? We have practiced NFP for the almost five years we have been married, both to avoid and to conceive. We use the sympto-thermal method (cervical fluid and BBT) as explained in "Taking Charge of Your Fertility." I guess it's time to start charting again!
My main question is about when I should take my temperature since I am waking to nurse LO at various points through the night and early mornig hours (for example, 8 pm, 1 am, 4 am, 6 am, 7:30 am, get up at 8 am). As long as she's in bed with us and I'm not getting out of bed to nurse (at most, I'm awake for 5 minutes to switch sides, help her latch, and fall back to sleep), can I reliably take my temperature just before getting up for the day? Even if I haven't been actually asleep for the three hours prior to that?
I'd love to hear other thoughts, comments, advice, or personal experiences!
STM is not the only type of NFP that there is. I know that there are a few ladies that use Billings Ovulation Method which is a CM only form of NFP. I don't have any experience with anything that you ask, but I know with doing STM myself my temps can go absolutely crazy with anything so I don't think that would be something that would be too reliable if you are seriously wanting to TTA. Good luck with post baby TTA!
I never did really rely on my temp to chart my fertility. I guess you can say that I am a Billings Method follower. I rely on my cm patterns to predict when I will ovulate. This has been a reliable method for me as I have done this for close to ten years with great results.
You should look into using this method, it is very reliable.
I chose BOM because I was still up with my son in the middle of the night at 7 months to BF when I decided to switch to NFP. I got my first AF just day's after my bleeding stopped and approx monthly after that. It is really easy to do once you get the hang of it, trust it, and get your DH on board with avoiding. Condoms are not approved with BOM. Shawna, the host of this board, teaches BOM so she can answer your questions in detail, but there are also some links in the resources sticky.
AJ (age 7) & Katie (age 2.5) PM to see if I am available to make a siggy - decisions will be made on a case by case basis.
With that sleeping schedule you might be better off to learn one of the mucus only methods (Billings, Creighton, or Family of the Americas). You can always try to temp as close to the same time as possible and see how the chart looks. If it's insanely erratic, then you may not be able to rely on temps while you're up so much at night. We've used Billings while breastfeeding and it keeps everything pretty simple once you learn it properly.
I just thought I would add that you can use the STM if you want but applying it will be different during this time of returning to fertility. You would end up relying more on mucus observations, but you don't necessarily have to switch to a totally different method (if you'd rather not). I am in this time of returning to fertility during breastfeeding, too. I found this book, The Art of NFP Postpartum Student Guide, really helpful (it's the yellow/orange one): http://ccli.org/shop/onlineshopping....&order_by=name
It describes how women's fertility generally returns and gives you a couple new rules to add to what you already know.
Also, your temps will very likely be erratic, but not even necessarily because of your lack of sleep so much as the fact that you are breasfeeding and most likely not ovulating quite yet. If you do temp and see that a lot of your temps are really low (like 96.5-97), that is also due to breastfeeding and tells you that you probably haven't ovulated yet because your lactation hormones are still suppressing it.
You also may be glad to know that breastfeeding mamas can still get fairly accurate temps if you take it during one of the times you wake up between 5 & 7 a.m. My CCL NFP instructor gave me an article on that and that made me feel better that my temps weren't meaningless because of my crazy sleep. The article said that studies show that your temp generally raises after 7pm by .1 degree per half hour no matter if you stay in bed or not, but is relatively steady during that early morning window. So if you take it every morning in that window, whenever you wake to nurse, you can still have some confidence in your temps. BUT don't be surprised if you see no pattern because although you've had bleeding it was probably not a "real period" (which follows ovulation), but withdrawal bleeding. But that book I mentioned would teach you what to look for in your chart so you can try to avoid getting pregnant.
Hope that helps! Good luck, whatever you choose!
Last edited by TaraJo827; March 24th, 2009 at 08:25 AM.