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OK, several items. 1) If you are just pumping, that doesn't change LAM at all. It is the feeding the baby the bottle that changes it. So are you pumping and storing, or pumping and bottle feeding?
2) Let's assume you are bottle feeding. It changes it because your pump will never ever do what the baby does. The baby can get out more than your pump will ever be able to. God made your body to know it was the baby and you need to keep giving the baby stuff, and it doesn't know that for the pump.
3) Now I'll tell you my personal experience with this. Some women can exclusively pump, like completely that's all they do, and not get their period back for months. So even though they can't use LAM all they'll ever have are infertile days on their calendar, and maybe a random day that is fertile but never results in anything. But for me, the only one of my children that I've made it for the whole LAM type experience (10 months actually) til my period returned was the one I decided I wouldn't bottle feed AT ALL, and then she went and wrecked LAM by having a nursing strike where I tried to get her to bottle feed (and pretty much failed). The more I bottle fed, (and when I say bottle, I mean pumped) the earlier my AF returned. So yes, while it feels like you're doing the same thing...you aren't. The breastmilk bottle is obviously healthy and you're still getting a lot of the benefits, but something about the skin of the baby and your skin touching and them actually sucking is different than the pump.
Ah, I see. I've been mainly pumping and storing. She has been given one bottle, though, and the intent of having a stored supply is for emergencies or if I'm otherwise unavailable and she needs to eat.
That makes sense, though. And thank you!
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Like Christen said, it's the bottles not the actual pumping that poses a problem for LAM. My little guy had latching issues in the beginning and so he got lots of bottles of expressed milk early on, and he still gets a bottle every day (never weaned him off his bedtime bottle), but I didn't start ovulating again until he was around 8 months. So even though LAM didn't work out for me, I still had a nice long infertile time.
Even if you do qualify for LAM, I'd highly recommend charting CM as soon as your pp bleeding stops. This will help you establish a BIP early on so you won't have to take the time to do it later.
I am nursing on demand, which is why I put "schedule" in quotes. She eats at roughly the same intervals most of the time, but that's because that's how/when she gets hungry and starts rooting around/otherwise signaling that it's noms time. I figured saying "schedule" with quotes was easier than saying, "those times when my body thinks it's time to nurse because she usually eats this far from her last feed but she happens to be sleeping or something right now". Sure, though. I'll clarify.