At least the trying is fun.
September 08, 2010

Donald and I want another baby.

It’s a fierce desire, this longing for another child.  We look at our family of three at the dinner table and feel that someone is missing.  We see our daughter totter about independently and want to rock an infant to sleep in our arms.  We sneak into our room at night, watch Charlotte slumbering by the light of the moon, and whisper to one another that we need another.

So we try.  We hope, we dream, we try.  We wish, we anticipate, we try.  We fantasize, we expect, we try.  We fail.  After thirteen months of breastfeeding, I am still effectively amenorrheic.  That is, although I may spot from time to time, I am not ovulating.  So we keep trying and we keep hoping, but we also keep failing.

If there is a downside to breastfeeding, it is this: the contraceptive powers of lactation are a force to be reckoned with.

Now, to be fair, we knew what we were getting ourselves into when we decided to breastfeed Charlotte on cue.  Part of the reason that we started trying to conceive again so soon after her birth was because we knew that allowing her to dictate the vast majority of the terms of our breastfeeding relationship would likely render us infertile for quite some time.

But breastfeeding is something that we both believe in.  We have studied it extensively, read every ethnopediatric book we could get our hands on, ordered hundreds of medical studies and anthropology articles and lactation textbooks sent to our local library, and concluded that breastfeeding on cue is still the best choice for our family right now.  Maybe not for your family, maybe not for our next child at the same age, but for us, right now, this is what works.

So here we are.  Reading and learning and wondering when a second child will join our family.  Believing that it is more important to nurture our firstborn than it is to bring a second into the world.  Coming to terms with the fact that our convictions may do more to determine our family’s ultimate size than our dreams.  Realizing that sometimes, even when you’re all grown up, you don’t always get what you want.

I’ll tell you what: not getting what I wanted bothered me much less when all I wanted from life was a hot pink Barbie car and a lollipop.

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  1. By Katelyn on September 07, 2010

    Thinking of you and hoping your get your wish.  We finally got ours, two weeks ago….

  2. By on September 07, 2010

    FWiW, you are doing the right thing for Charlotte, i think, too.

    Sniff the top of her head for me and see if the scalp still smells as sweet as ever now that she has grown so much hair.

  3. By on September 07, 2010

    I didn’t get my period back until about a month after ending night feedings with my son (at about a year old). Even then, my cycle was extremely long, so it was hard to conceive with such an erratic cycle. We got pregnant again when he was about 18 months old, so maybe it will happen for you in just the next few months.

    Our pregnancy ended in m/c and despite everything I’ve read and been told, I can’t help but feel like breastfeeding and being pregnant was just too much on my body. I’d say, try to keep in mind the breastfeeding is a natural way to do child spacing, and when your body is ready it will keep and hold a baby.

    My son is two now and weaned and we are hopeful that next time, our bean will stick.

    Good luck, I totally get that desire for another and the frustrations of having to wait. But giving Charlotte the best start in life is totally worth the wait. It’ll happen eventually, when it’s meant to.

  4. By Tracy Roberts on September 07, 2010

    despite breastfeeding on cue, my period returned the very next month after E was born.  My midwife calls me one of the lucky few and this post gives that a whole new meaning.  I am trying to keep myself from another one right now, funny how we try to control things in life.

  5. By Sarah@Crazy Love Gamble-Style on September 07, 2010

    I think it will happen really soon for you, I have a feeling.  Plus as Charlotte gets older she will be slowing down on the milk which should give your body a chance to start gearing up for making more babies.  I think you will find once it happens that you are happy for the spacing you have between them.  Little Ava understands all about babies and taking care of them.  She is eager to help and plan.  Having her really “get” it makes me know that them having this age difference between them will make their relationship that much more special.  I am so excited to have your family grow and I really do think it is going to happen soon, my fingers are crossed.  Now go have a cocktail and some fun with your husband, these things usually happen when we aren’t over focusing on them : )

  6. By Tabitha (From Single to Married) on September 08, 2010

    I forgot about that part of breast feeding!  I stopped pumping at three months and didn’t start ovulating until two months later.  I remember being freaked out because I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t ovulating yet and I was worried because we want to start trying again next year.  Good luck with your attempts to make Charlotte a brother/sister!

  7. By Catherine on September 08, 2010

    I feel for you, it took me over a year to get my cycle back after my second.  Ten months after my first, but he started sleeping through the night and not nursing at night at ten months, literally 2 weeks later, blammo - Aunt Flo.  With my daughter, she nurses much more, even now, at 15 months, she’s non-stop, but I did get my period back when she was 13 months old.  It just happened around, (again) when she finally started pulling about 9 straight at night.  It’ll happen, but I hear you!  I so hear you!  I was hot to get pregnant again after my first, but I am glad I had the time with him that I did as my little baby.  :)

  8. By on September 08, 2010

    It’s so wild how everyone’s body is so different. I got my period back a month before my Charlotte started solids when she was still breastfeeding exclusively.

    I wish I could trade with you! I got my tubes tied, so having my period is really just a hassle now.

  9. By Meghan on September 08, 2010

    I got my cycle back at 13 months. Sera had started sleeping through the night around 5 months, but at 9 months we moved and the upheaval caused her to need milk (me) during the night again. She re-night-weaned between 11 and 12 months. I got pregnant about 5 months later, though we weren’t really trying the first couple months.

    I’m 19 weeks now and Sera self-weaned about a month ago. My supply decreased almost immediately when I got pregnant, and by the start of the 2nd trimester, Sera wasn’t interested in a dry well. “It’s all gone, Mom, cup please?“

    I wonder if she’ll be interested when the new baby comes in February…

    Anyway, glad you are having fun with the trying and I’m sure you’re treasuring every moment of your nursing relationship!

  10. By on September 08, 2010

    Troubles conceiving don’t only occur during breastfeeding. At least that’s an excuse. It took us five years to conceive our first. It was emotional and almost tore us apart. If breastfeeding is the only thing between you and another baby, count yourself lucky. We have no idea if we’ll be able to have a second at all. Luckily, we’re madly in love with James and life will be fine if it’s just us three.

  11. By Megan R. on September 08, 2010

    As MC stated, breastfeeding is just one thing that can make conceiving difficult.  My husband and I tried for six years for our little one, undergoing 5 years (off and on) of fertility treatments and suffering three miscarriages along the way.  You never know what life has in store for you.

    Our difficult journey pretty much dictated that Finnley will be an only child.  I am beyond content with that fact.  Our little family of three is complete and content. 

    Good luck as you continue your journey!  You never know what life will throw your way, but I am confident another baby is in your future!

  12. By kk @ the mom diggity on September 08, 2010

    you’re right…the trying is fun.  my baby is only 6 months and i’m already getting baby fever again and wondering when I’ll be blessed with my 2nd.  I thought after having a baby, the fever would go away and I would want to wait a while, but now after seeing how much joy this kid brings and how much I love her, how could I not be ready?!? Excited for you and can’t wait for you to announce #2 is on the way!

  13. By Courtney L @ Bundle of Wonder on September 08, 2010

    Harper is just now 5 months, but I’ve had baby fever for quite some time.  I just don’t want the next one to be stuck in the NICU like her, so I’m a little cautious.  Even though Harper is eating baby food once or twice a day, she’s still nursing every 2-3 hours during the day and every 4-5 at night.  I’ve had a lot of spotting, but no period yet.  And we are not being careful at all.  If it happens, it happens.  We rarely have time for sex as it is so it would be a real miracle! (I know, I know, it only takes one!)

    Just know that you’re in my thoughts.  I know you’ve wanted another baby for awhile now and I hope that you don’t have to wait much longer!  I honestly wonder each day that I come to visit your blog if that day will be the day you announce you’re pregnant :0)

  14. By on September 08, 2010

    Why not adopt?
    I’m sensitive to this, as a heads-up. For all I know, I can conceive but have no desire to. All I’ve ever wanted to do is adopt a baby, and find it hard to understand why others don’t jump on board.
    Could you someday write on what you see as the differences between bringing a baby into an (overpopulated) world and adopting someone who needs your home? I’m not trying to sound facetious; I’m just really curious as a woman who has no pregnany-urges, but definitely has motherhood/adoption urges.

  15. By on September 08, 2010

    LBC, I’ve always wanted/still want to adopt. My husband on the other hand used to want to, and is now so fully in love with our biological child he can’t imagine adopt. Bummer. I’m still holding out.

    Sarah, I am still nursing, although, I’m sure not as frequently as you. My son is probably about two months older than Charolette. I don’t have exact dates, but I’m pretty sure I started getting my period again around the time he was ten months. Light spotting, nothing intense. It was just within the past two or three months that it really started coming back full swing and pretty regular (irregularity was a whole new world for, I’ve always been an ‘every 28 days’ kinda gal).  Hang in there

  16. By Cambria on September 08, 2010

    Hang in there! I know all voids are different, bur I got pregnant with

  17. By Cambria on September 08, 2010

    Sorry… Hayden when I was nursing Hadley. It’s possible!

    Happy thoughts to you. You are a wonderful mom and will have another rugrat soon. I know it.

  18. By Carolina on September 08, 2010

    I don’t have a child yet, but isn’t it worth evaluating what need is most important for you? If having a second child is something you and Donald want, is there a way in which you can breastfeed less in order to start ovulating?

  19. By Sarah S on September 08, 2010

    I got pregnant with my son while still nursing my daughter. She was about 10 months old and we had just finished night feedings.  I have heard that feeding during the night and closer together (i.e., every 2 hours) delay ovulation. I was nursing my daughter about 4-5 times during the day when we (very unexpectedly) got pregnant with my son. : )

    Good luck! I love your pictures of Charlotte. She looks like an impish cutie.

  20. By Sarah Christensen on September 08, 2010

    Wow, where to begin?

    MC and Megan R - We had trouble conceiving the first time around too, although nothing near what either of you went through.  It’s a very difficult road to travel, that one.  I am unbelievably thankful for the ability to blame everything on the breastfeeding this time around - whether or not its true doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact that we need it to be true.

    LBC - We would love to adopt one day and we talk about it more and more as time goes by.  We’ve been active in the foster community in the past and know that we would like to rekindle that activity in the future as well.  Our plan was originally to wait until our oldest two were school-age and then explore adoption, but we might move that up or back a bit depending on how we feel we can best meet each child’s needs.

    The fact of the matter is that adoption is completely foreign to us.  It sounds like a cop-out of an excuse, even to us, but I think part of the problem is that adoption is phenomenally daunting to a couple who has no idea where to begin.  But at any rate, we absolutely hope to adopt sometime in the future.  Right now, though, we do want to biologically create new life.  It will be wonderful to help a child who already exists, but I crave pregnancy and physical delivery as well.

    Carolina - When we evaluate our family’s needs, what we keep coming back to is that we need to feel that we are providing for Charlotte as best we can.  We would love another child, but part of the reason I’m not willing to alter her breastfeeding schedule is because I feel that she still benefits from feeding on cue.  We might have fewer children as a result, but we keep coming back to the fact that neither of us is comfortable sacrificing the fulfillment of her needs/wants related to breastfeeding in favor of a child who has not yet been conceived.

  21. By Stephanie on September 08, 2010

    You know..I was just thinking about you guys the other day, and wondering how this was all going. I sincerely hope that it works out for all 3 of you soon! I have no clue if I was ovulating before Jasper weaned, because I know that you can be ovulating and not have a period, but everything came back after he stopped. I totally love and respect your approach to it, especially this: “neither of us is comfortable sacrificing the fulfillment of her needs/wants related to breastfeeding in favor of a child who has not yet been conceived.“

    Don’t worry. Your second baby will come when it’s the best time for all four of you. :)

  22. By on September 09, 2010

    Good luck Sarah…I hope it works out for you guys soon.
    After I had my second, I was looking forward to not being pregnant and not having a period because of breastfeeding, but no such luck.  I apparently am the oddity…even with exclusively breastfeeding I got my period back at 5 1/2 weeks after giving birth.

  23. By Kate on September 09, 2010

    I’m sorta in the same place as you, however my daughter is younger- 7.5 months.  I’m considering stopping breastfeeding to get pregnant, though it pains me to do so because it’s just so easy (for both of us). Never before did I realize how much I would miss my period when I didn’t have it. lol

  24. By on September 09, 2010

    WOW! I began reading this blog from the very beginning about a month ago on breaks at work and I have just now gotten to the present.
    I myself have a 1 year old at home and have been able to identify with much of what you write about! I have had similar thoughts/ experiences with my little guy… and my dear hubby & I have many of the same values as you and Donald do.  I honestly feel like I just got to the end of an amazing book, but I know that this book will grow and go on.  I have my own book going, but in a much more private form of a word document!

    I remember getting to the part where Charlotte was born, and realizing we have the same birthdays, neat!

    I remember getting to the part where she started to crawl and though, hey us too!  Then she started to walk, and we’re not quite there yet, but it has been amazing to join your journey.

    Thanks for all the laughs, smiles, and tears that you have given me over the last month or so!


    And also, thank your wonderful family (Donald, Charlotte etc) for sharing you with the world :)

  25. By on September 09, 2010

    It will happen when your body is ready. Having spaced my children 2 1/2, 3, and 4 yrs apart I can tell you it’s much easier for your older child if they are out of the worst of the terrible twos when the next baby arrives. I loved the 3 yr spacing. Older child was wanting to be more independent and ready to start preschool, but still young enough to be a playmate.

    Enjoy this time with Charlotte, and before you know it you’ll be welcoming another baby into your family!  :)

  26. By on September 10, 2010

    I know the pain! we want a 3rd one and have been trying really since Ava was about 10 months old! She is 9 years old now and it just didn’t happeN! thankfully we had her only 19 months and 2 days after her sister or I would be truly sad. I hope and PRAY for you that you get your 2nd child, maybe a sister for your charlotte!!! hugs!

  27. By on September 10, 2010

    p.s. I did get pregnant right WHEN Savannah gave up breast-feeding at 10 months old. I didn’t want her to quit, but she despised it!  She had tried to quit on so many times, once going on a “nursing strike” for 3 weeks and I only gave her water or pumped as much as I could ( I never could get more than 2oz. at a time).....but as soon as she gave up the nursing, then I did get pregnant!

  28. By erin on September 12, 2010

    My period did not come back until a month after we weaned completely.  I had thought it would be earlier as for the last month or so we were only doing one feeding per day (in the morning), but nope.  I looked at it as, I had almost 2 full years completely period-free (well, except that awful postpartum bleeding) which is a nice bit of money saved on Tampax.  My period is still somewhat irregular and I have no idea if I am ovulating or not, but we’re not trying yet either.

    Also, I completely and wholeheartedly agree with you that you should provide what is best for your family as it is now, not for the baby that maybe-is-to-be-but-is-not-yet.  I love Hannah wholeheartedly (you cannot imagine how good it feels to be able to say that!) and I am finally in a space where I would like a second baby - and Brian would love a second baby - but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.  And the possibility of that second baby - or not - is not going to influence how we choose to raise our daughter.

  29. By on September 13, 2010

    I had a friend once who said something along the lines of “ I think it would be so fun to have to really try to get pregnant, like every month try and try until it happened”

    Well 1. my friend was male, and 2. single and far from wanting kids..

    Anyways I thought that was an interesting though until we started trying. I definitely wouldn’t call it “fun” I mean yes the trying is fun, but having to try to get pregnant sucks… The always hoping the period doesnt come, or however you’re measuring it….

    Well It’ll happen!! Have fun in the meantime!

  30. By Cynthia Krajcarski on September 17, 2010

    Isla was showing signs on self weaning in April. She didn’t want to stop nursing, but she cut down nursing sessions and nursing times SIGNIFICANTLY. Since we wanted to start trying for another baby, we took that chance to wean her off of my breastmilk.

    Everything went back to normal in June and I’ve been on one HELL of an emotional rollercoaster. We’re still not pregnant, but PMS feels an awful lot like pregnancy. I’ve cried over every period I’ve had since June.

    Although the way you’re feeling sucks, I find comfort in your discouragement.





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