Choosing a BC option

Number 2??

baby in moby2

Not so fast…

One of the questions that every single medical professional has asked since we had the baby:

“Have you thought about birth control options?”

Even my homeopathic doc, whom I spoke with yesterday about milk production tips and the like said, “don’t let your husband look at you the wrong way- you’re Fertile Mrytle right now.”

I’ve got the newest love of my life

baby in moby

(she LOVES the Moby wrap!)

but I think we’d like to wait at least a couple of years until a sibling makes an appearance.

Birth control isn’t prevalent at this second since I haven’t been cleared to resume physical activity, but I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do. I took birth control pills for 12 years, and while it’s a fantastic option for many, I didn’t like how it affected my hormones. I switched over to the Fertility Awareness Method two years before we got pregnant, and was hoping to be able to continue to use that method after the baby was born. Here’s the thing, though: you need to take your temperature every morning, at the same time, after a full night’s sleep. Since sleep and I haven’t seen each other for a while, it’s not going to work right now.

Breastfeeding is supposed to protect you from getting pregnant, but it’s not foolproof because you can ovulate before starting an actual cycle without knowing. Tom nor myself are fans of condoms (TMI but they put a damper on things), IUDs freak me out a little bit, and I’d really like to avoid taking birth control pills again. I think that’s smashing all of the possible options?

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Did anyone out there have success with natural family planning while breastfeeding?

Of course, we’ll do whatever we need to do, and if I were to get pregnant again as a surprise, it wouldn’t be any less of a blessing <3

And honestly, a full night’s sleep would be pretty close competition to mattress mambo right now…

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235 Comments

  1. S.S. on January 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    We have never used any BC – and we have 2 children that were planned and each nursed for over a year. I got my cycle with both around month 6 of nursing, and then knowing the ovulation times were eas(ier). For the 1st 6 months we used the pull and pray 🙂 As long as you’re careful, it should be just fine. Yes, you’re very fertile, but you can be smart about it! I don’t like BC and my body doesn’t agree with it. You’ll be fine – you have excellent knowledge about your cycle and you’re aware of everything your body is doing, two things which most women aren’t!

  2. Joanna on January 26, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    I just wanted to say, like many others, don’t be scared of the IUD! I have the Mirena, and overall have been really happy with it. One thing though – they tell you it won’t hurt to put it in. At least for me, it REALLY hurt, and I had bad cramps all day and on and off for a few weeks afterwards.

    Also, I stopped having a period with it as well, which has been totally awesome. The best thing about it is that it’s highly effective, you don’t have to think about it at all, and you can be spontaneous. And it’s good for 5 years, but you can take it out whenever you want.

    Anyway, good luck and if you choose something else, I’d be interested to hear about it. Thanks for being so open and keeping it real! 🙂

  3. Jenny on January 26, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    I used NFP sucessfully with taking my temp and using the Clearplan fertility monitor (found a used one on Ebay and purchase the sticks for less on Amazon). The peeing on the stick and timing of temp was a little tough as sleep was not always there (nursed both of my kids) but using both I had good luck. I was able to avoid pregnancy for 9 months before making the choice to get pregnant again, which happened very quickly as I was so aware of my cycles. I LOVE this method, although it can be tough (like avoiding sex) but I love that it is natural and gave me a better sense of my body.

  4. Kristin @ Wounded Fawn on January 26, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    I used nuvaring for years. Maybe 5? For years I loved it! I would tell everyone else they should give it a go too and then out of nowhere I started bleeding so much during sex while using nuvaring that it looked like a crime scene. My hormones were so out of control I was crying uncontrollably then arguing for no reason. I didn’t even recognize myself anymore and out of all of the tests and ultrasounds that I had done no one had an answer for me. When I stopped using the Nuvaring it all went away.

    I used to be so freaked out by the thought of a copper T in my uterus but now that is what I am going to go with. I’ve exhausted all options!

    Good Luck! I am interested in to learn about your decision.

  5. Nomad on January 26, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Use a Creighton method ovulation detector!

  6. chrissy on January 26, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    condoms condoms condoms! love them, no tricking my body into into thinking its pregnant for years at a time, no foreign objects rerouting things, no dealing with temperatures and crossing fingers. my husband is on board, my health and comfort is top priority. we do have plan b just in case it breaks (we never forget, i do NOT want kids) but i use it less than once a year. i’d say we are intimate at least 7 times a week (even when we were both working 60+hours a week, it doesn’t take us long;) and we go through jumbo boxes of condoms and are quite used to it by now, the lubrication/textures can be spice things up. when travelling we pack them like we do toothbrushes! since we don’t have kids or roomies we can leave them stashed throughout our home to not interrupt the mood:)

  7. Holley on January 27, 2012 at 1:11 am

    Paraguard is a copper IUD that doesn’t use hormones but is just as effective as the Mirena hormonal IUD. You might consider that, especially since it’s something you don’t have to worry about everyday and it’s super effective! I work with patients and birth control all day, every day and that one has become really popular. Lots of patients love it. Hope you find something that works for you. 🙂

  8. Alice on January 27, 2012 at 3:09 am

    I’m also anti hormones – after a good turned bad experience with the ones I was on. Think generally cheerful and bouncy person suddenly almost suicidally depressed.

    My friend proselytised me onto the copper iud, and she’s my go to girl for all girl wisdom – she had hers put in eight months ago and cant stop talking about how good it is.

    Doing the research it genuinely looks amazing and as though a lot of the anti-vibe is a hold over from the original models. But I mean, in less than the time that they’ve had to work on these things we’ve gone from black and white televisions to having wifi Internet on mobile phones.

    So I’m pretty convinced that the new lot are as safe as you could hope for, and even the side effects are quick onset and generally reparable by just getting it taken out, although apparently painful. But on my mental maths book i’d rather have a stabbing pain and know my body was in trouble and get the input taken out than happily swallow koolaid pills every day and find out in 30 years that hormonal bc has been slowly destroying me.

    Given my slight latex allergy, this is my Obi wan kenobi last hope.

    Other random things that helped me come to this decision are:

    It’s the bc of choice in Denmark, where big pharma has little swinging power and that in itself I find mildly persuasive. Also, land of sexual freedom, and much less shame over open discussion of sex issues, so I guess if any country would have a clue it would be them.

    I don’t know – anyway, having the small copper one put in this Wednesday, so we will see. If you like I will let you know.

  9. Alison on January 27, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Working on this same decision right now after having our first baby in December. My OB said the pill can decrease milk supply, but the mini-pill wouldn’t (no estrogen) — the only thing is she said there is not much wiggle room on taking it at the exact same time every day. If you’re a few hours late it could be ineffective. I have a script for it but don’t really want to fill it – we’re like you and anti-condom so for now it’s “pull-out” – not ideal. An IUD, from my understanding, prevents a fertilized embryo from attaching instead of preventing the fertilization in the first place. I believe life begins at conception, not implantation, so that’s not an option for us either. Curious to see what you end up deciding! Sorry I’m not much help 🙂

  10. Amber on January 27, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Hey, don’t freak out over the IUD! If you are like me, the hormone issue was major. I didn’t want hormones..that issue is gone with the copper one. I do agree with a previous poster though, the procedure to insert it was supposed to be pain free. I must have a super sensitive uterus, because I felt it! In any event after that you no longer have to think about it and just have it removed in a simple process when you are ready for number 2. good luck. Livi is gorgeous btw and I am so happy for you and tom!

  11. Madeleine on January 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I used the BC pill for MANY years (well over 10) and actually became pregnant while using it. In anv evet, after my son was born my doctor recommended the IUD (Copper no hormones). She had one and thought it was great and many other friends of mine as well. I had to placed about 4 or 6 weeks after giving birth. I was afraid it was hurt but the doctor told me that I had just given birth without drugs to a 9lb8 oz baby, having the IUD plaed wouldnt hurt. And it didnt. Its also much easier when your cervix is still partically open from giving birth (hence having it placed within a month or two after baby. ) I so far, really like it. I have no issues though my period is heavier than I was used to but I had been on the pill for so long I hardly even got a period prior to having my baby. The only downside (besides the slightly creepy factor of having it in there all the time- it is realy small though) is that you have to go to the doctor to get it removed when you want baby #2. Good luck…and enjoy that sweet little baby

  12. dee on January 27, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Whoa loads of comments! I think it’s a bit sad this line “Tom nor myself are fans of condoms (TMI but they put a damper on things)”. I think this is sad because it’s an excuse – not a reason – to not use this particular birth control and is an ‘excuse’ that alot of young (and old actually) people make – Oh it’s such a drag, such a damper. C’mom..it’s 20 seconds if you know what you’re doing. Which i think is more worth your time than months of STI symptoms then treatment….or an unwanted pregnancy. Okay STI’s are not an issue for you personally and I don’t want to sound sanctimonious here – i’m just saying…it’s likely not such a drag overall while you get your routine sorted. You know?

  13. Life's a Bowl on January 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I’ve never been pregnant so I can’t vouch for the breastfeeding method, but I switched from BC pills a few years ago to the NuvaRing and have had no problems! Put it in for 3 weeks, out for a week, and repeat…

  14. aneessa on January 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I cannot say enough good things about the NuvaRing. Set it and forget it! You don’t feel it and your partner doesn’t feel it. It surely does it’s job and has been for the past 5 years.

  15. Nicole on January 27, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    IUD! Especially if you’d like to continue to avoid hormones — Paragard copper IUD is wonderful, so effective, and totally mindless. I have Mirena (not anti-hormone here), and I’m obsessed with it. I will admit it hurt like a BITCH putting it in, but strong lady you have had a baby! You can handle it 🙂

  16. Ashley on January 28, 2012 at 1:59 am

    I totally get the condom thing. So gross, and will burn the first few times you use them after having a baby. Depending on your “activity” level they can also give you a rash or small cuts inside. The only form I have ever used is the pill- until I tried NFP, and got pregnant a month later… Oops… I didn’t have to many problems. Increased my exercise level and consumed more dairy, my practitioner instructed me to do that and it seemed to work. I’ve read that while prebaby you probably knew your cycle like the back of your hand it does tend to change for up to a year after the baby comes so NFP may not work for you till your body is back to normal. To me, and IUD seems harsher than the pill, the patch creeps me out and the ring has had some not so great reviews. There are pills available now that are fairly natural. Maybe they are more body friendly.

  17. Meaghen on January 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Hi Gina,

    I haven’t read through all the comments, so this might have been mentioned already – but Creighton is the only method that is guaranteed to work while breastfeeding (it is based on measuring changes in cervical mucus rather than temperature or sleep or other variables) and has the best overall success rates in general – of NFP or BC. You can check out their website here http://www.creightonmodel.com/. To me it makes so much more sense than using hormones to artificially control your cycle, especially when it can have negative health side-effects.

    From,
    Meaghen

  18. Suzanne on January 29, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Hi Gina,

    My husband and I have used Natural Family Planning very successfully for over four years. We used it to get pregnant with our first two years ago and afterwards during and after breastfeeding. The beauty of NFP is that you monitor temperature, mucas, and cervix position at the same time, so you have three things to gauge what’s going on with your body if you choose. This helps when you are waking up all the time to feed the baby. There is also a book on doing NFP postpartum that answers a lot of questions including those related to breastfeeding. Most Catholic churches will also offer classes on postpartum NFP. Just contact your church to see who the local NFP rep is and ask about a class or look on the couple to couple league website to find one in your area here http://www.ccli.org/learn/
    The postpartum guide can be found here: http://www.ccli.org (scroll down a bit)
    You can start charting again as early as five weeks. Also usually the local rep will help you with any questions about charts, etc. you might have. Just like using a lactation consultant, it helps so much to have the guidance of someone who has been there! Although, we didn’t take advantage of this wonderful resource, we still did fine. You can totally do it! Hope this helps!

  19. Marie on January 29, 2012 at 11:36 am

    We have a friend who got pregnant 4 WEEKS after having her first baby (while 100% breastfeeding!) so yeah, I wouldn’t trust that method either.
    Right now I’m taking Norethindrone, a low dose of progestin (no estrogen) which my doctor said is totally safe for the baby, and super effective as long as I’m still fully breastfeeding. It supposedly does not have any of those nasty side effects that estrogen has. I’ve only been taking it a week, but so far I feel fine.

    • Fitnessista on January 29, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      that’s good to know- definitely an option i’ll check into

  20. Marie on January 30, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    I hear the Nuva Ring is a good option. but I don’t know too much more about it since I am a single lady with no kids.

  21. Alyssa on January 31, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    All my friends have the iud and love it. It sounds a little weird to me too, but I think I may try it in the future (after numero 2). For now we use condoms and, while the did take a while to get used to, we really like them now (probably me more than him, but you know how it is).

  22. andrea on February 3, 2012 at 6:47 am

    I’m not a fan of hormones either buttt I’m sensitive to some metals and I’ve heard horror stories of reactions to the copper IUD 🙁 I also love my divacup and while you can use it with and IUD, I’m not willing to take the risk (suction near cervix…no good).

    I’m back on the pill right now but before I went that route I looked into being fitted for a diaphragm. That’s an option but you’d have to deal with spermicidal gel. If you don’t the interruption aspect of condoms, it probably isn’t ideal either.

  23. becky on February 3, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I am currently pregnant, but I am a big believer in the FAM and intend to use it again after that baby arrives. I know that taking your temp is annoying and you have to be consistent, but there are a lot of other ways to tell if you are ovulating (aside from just temping). I’m sure if you know the method well, you know them. You could try doing the whole cervical mucus/position thing, and use OPKs to confirm that ovulation is approaching (they get progressively darker as they approach positive) and then just not get busy for a few days around that time. You can still get a general idea of your cycle from temping even if you don’t get up at exactly the same time every morning, as long as you’re getting 3 hours of sleep beforehand, which I’m sure some days is rare, but still possible. You’re looking for a pattern, and a clear temp shift, not an exact measurement to the tenth degree.
    This is just my 2 cents and I haven’t tried it post baby yet, so take it for what its worth. I REALLY do not do well on hormonal BC and I’m not into the IUD thing either, so this will be my plan. Its obviously more work, but I think its worth it in the long run.
    This is all probably TMI and if so, I’m sorry. Good luck!

  24. Steph @ Upbeat Eats on April 10, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Hi! I would be super curious to hear what you ended up choosing! I’m getting married in less than 2 months, and we really want NFP/FAM to work for us … But feel pretty nervous. I was on BC for 6 years but am just so sick of the hormones. We aren’t ready for a little one for a few years though.

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