Quiz: Should You Wean for Fertility Treatments?

Welcome to the Carnival of Weaning: Weaning – Your Stories

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Code Name: Mama and Aha! Parenting. Our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles about the end of the breastfeeding relationship.

One of my most popular posts of all time was Breastfeeding Through Infertility Treatments IVF and FET which was really my own research and decision making process regarding the topic.

It is really a very difficult decision and most of the “experts” in the field are simply ill equiped to help you make this decision.

Lactivists and other breastfeeding advocates will simply tell you how important breastfeeding is. The answers I go when I asked on natural parenting forums was wait, wait, wait. Nothing is worth early weaning.

Reproductive endocrinologists and other infertility patients tend to have the opposite opinion. They say having another baby is way more important and you should wean, wean, wean. Nothing is worth jeopardizing your cycle.

Neither of these viewpoints work for a mother who is undergoing infertility treatments AND is an avid child-led breastfeeding advocate. Honestly, in my opinion you can simply NOT get a good opinion from any of the above. Only a fellow infertile would understand the needs of a cycle and only a devout breastfeeder would place the same level of importance on your breastfeeding relationship.

Please read the research on my original post so you understand the possible risks to you, your breastfeeding child, and your cycle. With that knowledge (and a good dose of thinking, talking with your partner, and prayer if you choose) take the following quiz to help you identify your feelings on key issues.

Should I Wean for Fertility Treatments?

Choose the best answer for each;

  1. My menstrual cycle
    1. has returned and been regular for at least three months with signs of ovulation (using Natural Family Planning methods)
    2. has not returned since giving birth
    3. has returned but has been sporadic or I don’t have signs of ovulation
  2. My nursling
    1. is over 12 months old
    2. is under 12 months old
  3. My nursling
    1. nurses less than 3 times a day
    2. nurses 6 times a day or more
    3. nurses 4-5 times per day
  4. My infertility diagnosis is
    1. completely male factor or female factor due to Fallopian tube blockage
    2. unknown or female factor with ovulation, luteal phase defect, or other hormonal issues
  5. I am preparing for a
    1. frozen cycle where I will only be using estrogen and progesterone
    2. fresh IVF cycle where I will use drugs to superovulate
  6. I can lie to my RE if asked if I am breastfeeding
    1. yes
    2. no
  7. If I did not wean and my cycle were to fail
    1. I would feel grateful that I still had my breastfeeding relationship with my child
    2. I would feel that I should have weaned my baby to give my cycle the best chance
  8. If I weaned my child and my cycle failed
    1. I would feel I had taken something away from my child
    2. I would feel I had done everything I could to make the cycle successful

If you answered mostly A:

You might be a good candidate to continue nursing through fertility treatments. The success of your cycle is less likely to be determined by any increased prolactin.

If you answered mostly B:

The success of your fertility treatment could be jeopordized by the increased prolactin due to nursing. And/Or your child is still highly dependent upon nursing (due to being under 12 months or nursing frequently) and weaning could be difficult or traumatic for your child. You may want to delay your treatment until your fertility returns or your child is more ready for weaning. If you do decide to nurse through treatment at this juncture be sure than you are comfortable that you have done everything you needed to give your cycle its best chance.

(the “c’s” are in the gray zone so count up your a’s and b’s and see where you stand.)

If you do decide to wean here are some tips on doing so gently use these tips to help make it a gentle transition for you and your nursling.

This is not meant as medical advice and should not be used as such. This tool is simply a way to look at some of the issues involved. Please do your research.

Thank you for visiting the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (and many thanks to Joni Rae of Tales of a Kitchen Witch for designing our lovely button):

(This list will be live amind updated by afternoon May 21 with all the carnival links.)

  • Is This Weaning?: A Tandem Nursing Update — Sheila at A Living Family bares all her tandem nursing hopes and fears during what feels like the beginning of the end for her toddler nursing relationship.
  • Memories of Weaning: Unique and Gentle — Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife shares her weaning experiences with her two sons, each one unique in how it happened and yet equally gentle in its approach.
  • Weaning Aversion’Gentle Mama Moon shares her experience of nursing and unplanned weaning due to pregnancy-induced ‘feeding aversion’.
  • Three Months Post-Mup: An Evolution of Thoughts On Weaning — cd at FidgetFace describes a brief look at her planned (but accelerated) weaning, as well as one mamma’s evolution on weaning (and extended nursing)
  • Weaning my Tandem Nursed Toddler — After tandem nursing for a year, Melissa at Permission to Live felt like weaning her older child would be impossible, but now she shares how gentle weaning worked for her 2 1/2 year old.
  • Every Journey Begins with One Step — As Hannabert begins the weaning process, Hannah at Hannah and Horn‘s super power is diminishing.
  • Reflections on Weaning – Love Changes Form — Amy from Presence Parenting (guest posting at Dulce de Leche) shares her experience and approach of embracing weaning as a continual process in parenting, not just breastfeeding.
  • Weaning Gently: Three Special Ideas for SuccessMudpieMama shares three ideas that help make weaning a gentle and special journey.
  • Guest Post: Carnival of Weaning — Emily shares her first weaning experience and her hopes for her second nursling in a guest post on Farmer’s Daughter.
  • 12 Tips for Gentle Weaning — Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting describes the process of gentle weaning and gives specific tips to make weaning an organic, joyful ripening.
  • Quiz: Should You Wean for Fertility Treatments? — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries talks about the key issues in the difficult decision to wean for infertility treatments.
  • I thought about weaning… — Kym at Our Crazy Corner of the World shares her story of how she thought about weaning several times, yet it still happened on its own timeline.
  • Celebrating Weaning — Amy at Anktangle reflects on her thoughts and feelings about weaning, and she shares a quick tutorial for one of the ways she celebrated this transition with her son: through a story book with photographs!
  • Naturally Weaning Twins — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses the gradual path to weaning she has taken with her preschool-aged twins.
  • Gentle Weaning Means Knowing When to Stop — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl writes about knowing when your child is not ready to wean and taking their feelings into account in the process.
  • Weaning, UnWeaning, and ReWeaning — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy discovers non-mutal weaning doesn’t have to be the end. You can have a do-over.
  • Prelude to weaning — Lauren at Hobo Mama talks about a tough tandem nursing period and what path she would like to encourage her older nursling to take.
  • Demands of a Nursing Kind — Amy Willa at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares her conflicted feelings about nursing limits and explores different ways to achieve comfort, peace, and bodily integrity as a nursing mother.
  • Breastfeeding: If there’s one thing I know for sure… — Wendy at ABCs and Garden Peas explores the question: How do you know when it’s time to wean?
  • Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Two, Three? — Zoie at TouchstoneZ discusses going from 3 nurslings down to 1 and what might happen when her twins arrive.


16 thoughts on “Quiz: Should You Wean for Fertility Treatments?

  1. Pingback: Naturally Weaning Twins « Intrepid Murmurings

  2. Pingback: A Natural End To Our Breastfeeding Relationship »

  3. Pingback: Is This Weaning?: A Tandem Nursing Update « alivingfamily

  4. Oh, great post! Thanks so much for your original post and this one too – this is such an important topic and I definitely pondered and struggled with this myself for a time! It is really hard to know what to do, especially if you feel like time is ticking and you need to get cracking on fertility treatments again soon.

    I ended up not have to deal with this exact issue but I did start the process of cutting back nursing in order to get my cycle back at 16 months. And it was HARD! I felt like Emma was in a really needy phase and hated having to balance my goals and her needs — though in the end it was SO worth it to approach it gradually.
    My recent post Naturally Weaning Twins


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  9. I did not undergo IVF, but we did have trouble conceiving due to irregular cycles (and PCOS, among other things). I knew breastfeeding was part of the "problem," but it was too important to me to follow Kieran's lead in nursing. I love your quiz – I know it will give many parents food for thought as they make their own decisions. Thank you!


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