Getting pregnant while nursing

Our expert weighs in on the odds of getting pregnant while nursing

Q: My son just turned two and my husband and I are talking about having another baby. The problem is, our son still nurses. Is it possible to become pregnant while still nursing a toddler and, if so, is there anything I should do to prepare for another baby?

A: During the first six months of nursing — if your infant feeds round the clock and you’re still not menstruating — it is very unlikely (a less than two percent chance) you will get pregnant. Furthermore, because breastfeeding affects hormones, some women may have slightly more difficulty. There is research suggesting that continuing to nurse at night may also reduce the chance of getting pregnant. However, as your son is two and not nursing nearly as often as an infant, the likelihood of becoming pregnant is much higher. Also, if your periods have returned, your chances remain high.

If you become pregnant, you’ll have to decide if you want to continue breastfeeding both your toddler and your infant. This is entirely possible and the choice is yours. If you decide you don’t want to nurse two children, you might wean your toddler prior to the new baby’s arrival and continue developing all the wonderful things you can do with a toddler to build strong emotional/physical bonds.

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