Breastfeeding and Fertility


Fertility Breastfeeding Advice

pregnant while breastfeeding, pregnant mom with small baby

You might need to know if you can fall pregnant while breastfeeding, either because you want to prevent pregnancy naturally, or if you want to have another baby.

loss of fertility while breast feeding, could either be used to a mother's advantage to help avoid pregnancy, or it could seem as a stumbling block for those who wish to fall pregnant and continue to breastfeed. 

Effects of breastfeeding on fertility are different for everyone and influenced by many different factors.


Breastfeeding and fertility

~Interesting fact~

Is a pregnancy test accurate while breastfeeding?
Yes, the levels of HCG are not affected by breastfeeding, therefore, a pregnancy test will be just as reliable while breastfeeding.



Fertility while Breastfeeding
~
The Facts


  • Half of all breastfeeding mothers, have their periods return within the tenth month after their baby’s birth.
  • About 20% of all mothers who breastfeed, will become pregnant by the year mark if they have not taken any contraceptive measures.
  • Ovulation in a woman who has stopped breastfeeding can take place within three weeks of weaning.
  • The chances of an exclusively breastfeeding mother, who has not had her period return, has a less than 1-2% of being fertile. 
  • The exclusive breastfeeding method of birth control is 98-99.5% effective in preventing fertility if LAM (below) is followed correctly.
  • After six months postpartum there is a 6% chance of falling pregnant before your first period.
fertility, the pill, fertility tablets


How to Prevent Fertility while Breastfeeding
“Ecological Breastfeeding"

How can I use breastfeeding to prevent pregnancy?

LAM “lactational Amenorrhea Method": Lactation induced amenorrhea is when a mother keeps her levels of prolactin high, with the purpose of staying infertile. How do you accomplish this?

  • Your infant must be less than six months old.
  • Mom is amenorrheic (She has not started menstruating yet).
  • Baby is breastfed around the clock and not given any other foods, supplements or pacifiers. This will keep your prolactin levels up, which will delay fertility.
  • Baby should be breastfed at least every three hours and this includes night feedings. Once the baby starts sleeping through the night, a mother has a higher chance of becoming fertile again.


Breastfeeding and Fertility
~
Tips to Maximize Your Infertility Window



Breastfeeding and fertility

~Interesting fact~

Women who fall pregnant while breastfeeding, are more likely to fall pregnant with twins! The non lactating population has a 1.1% chance of conceiving twins, but a breastfeeding mother's chances are 12.4%.


 
Boosting Fertility while Breastfeeding

Getting pregnant while breastfeeding

  • A mother might have to decide to wean her baby (more about gentle weaning here).
  • In other cases, a mother might only need to cut out some feedings, maybe at night. She can also decrease the duration of feeds. Cutting out some of the comfort feeding after a breastfeeding session, can also increase the chances of fertility returning. 
  • Start with solid foods or increase the amount of solid foods your baby eats to increase your fertility. (Only for babies older than 6 months of age.) 

Can I fall pregnant while breastfeeding?

Yes, a breastfeeding pregnancy is achievable; implantation is more difficult while breastfeeding because of your high prolactin levels, but pregnancy while breastfeeding is possible and a mother can continue to breastfeed while pregnant


Breastfeeding and fertility

~Interesting fact~

Can I fall pregnant before I get my first period?
It is very rare, but yes, you can fall pregnant before your first period arrives. Mothers should keep an eye on their cervical mucus as mentioned above.



Signs that You are Becoming Fertile

  • Some mothers report period pains, months before their first period returns. 
  • Moms should check their cervical mucus, fertile mucus is thick and stretchy.
  • Your first period should be seen as a “warning period" and contraception methods should be implemented if a mother does not want to fall pregnant. Read more here about breastfeeding and birth control. 


Preferred Contraceptive Measures while Breastfeeding

  • Condoms.
  • Diaphragms.
  • Non hormonal IUDs.
  • Contraceptive sponges.
  • Cervical caps.


  • If you do decide to go on the pill, ask your doctor for a progestin-only pill as this will not reduce your milk supply as much as estrogen containing pills.

Read more about safe birth control during breastfeeding.




Other pages on "breastfeeding problems" that are connected to fertility and breastfeeding

Leave a comment

Want to share your stories? Ask a question or just say hello...

What Other Moms Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Damages caused by sex during breastfeeding 
A friend tried to convinced me that women should not have sex during breastfeeding because it will destroy the breast milk and cause watery stool of the …

10days delayed 
Hi! I am exclusively breastfeeding for 9months and my period has been regular for 3 months now. But I am 10 days delayed at the moment. I took a preg …

Need Help 
Hi I'm a breastfeeding mother, my daugher is a year and 8 months now still breastfeeding on demand, oky I haven't had sex in 3 years I also haven't gor …

Contraceptive use before a period 
Can I use a contraceptive, before my first period?

I MISS MY PERIOD 15 DAYS NOW 
IS IT POSSIBLE THAT I AM ALREADY PREGNANT? I BREASTFEED EVERYNIGHT COZ I HAVE WORK AT DAYTIME.. AND MY FIRST PERIOD WAS ON MARCH 2... MY HUSBAND AND I …

jmother of soon to b 8 Not rated yet
I am a breastfeeding my son who will be 1 in 2 days. I work during the day so he would make up for it in the afternoon and all through the night however …

Trying to conceive while breastfeeding Not rated yet
I am currently trying to conceive while Breastfeeding my 17 month old toddler. My period returned when he was four months old and has been regular. …

Click here to write your own.