Breastfeeding and Birth Control

Alternative Birth Control during Breastfeeding

If you have any specific breastfeeding and birth control questions, feel free to ask them below…

There are a few options when it comes to breastfeeding and birth control.

Birth Control Method 1

birth control

Natural birth control while breastfeeding.

  • Lactational amenorrhea breastfeeding birth control method. Also called the breastfeeding birth control method. The hormone prolactin that is released during breastfeeding suppresses the return of fertility. If a mother is breastfeeding exclusively (no supplementary juices or water and no pacifier use) and her baby is under 6 months old, and she has not yet started her period, she is 98% protected against getting pregnant. As soon as her baby starts eating or drinking anything other than her milk, the chances of falling pregnant are increased. With this “breastfeeding as birth control" method,  her baby should also not go longer than four hours during the day and six at night without breastfeeding. If he/she breastfeeds less than this, the mother may start her period sooner, which means that she is able to conceive again. Some lucky ladies go for two years without getting their periods again
  • Natural family planning. "rhythm method" Abstaining from sexual intercourse during a woman’s fertile period every month. This is done by using body temperature and vaginal mucus to identify the time of ovulation.
the pill, birth control

Birth Control Method 2

Non-hormonal methods.

  • The use of condoms, which are very reliable.
  • Diaphragms used with spermicide are very effective. Make sure the diaphragm is refitted after your uterus has returned to its pre-pregnancy size. Spermicides are perfectly safe to use during breastfeeding and cannot pass into the breast milk.
  • Mirena breastfeeding: IUDs are effective and can be inserted 6 weeks after the birth. 
  • Vasectomy or tubal ligation (only considered if you wish to have no more children)
  • Sponges and cervical caps.

Birth Control Method 3

Hormonal methods are generally advised against, but if you have to…

  • Progestin-only methods: Norplant, mini-pills or injectables. (small amounts have been found to pass into the breast milk, but with no adverse effects.) Should only be used after breastfeeding is fully established, but is the safest hormonal method for mothers who are breastfeeding.
  • Estrogen methods: Oral contraceptives, vaginal ring, and patch. These have been found to decrease a mother’s breast milk supply and should not be used if you already have a low breast milk volume. This has been found to pass into the breast milk, but also in small amounts with no adverse effects. (Not really recommended for breastfeeding mothers)
  • The morning after pill while breastfeeding: A breastfeeding mother should preferably take a progestin-only morning after pill. This can decrease milk supply for a few days after use. This type of contraceptive should also only be taken in emergencies, whether you are breastfeeding or not.

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Why are Natural Methods Preferred over Hormonal Birth Control while Breastfeeding?

  • Some mothers have reported fussiness in their babies when they start hormonal birth control.
  • Hormonal birth control methods have been found to increase the risk of cancer later in life for the mother.
  • There is not enough research on the effects that these hormones have on babies later in life.
  • Mothers may experience mood swings on the hormone contraception during breastfeeding. Depending on each individual.
  • It may interfere with breastfeeding by decreasing breast milk supply.

Breastfeeding and Birth Control Video

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