Breastfeeding has been touted as a natural form of birth control that any new mother can try.
But only if it is okay if you are happy if you get pregnant again!
By giving your new born breast milk every day, you’re actively changing your hormones. When the body is continuously breastfeeding, theoretically, it stops producing a hormone necessary for the release of an egg. Women can not get pregnant if there is no egg present. Well that is the gist of it……
Exclusive Breastfeeding has been touted in the past as a great way to prevent getting pregnant again right away… the thing is, a woman is at her most fertile right after giving birth. So does it work? And would you consider it?
How Effective Is Breastfeeding for Birth Control?
Although many medical websites cite that breastfeeding is 98% effective as a birth control if you continuously breastfeed, after birth, a woman is at the peak of her fertility. Two out of every 100 women will become pregnant in the first six months if they don’t always continuously breastfeed their child. This form of birth control is only effective if a woman uses her own milk and does not feed her baby other breast milk formulas. She should feed her baby for a minimum of four hours throughout the day and six hours in the evening. Every. Single. Day.
Once your baby stops feeding exclusively from the breast, you can again become fertile and fall pregnant if you don’t use any other methods of birth control.
This method of birth control only works if the new mother has not yet had a period since giving birth to her baby. If your period comes in despite all the feeding, you are again fertile and can become pregnant. Normally, breastfeeding as a form of birth control only lasts up to six months. After this point, you will need to look for another method.
What Are The Advantages?
Since you are using your body’s natural ability to prevent pregnancy, there are no side effects by using this method. Women with pre-existing medical conditions or who have physical difficulties can use this method safely and without worry.
Some of the advantages of breastfeeding as a form of birth control include:
- Breastfeeding is 100% natural and does not affect your natural hormones
- The moment you start breastfeeding, it is effective almost immediately
- You do not need to get a monthly prescription, nor do you have to visit a doctor to get it
- You are using your body’s natural ability to produce milk to feed your baby, saving you money
- You do not have to insert or take anything out of your body before or after intercourse
- You do not have to purchase anything
- Greatly reduces the amount of bleeding after delivery
What Are The Disadvantages?
There are a couple of disadvantages to consider. For one, breastfeeding can only be relied on for six months after giving birth. Women can find it challenging to exclusively breastfeed their baby every day without the help of formula. The moment formula is used, you have an increased chance of getting pregnant again.
This method is not for everyone and can depend on your own body as well as your breastfeeding routine. It can be quite a regimented method with not much room for error. Only try this method if you are confident enough that it is right for you, otherwise explore other contraceptive measures.
How Do I Start?
After giving birth, you should be able to start breastfeeding right away. You are protected the moment you start, but as long as you feed your baby for at least 10 hours a day (four throughout the day, six in the evening). If you have problems breastfeeding, then it is important to talk to your doctor or midwife about it as soon as possible so that lactation is not compromised.
For more information please visit the Australian Breastfeeding Association website and here is a link to their information on the Lactational Amenorrhoea Method – https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/lactational-amenorrhea-method-lam-postpartum-contraception