Table Of Contents
- Breastfeeding as a birth control method at a glance
- How do I know if breastfeeding is the right method for me?
- How can breastfeeding be used as a birth control option?
- Is it Effective?
- Are there any side effects?
- What are the benefits?
- What are the disadvantages?
- How do I begin?
Breastfeeding As A Birth Control Method At A Glance
- Also sometimes known as Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)
- Can only be used by women who have recently given birth
- Lasts up to six months after giving birth
- A free, safe, and convenient option of birth control
- A natural way to prevent pregnancy
How Do I Know If Breastfeeding Is The Right Method For Me?
To know if it’s right for you, read through the most commonly asked questions below.
There are some limitations to breastfeeding as a birth control option but it is natural, safe, and free.
How Can Breastfeeding Be Used As A Birth Control Option?
If a woman is continuously breastfeeding, her body will not produce the hormone that is required for ovulation (which is what releases the egg from an ovary).
Pregnancy will not occur if an egg is not released.
Is it Effective?
When deciding on a birth control method it is very important to know how effective it is at preventing pregnancy.
Here are some numbers to show how effective breastfeeding is as a birth control method:
- If done continuously and correctly, less than 1 out of 100 women will become pregnant
- If done continuously but not always correctly, about 2 out of 100 women will become pregnant
This birth control option is only reliable for six months after giving birth and only if a woman:
- Has not had a period since delivering her baby
- Breastfeeds her baby at least every 4 hours during the day and every 6 hours at night
- Does not substitute the babies breastfeeding milk for any other food (including formula)
It is important to note that breastfeeding will not protect you against sexually transmitted infections or diseases. Therefore it is important to use another form of birth control, such as a male condom or female condom, to reduce the risks of an infection.
Six months after delivery, you must consider using other types of birth control.
Are There Any Side Effects?
There are no side effects when using breastfeeding as a method of birth control.
What are the Benefits
Some of the benefits of using this type of birth control are that it is safe, effective, convenient, and free. It can be started right after child birth and is effective immediately. It also reduces bleeding after delivery and has no medical or hormonal side effects.
In addition it does not require:
- Medical supervision or private appointments
- Preparation prior to having vaginal intercourse
- A prescription
Finally, breastfeeding also has health benefits for the baby which include:
- Passing the mother’s antibodies to the baby to protect against particular infections
- Reducing the risk of the baby getting an infection from germs in water, formula, or other milk
- Giving the baby the best nutrition it can receive
- Increasing the bond between a baby its the mother
- Increasing the baby’s immunity against allergies
What are the Disadvantages
The main disadvantages of using breastfeeding as a birth control method is that it is:
- Only available to women who have just given birth
- Can only be relied upon for up to six months
Additionally some mothers find it difficult to rely exclusively on breastfeeding and not use formula to help supplement a baby’s diet. If formula is given to a baby there is a chance a woman can get pregnant again.
It may also make a women feel less sexual about her breasts. It can be uncomfortable and painful as well.
Lastly, breastfeeding can also reduce the vaginal lubrication when a woman is aroused.
How Do I Begin?
Normally many mothers begin breastfeeding shortly after giving birth.
If a mother is having trouble with breastfeeding it is important to seek help from a doctor or nurse as soon as possible to avoid an interruption in lactation.
There are breastfeeding experts that are available to help coach a mother through the process, even with a difficult baby that is unwilling to properly breastfeed.
To learn more about how you can use breastfeeding as a form of birth control, check out Parents.com.
Learn about all Birth Control Options and speak with your doctor before deciding on your birth control method.