Is Breastfeeding Effective Birth Control?


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Birth Control for Nursing Moms

After giving birth, it is time for a new mom to think about birth control again. Most new moms can’t bear the thought of getting pregnant again right after giving birth (not to mention the fact that a woman’s body needs time to recover as well!), so some form of birth control is a must! So, just how reliable is breastfeeding as a method of birth control for a nursing mom? Read on to find out!
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Lactational Amenorrhea Method

Breastfeeding as a form of birth control actually has a name. It is often referred to as LAM, which stands for Lactational Amenorrhea Method, which is just a fancy way of saying it’s the method in which lactation stops your period. Sounds pretty simple, right? It is pretty simple!

Doctors say that as long as a woman is exclusively breastfeeding, without supplementing with any formula, and the baby is younger than six months of age, breastfeeding as a form of birth control is up to 98 percent effective. Of course, this is as long as the mother hasn’t resumed her periods.

How long is LAM effective?

So, just how long can a woman use the LAM method of birth control? After the initial flow of lochia (the bleeding that happens right after a woman gives birth), some women will not resume their periods for anywhere between one or two years after having a baby.

This makes breastfeeding a simple, and affordable form of birth control! It is just as effective as the birth control pill, and you are definitely not going to forget to breastfeed! It’s not like you can just “forget” to breastfeed like you can forget to take a birth control pill, and that is something that every breastfeeding mom can testify to!

What to remember

An important thing to remember about using breastfeeding as a method of birth control is that as soon as a woman starts supplementing breast milk with formula, or the baby begins to go for longer periods in between feedings, she should start thinking about another form of birth control.

If a woman starts her period, or experiences any bleeding or even light spotting, she should know that this is the first sign of the return of her fertility. The bottom line is that even while women are using breastfeeding as their birth control method of choice, they should really be thinking ahead to what they are going to use after their period comes back and their fertility returns to normal.

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Dr. Christine Lee, MD
Dr. Christine Lee, MD | ConceiveEasy
Dr. Christine Lee earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology and Master of Science in Biomolecular Organization. Dr. Lee is Lab Director for ConceiveEasy and is board certified as a High Complexity Laboratory Director (HCLD).