You probably used some form of birth control before having your baby. But contraception can be a whole different ball game for new moms who are breastfeeding. Here are your major birth control options -- and what they mean for you and your breastfeeding baby.
There are no limitations to a breastfeeding mom who decides to go with a nonhormonal method of contraception, such as a barrier method, family planning, or surgical sterilization. These nonhormonal methods are optimal for breastfeeding women -- they don't affect breastfeeding or pose even a theoretical risk to the infant. Barrier methods of birth control include:
- Male and female condoms
- Copper intrauterine contraceptive devices
- Cervical cap
- Vaginal sponge
- Spermicidal cream, jelly, or foam
Women who decide to use a diaphragm must be remeasured by their ob-gyn after giving birth. Pregnancy may change the size or shape or your vagina or cervix, so your old diaphragm may no longer be effective.
Family planning, also known as the "rhythm method" or "safe period," is the oldest form of birth control around -- women have been using it for centuries. It involves abstaining from sexual intercourse during a woman's fertile period each month. This can be a bit complicated for breastfeeding women -- they're fertile before they get their first period after giving birth. It's highly recommended that you attend a class on family planning before relying solely upon this method.
If you're looking for a more permanent type of birth control, sterilization (vasectomy for a man, tubal ligation for a woman) may be the right option for you. Similar to barrier methods, these surgical options pose no risk to breastfeeding.