Birth Control While Breastfeeding

The Lactational Amenorrhea Method

Breastfeeding doesn't have to be a hindrance to birth control. In fact, it could be your main method of birth control! In some ways, lactation is a natural method of contraception, often known as the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM). If your breastfeeding pattern meets all these criteria, you may not need to use any other form of birth control for the first six months postpartum:

  • You plan to breastfeed six months or longer
  • Your baby is getting at least 90 to 95 percent of its food intake from breast milk
  • You breastfeed at least every four hours during the day and six hours at night
  • You have not gotten your period yet

LAM can actually provide you with more than 98 percent protection in the first six months after giving birth. This effectiveness rate is higher than that of most nonhormonal methods of birth control! However, if you're not sure that your breastfeeding habits meet all the criteria, or if you're not sure that you'll stick with breastfeeding for the long haul, you might want to consider other forms of birth control as well.

Source: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Reviewed 11/02 by Elizabeth Stein, CNM

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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