Is Breastfeeding a reliable form of birth control?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it.
“You can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding.”
This, my breastfeeding friend, is a big, fat myth! How do I know? Well… meet Nora.
I became pregnant with Nora while my first daughter was just 7 months old and still very actively breastfeeding. Nora is my little breastfeeding baby blessing!
The truth is, breastfeeding CAN be a reliable form of birth control. But only to a certain extent.
According to KellyMom.com, a website written by lactation consultants and medical professionals, in order for breastfeeding to be a reliable form of birth control, you have to meet all of the following:
- You baby must be less than 6 months old
- Your period has not returned
- Your baby is still exclusively breastfeeding with no other source of food (solids, cereals)
Again- you have to meet ALL of the above!
In my case, Emmy was 7 months old when I became pregnant with Nora, my period returned when Emmy was just 4 months old and Emmy was eating baby food 1-2 times per day at this point in time.
So why is it that these requirements can lead to you not being fertile enough to get pregnant?
When you are breastfeeding your baby, your body releases hormones that interfere with ovulation. This natural form of birth control through breastfeeding is called the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM for short).
LAM is 99% effective to preventing pregnancy, but this can quickly change once baby gets older, meaning they are likely to sleep through the night (and you stop nursing at night!).
Once you fall outside of the above parameters, pregnancy is absolutely possible.
It’s important to discuss your future fertility plans with your OBGYN as each woman is unique and should seek advice as to how to avoid or attempt a second pregnancy.
Thinking about trying for baby #2? See how we prepared for two under two here!