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Is breastfeeding a reliable method of birth control?

Here’s a question from Jessie from Guelph, ON :

Q: I’ve heard that breastfeeding delays the return of menstrual periods, so it’s safe to assume you can’t get pregnant if your periods haven’t returned. Is that right?

A: It’s true that breastfeeding tends to delay the return of your periods, but you will ovulate before your first period resumes. You could therefore become pregnant before your period returns.

The best way to use breastfeeding to delay the return of ovulation (egg production) is to observe the LAM, or Lactation Amenorrhea Method which is said to be 98% effective, but only if the following rules are observed:

– Your baby is younger than 6 months old

– Your periods have not returned

– You are exclusively breastfeeding on demand, night and day

“Exclusively breastfeeding” means a minimum of six long breastfeeding sessions every 24 hours – with a gap between feedings no longer than four hours during the day and six hours during the night. It’s also important not to give other fluids or solid foods to your baby. Soothers can also interfere with the success of LAM, as your baby’s suckling stimulates the hormones that suppress ovulation.

Nancy Lahn

Owner, Cozy Cuddles Baby Products

Originally posted 2013-09-04 13:46:34.

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