Being pregnant and expecting a baby is one of the happiest and life changing miracles that can happen to a woman. The moment a child is born, a mother is also born–and with it comes sleepless nights, physical demands, and a rollercoaster of emotions. Having a baby is definitely a blessing but even the most devoted mom would agree that her mind, body, and soul needs time to rest and recover from childbirth. Because of this, she might consider waiting a while before getting pregnant again. If you can relate, you may have heard that breastfeeding is a form of birth control. While this is true, it depends on several factors for it to work. Read on.
Breastfeeding only becomes an effective birth control method if you do it consistently. Also known as the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM), breastfeeding delays your ovulation, making you infertile for a couple of months. It is said that this method works 98 percent of the time but only if you exclusively breastfeed your baby on demand. Once your baby stops exclusively breastfeeding and latching, it becomes less effective as a method of contraception. So if you start combining breastfeeding with formula milk or solid food, even if your periods still haven’t returned, you could become fertile.
The age of your baby matters if you want to use breastfeeding as a means of birth control. Since consistency is key in making LAM work, you can only use it until your baby is at most six months old. Why? Because at six months, your baby will start eating solid food and drinking water and this will lead to lesser breastfeeding sessions. We’ll go back to the first point: the frequency and quality of breastfeeding sessions will make or break the effectiveness of LAN as a birth control method.
One of the gifts of childbirth is not having to deal with your period for a couple of months. This means you don’t have to worry about buying pads, bleeding out, or in this case, getting pregnant. The average time a breastfeeding woman’s period returns is 28 weeks after having a baby. If you’re lucky, it can extend to more that six months, or even to more than a year. Does this mean you don’t have a chance of getting pregnant as long as you breastfeed and not have your period back? Well, it is possible, but it’s not 100% certain. You still need to consider the first two points mentioned above.
Tell us, Mama, did you ever use breastfeeding as a birth control method? Did it work?