Breastfeeding and Birth Control

Breastfeeding and Birth Control

You can use breastfeeding as a type of birth control if:

  • Your baby is under 6 months old;
  • Your monthly periods have not returned; and
  • Your baby is fully or nearly fully breastfed.

If you answer "NO" to any of these, start using another type of birth control. Keep breastfeeding as often as you can for your baby's health.

  • Fully breastfed means your baby gets all their food from suckling at the breast.
  • A nearly fully breastfed baby is a baby who is breastfeeding and also getting other foods and liquids only sometimes. This means that your baby is not getting more than 1 or 2 mouthfuls a day of other foods or liquids. These other foods and liquids include vitamins, minerals, water or any other foods.
  • A baby who is fully breastfed or nearly fully breastfed should go no more than 4 hours between breastfeeding during the day. At night your baby should not go more than 6 hours between breastfeedings.

This method of birth control is called Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM).L= Lactational means breastfeeding.A= Amenorrhea (no menstrual period). M=Method.

If you are breastfeeding and don't want to get pregnant, there are many types of birth control you can use. Talk to your health care provider to choose the type that is right for you. Side effects are different for each type of birth control. There is no proven effect of the hormones from hormonal birth control on the infant. The recommendation is:

  • To wait 6 to 8 weeks after baby is born before using a type of birth control with progestin.
  • To wait up to 6 months after baby is born before using types of birth control with both estrogen and progestin.

Information provided by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC).

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