Breastfeeding: A form of birth control!

Breastfeeding is mainly nature's birth control. Universal truth suggests breastfeeding works as the healthiest way to feed your baby. Fortunately, it can also work as a birth control form if done in the right way.

When you completely breastfeed at least every four hours throughout the day and every 6 hours during the night, your body ends ovulating naturally for the time being. And of course, if you do not ovulate, it means you won't be having your periods, and hence cannot get pregnant. At the time of breastfeeding, prolactin hormone suppresses the release of hormones that helps eggs to mature.

As a birth control, breastfeeding stands for the 'lactational amenorrhea method (LAM)'. "Lactational" stands for breastfeeding and "amenorrhea" stands for not having periods. LAM is a safe and easy way to avoid another pregnancy for up to six months. This comes handy if you don't want to use other birth control methods.


  • Start using LAM as soon as your baby is born.
  • For a proper LAM, do not leave a gap between feeds of longer than 4 hours during the day, or 6 hours during the night.
  • Keeping baby close.
  • Breastfeeding (day and night).
  • Breastfeeding in a lying-down position for naps and night.
  • Using no bottles.


If LAM birth control method is done the right way and perfectly, it becomes as fruitful as hormonal contraceptives such as pills. Breastfeeding prevents pregnancy and LAM provides many benefits for the baby and the mother:

  • No requirement for a prescription.
  • Reduces bleeding after delivering the baby.
  • Reduce the chances of breast cancer.
  • Gives baby the best nutrition.
  • Provides beneficial antibodies to protect baby from certain infections.
  • Reduces the risk of allergies and asthma.
  • Enhance bond with your baby by increasing body contact and help soothe a fussy baby.
  • Cuts the chance that your baby will swallow germs in water or formula.
  • Delays the return of periods.

Whether LAM is effective or not depends on baby's suckling at each feed. When used appropriately, LAM is almost 98% effective. However, it only works if:

  • Exclusive breastfeeding during both night and day; known as 'responsive feeding' (minimum of 6 long breastfeeds every 24 hours.)
  • Baby is younger than 6 months old.
  • Periods have not started yet.
  • Night nurse: Co-sleeping babies (the practice of parents and baby sleeping in the same bed) usually breastfeed more frequently at night. Thus, having your baby lying right next to you at night works as one of the most effective ways to postpone fertility.

Some of the other methods that can be used after the birth:

  • Internal (female) & External (male) condoms.
  • Progestogen- pill.
  • Contraceptive implant.
  • Contraceptive Injection.
  • Fertility awareness methods.

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