Childbirth is a significant event that needs commitment and can be challenging for those juggling work and family responsibilities. There is word that breastfeeding might be a form of birth control, but that might not be the whole story. Several factors would come into play if breastfeeding were to work as birth control.
Breastfeeding as a birth control method
For parents considering breastfeeding as a birth control method, waiting at least 18 months before getting pregnant is recommended for the uterus to heal. This is safer for the infant and the parent.
Various birth control options are available, some of which alter hormonal cycles while others block or slow down sperm. For example, breastfeeding is a natural birth control method called Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM).
Regular breastfeeding can aid in avoiding ovulation and is necessary for conception. To prevent pregnancy, it is essential to ensure the infant is below six months and solely breastfed without a baby formula or other foods. Furthermore, the mother must breastfeed after every four hours over the day and after six hours overnight and should not currently have periods (amenorrhea).
How effective is breastfeeding as a birth control method?
LAM can be as effective as birth control if used correctly, with a 98% success rate in the first 6 months after birth. It is natural, accessible, and does not require medical appointments. However, it is essential to follow the guidelines correctly to avoid pregnancy. A medical team can advise on whether LAM is a suitable option or recommend alternative methods.
However, there is a caveat with this method. For instance, it is not possible or practical for everyone, and one needs to be willing and able to breastfeed an infant. The baby should not be given any formula as this decreases the effectiveness of LAM. Additionally, this is a temporary method since the baby should be on solid foods at six months, and babes sleep more at night. Once someone gets their period when using the technique, they are ovulating and could become pregnant.