Breastfeeding & Fertility | Ask Dr. Sears®

nick breastfeeding his baby doll - _MG_8930

nick breastfeeding his baby doll – _MG_8930 (Photo credit: sean dreilinger)

Breastfeeding & Fertility

“I’ve heard that breastfeeding can keep me from getting pregnant. Is this true?”

Yes, as long as you nurse according to the rules of natural child spacing. The same hormones that make milk suppress the release of reproductive hormones. While breastfeeding full-time most mothers do not ovulate and do not have menstrual periods. This means that you can’t get pregnant, at least for a while. It’s as if your body is telling you, “Nourishing one baby is all you can handle at the moment. It’s too soon for a sibling.”

“How reliable is breastfeeding as a natural contraceptive?”

You have to follow the rules of the game to get the full benefit of breastfeeding’s effect on fertility. In the last ten years, lactation researchers have developed the lactational amenorrhea method of family planning, called LAM. Research shows that LAM’s effectiveness in preventing pregnancy is better than 98 percent, a figure that compares well with artificial methods of birth control. According to LAM, a mother can rely on breastfeeding for protection from pregnancy if she can answer “no” to the following questions:

via Breastfeeding & Fertility | Ask Dr. Sears®.

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