If you are breastfeeding and don’t want to get pregnant, here are your options:

Method: Breastfeeding as Contraception, or Lactational Amenorrhea Method

Lactational Amenorrhea Method is an effective form of birth control, but only if you answer yes to all of the following statements:

  • My baby is less than six months old.
  • My monthly period has not yet returned (this is what “Amenorrhea” means).
  • My baby is fully or nearly fully breastfed.
  • My baby breastfeeds at least every four hours during the day and at least every six hours at night.

“Fully breastfed” means that your baby gets all his food from suckling at your breast. “Nearly fully breastfed” means that in addition to breastfeeding and Vitamin D, your baby is only receiving one or two mouthfuls per day of any other fluids or solids.

If you are not planning a pregnancy and have answered no to even one of the statements, you will need to use another form of birth control.

Effect on breastfeeding: Positive

Method: Condoms (Male)

Thin covering of latex or polyurethane, that is rolled onto the erect penis to stop sperm from going into the vagina. Use non-spermicidal condoms with lots of water-based lubrication to avoid vaginal irritation.

Effect on breastfeeding: None

Method: Condoms (Female)

Polyurethane sheath that lines the vagina to stop sperm from going into the vagina.

Effect on breastfeeding: None

Method: Spermicides (Foam, Gel, Film, Sponge)

All contain chemicals that kill sperm. These methods are inserted into the vagina before intercourse.

Effect on breastfeeding: None

Method: Diaphragm and Spermicide, Cap and Spermicide

Rubber barriers that are placed inside the vagina before intercourse to cover the cervix and prevent sperm from entering the uterus. These need to be fitted or refitted at six weeks postpartum.

Effect on breastfeeding: None

Method: Intrauterine Device (IUD)

A small piece of plastic, usually wrapped with copper, that is inserted into the uterus by a health care provider, not sooner than six weeks after delivery. It usually works by preventing sperm from reaching an egg.

Effect on breastfeeding: None

Method: Intrauterine Device (IUD) with Hormone

A small piece of plastic containing a hormone (progestin), that thickens cervical mucus, prevents sperm from reaching an egg, and may stop an egg from being released. A health care provider insert this into the uterus not sooner than six weeks after delivery.

Effect on breastfeeding: No proven effect on infant from hormone. No adverse effects on breast milk supply if breastmilk supply is well established.

Method: Fertility Awareness Methods

Methods used to predict ovulation. These include body temperature, assessment of mucus, cervical tenderness and the calendar to predict when you are most fertile. These methods are difficult to use before your periods start again, but can be very effective with accurate instruction and practice.

Effect on breastfeeding: None

Method: Combined Hormonal Contraceptive Methods such as Birth Control Pill, Contraceptive Patch, and Vaginal Contraceptive Ring

Contain hormones (progestin and estrogen) that stop an egg from being released each month and thicken cervical mucus. These methods are either taken orally (the Pill), worn on the skin (the Patch), or inserted into the vagina (the Ring).

Effect on breastfeeding: No proven harmful effect on infant from hormones. Studies have shown that estrogen may reduce breast milk supply, therefore start once breastfeeding is well established (usually about six weeks).

Method: Mini Pill

A pill containing progestin, which is a hormone that thickens cervical mucus and may stop an egg from being released.

Effect on breastfeeding: No proven effect on infant from hormone. No adverse effects on breast milk. May be started anytime after giving birth.

Method: Injectables such as Depo Provera

A hormone injection given by a health care provider every three months. It contains progestin, which thickens cervical mucus and may stop ovulation.

Effect on breastfeeding: No proven effect on infant from hormone. No adverse effects on breast milk supply. May be given immediately postpartum regardless of breastfeeding.

Method: Vasectomy, Male Sterilization

A doctor cuts the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles. This may be done in a doctor’s office. This is a permanent method.

Effect on breastfeeding: None

Method: Tubal Occlusion (Female Sterilization)

A doctor cuts or blocks the tubes that carry the eggs to the uterus. This is done in a hospital and is a permanent method. This can be done the day after delivery while still in hospital.

Effect on breastfeeding: None

Method: Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECP)

You must take these pills (containing progestin) as soon as possible and within five days of unprotected sex. This is an emergency method.

Effect on breastfeeding: No proven effect on infant from hormones. No adverse effects on breast milk supply.

For more information

  • The Sexual Health Clinic offers birth control counselling and low-cost birth control. Call 519-271-7600 extension 779.

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