Is Breastfeeding a Good Form of Birth Control?

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Is Breastfeeding a Good Form of Birth Control?

Is it true that you can't get pregnant while you're breastfeeding? I'm currently breastfeeding my baby and my husband and I aren't using any sort of protection. Thanks!
- Marisol

Breastfeeding naturally suppresses the hormones needed for ovulation, so it is possible to use breastfeeding as an effective form of birth control.

But this only works if you haven't gotten your period yet, your son is less than 6 months old, and you adhere to the following feeding guidelines:

  • You exclusively breastfeed your baby (that means no supplementing with bottles or solid foods).
  • You go no longer than 4 hours between feedings during the day and 6 hours at night.

Strictly following these rules might be difficult, so if you're not able to do so, choose another form of birth control to prevent pregnancy.

If you are able to follow these guidelines, you will still need to choose another form of birth control once your baby turns 6 months old. Some forms of birth control can decrease your milk supply, so ask your health care provider which options are best for you.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: June 2011

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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