Breastfeeding Contraception & Ovulation

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Breastfeeding does not prevent pregnancy but it can help with contraception as part of a natural fertility management plan

You might have heard that there is a natural method of contraception that you can use while breastfeeding and there is BUT it must be used under specific guidelines because breastfeeding does not prevent pregnancy. However, it can affect ovulation.

You are talking semantics I can hear you say, after all, if you are not ovulating then you cannot get pregnant. You are right – you cannot get pregnant if you do not ovulate BUT breastfeeding does not prevent every woman from ovulating and this is where you hear the stories from friends, neighbours and family members – “so and so was breastfeeding but she still got pregnant”!

Using specific guidelines and under supervision, the Lactational Amenorrhoea Method (LAM) and breastfeeding charting methods of contraception are at least 98% effective – the same as the mini pill.

What is important with these methods is:

  • knowing what the guidelines are,
  • recognising the signs of your returning fertility,
  • managing your fertility naturally
  • Natural Fertility NZ Educators can teach you all of this and then we stay in contact with you through your breastfeeding journey until you no longer need us.

LAM may be suitable for you if :

  1. your baby is fully breastfed in a baby-led pattern
  2. your baby is under 6 months old, and
  3. you have had no bleeding since 56 days after the birth

Breastfeeding charting is more suitable if:

  • your baby is receiving breastmilk and formula
  • you are planning to return to work before your baby is six months old
  • you are planning to introduce other fluids and solids earlier than 6 months
  • you are expressing on a regular basis

Remember – breastfeeding does not prevent pregnancy but it can inhibit ovulation. If your fertility has returned and you have intercourse at the fertile time in your menstrual cycle then you are at risk of pregnancy even if you are still breastfeeding.

If you would like to know more then you can contact Natural Fertility NZ by calling 0800 178 637 or click