Preventing Pregnancy While Breastfeeding
You just gave birth to your new little bundle of joy, and you are not quite ready to have another one. The first few months of your baby’s life is all about taking the time to focus on that tiny human, keeping it alive, and bound with it.
Breastfeeding is an excellent way to create that undivided attention you need to develop that special bond with your child. It has been said it can be a great way to prolong your menstruation after giving birth.
The Grand Issue
Shortly after having your baby, you and your significant other are going to want to regain your intimacy. Traditionally, doctors tell couples they have to wait three to six weeks, depending on the conditions of your childbirth experience to reactivate their sex life.
Getting pregnant is not an issue for those few weeks when you are not having sex, but what about when the doctor gives you the green light? If you are a bottle-feeding momma, you will have to go back to the birth control if pregnancy is something you are worried about. However, breastfeeding mommas have a leg up on the situation.
The Process of Preventing Pregnancy
The big question today is can a breastfeeding mom get pregnant? It has been said you can prolong the possibility of getting pregnant by breastfeeding, but there are a few things that need to be done and considered to make it work.
Breastfeeding acts as an ovulation blocker. Your body produces prolactin, a hormone the pituitary gland produces to create and maintain breast milk.
The production of prolactin sends a message to your body to keep your progesterone and estrogen levels in check. This process keeps ovulation in breastfeeding moms at a halt for a good chunk of time.
Breastfeeding keeps your prolactin levels high, which keeps your progesterone and estrogen levels low. Once you slow down on the breastfeeding, your prolactin levels decrease signaling your body to increase your estrogen and progesterone levels, which will restart your ovulation and your period.
Breastfeeding has been reported to be a 98-99% effective birth control for mothers who have just given birth. Some mums, who solely breastfeed, have reported not having a period for an average of 6-8 months.
Some mothers have stated not receiving a period for an entire year. The catch to this great method is you have to follow a few set of specific rules to prevent any mishaps.
What Are The Rules to Using Breastfeeding as a Birth Control?
Breastfeeding your baby is a time-consuming process of motherhood. Your baby will need to eat often to receive the natural nutrients produced in your breast milk.
To halt your ovulation and in turn temporarily freeze menstruation, you need to follow these specific rules
- Your period must not have already returned
- You have to breastfeed your baby for a minimum of four hours without fail
- Your baby must not use a pacifier or bottle
- You cannot be more than six months postpartum
Clearly, if your period has returned, your prolactin level has already dropped, and there is no way to raise the levels to halt ovulation. So, if you plan using breastfeeding as your birth control tool, you must start breastfeeding immediately.
It is paramount that you do not take breaks in your breastfeeding routine. The most important time to breastfeed is during the night.
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Nighttime feeding is important to the lactation amenorrhea method, which means producing milk while not having a period, so experts advise mothers to make sure they do not sleep through a feeding or allow their babies to sleep through a feeding. Ovulation has been known to start up due to skipped feedings during the night.
Benefits of Breastfeeding Exclusively
There are plenty of benefits to breastfeeding. Most of them have been talked about excessively. Here are a few benefits you may not have thought about that you can use to help you decide whether to breastfeed exclusively outside of birth control.
Mothers who breastfeed heal faster than mothers who do not. Your body releases oxytocin during breastfeeding. The entire process helps your uterus contract and reduces post-delivery blood loss.
The uterus of a breastfeeding mother will go back to its normal size in about six weeks. However, the uterus of a bottle-feeding mom will go back to its normal size in about ten weeks.
Babies of mums who breastfeed will have a better chance of not contracting any childhood cancers, and breastfeeding mums have a better chance of not contracting ovarian cancer and premenopausal breast cancer.
Breastfeeding is a great way to save money. La Leche League International has stated that formula cost about $134-$491 a month and $1,608-$5,892 a year.
You can take that money and put it into your baby’s college fund instead.
Another benefit to breastfeeding, in general, is the decrease in illnesses your baby will suffer. Babies who are breastfed tend to get sick less than bottle fed babies.
Pediatrics, a popular journal, published a study that said the United States of America could save $13 billion a year on medical cost if 90% of the mums giving birth each year would breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life. That is a huge saving that could be allocated to educational programs.
Every new mother is concerned about her weight. Breastfeeding can help with that little problem.
Breastfeeding has the potential to help you burn off as much as 400 calories a day. This is done by feeding your baby about 20 times a day.
It seems like a lot, but your baby eats at a minimum of every two hours. Breast milk is 20 calories per ounce. You can be back to your pre-baby weight in no time flat.
There are hundreds of reasons why breastfeeding is great for your baby and almost as many reasons why it is good for you.
Being a mum is all about balance. Can a breastfeeding mom get pregnant?
Sure she could!
You can get pregnant if you do not follow the rules of LAM, but you do not have too.
The guidelines are fairly simple. There is no reason to concern yourself with getting pregnant while you are adjusting to adding this new perfect being into your life.
Take the time to breastfeed exclusively and enjoy your time with your baby.
Hannah Tong is the founder of Omaby.com, a blog dedicated to providing advice on mother and childcare and truthful information. She love taking care of her kids and teaching them the right things. She is enthusiastic and loves sharing her experiences about how to protect family’s health