Health Information For Parents

Is Breastfeeding a Good Form of Birth Control?

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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 follow these 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 can 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.

Medical Review

  • Last Reviewed: November 14th, 2014
  • Reviewed By: Mary L. Gavin, MD

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Resources

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

    This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women’s health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.

  • La Leche League

    This international organization offers support, encouragement, information, and education on breastfeeding.

  • Planned Parenthood Federation of America

    Planned Parenthood offers information on sexually transmitted diseases, birth control methods, and other issues of sexual health.

  • WomensHealth.gov

    The Office on Women’s Health (OWH), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), offers reliable health and wellness information for women and girls.

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