Does breastfeeding stop you getting pregnant?

By Me & Qi
Apr 12, 2021

This article is part of a series on using breastfeeding as birth control.

Does breastfeeding stop you getting pregnant?

Q: I've been breastfeeding my little one exclusively for 3 months. I would like to start again doing "bedroom sports" with my husband. Do we need protection or am I naturally infertile because I'm breastfeeding?

A: If done well, breastfeeding can be an extremely effective form of birth control, with an effectiveness rate as high as 99.5%!

Postpartum infertility happens to all women who give birth. However if you're not careful it may only last for a short period of time. To be sure you remain infertile for a period of minimum six months after birth you need to apply the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM).

If practiced correctly, LAM (using breastfeeding as birth control) can be very effective

What is LAM? LAM, when applied correctly, is a very effective birth control method for breastfeeding women. Under LAM to be infertile you need to fulfill 3 simultaneous conditions:

  1. the baby is under 6 months
  2. the mother doesn't have her periods
  3. the mother practises exclusive or quasi-exclusive breastfeeding on demand, day and night

If you meet these 3 conditions, you can be 99.5% certain you're infertile!

Why does LAM only work for the first 6 months after birth? No-one actually knows that it doesn't work for longer than 6 months, research is ongoing on this topic. For all we know it might also be effective for up to 9 months or even 12 months after birth. The only thing science is sure of at this point is that it does work for 6 months after birth if the 3 conditions listed above are met. If you want to maximizes the chances that LAM work beyond the first 6 months, read our article about maximizing LAM's effectiveness.

Beyond the question on the duration of LAM's effectiveness, you absolutely need to meet the other 2 criteria if you want to guarantee you're protected. 

It's especially crucial you be very strict on practicing exclusive breastfeeding. This means your little one can eat or drink nothing else than your breast milk during the first 6 months of their life. If you start feeding them formula and correspondingly reduce your breastfeeding, your body might start making you fertile again.

Practicing exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months is, by the way, the advice of all health professionals. It is for instance what the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially recommends on their website. So it's not only about birth control, it's also what's best for the health of your baby!

If you're struggling to produce enough milk to breastfeed your little one exclusively, we highly recommend you use Milk Boost Tea. It's an ancestral recipe of 13 natural herbs that works wonders to boost your milk volume and its nutritional value.

Milk Boost Tea to boost milk supply

Milk Boost Tea is a natural herbal tea that can help you increase your milk volume

Among its ingredients is Dong Quai, a root also known as the "female ginseng" for its wide range of health benefits for women. It also contains Sponge gourds (Loofah), famous for their ability to facilitate lactation.

You might also be interested by the other articles in our series about using breastfeeding as birth control:

Article tags: Breastfeeding and maternity