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  1. #1
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    Nov 2013
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    How I long can I rely on breastfeeding as a contraception method?

    We have recently welcomed our first addition to our family. Our daughter is now 3 months old. I have been exclusively breastfeeding for the past 3 months and will continue to do so until we start solids. Please advise as to when I should begin a formal method of birth control.

  2. #2
    Hi mumtozoe,

    Congratulations on your new daughter.

    The statistics show that it is highly unlikely that ovulation will start when you are exclusively breastfeeding. Therefore, if you exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of life (as recommended by the World Health Organisation) then you have over a 98% chance of being unable to get pregnant (i.e. no ovulation occurring). This is only the case if you give your baby no other food or liquids (including water) and you feed her on demand in the day and night.

    Obviously there is still a small chance (somewhere between 1 and 2%) that you could still start ovulating even if you are exclusively breastfeeding. If you are concerned about this then you could have a look at other contraception options.

    As you probably know, you cannot rely on waiting to get your period and then knowing you are capable of getting pregnant again as you ovulate around 2 weeks before your period is due (so it would be possible to get pregnant on the first ovulation following birth and not have any period).

    If you practice what is known as 'ecological breastfeeding' then you are more likely to put off ovulation for longer. This involves not only breastfeeding on demand but also babywearing and co-sleeping. The average time for a woman's periods to return when she ecologically breastfeeds is 15 months.

    I hope this answers your questions.
    Please do post back if you have any further questions.
    Warm wishes,
    LJ

  3. #3
    New Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    10
    Hi ljmarsden,

    Thank you for the well wishes and response.

    I have been practicing ecological breastfeeding (without knowing it) and will continue to do so.

  4. #4
    You are most welcome mumtozoe.

    Your comment 'without knowing it' made me smile. I also drifted into the gentle parenting and ecological breastfeeding world without even realising there was a name for what we were doing. We were doing what worked, what felt right and what came naturally (which in practice looked like co-sleeping, breastfeeding on demand, babywearing, baby led weaning etc).

    I'm so pleased to hear you are also breastfeeding in this way

    Warm wishes,
    LJ

  5. #5
    New Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    10
    Trusting my instincts has made being a mother so easy and beautiful. I can't imagine doing it any other way.

    Thank you for your help with my many questions

  6. #6
    Hi Zoe,

    I totally agree with you there - I have found that following my instincts as a mother alongside following my children's lead to be the most natural way to parent. My children have taught me lots, even as newborn babies, and my hope is to continue this way of parenting even on the difficult days.


    Warm wishes,
    LJ

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