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  1. #1
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    Breastfeeding as Contraception

    Can full breastfeeding and 28-30 day regular menstrual cycle really prevent one from conceiving?


    When I got pregnant with my second child, I was fully breastfeeding my 16 months old daughter (my first child). My monthly menstrual cycle was also regular at that time.

  2. #2
    Hello Mum Jane,

    Fully breastfeeding and having a regular menstrual cycle does not necessarily prevent ovulation.

    In the case of your 16 month old daughter, I'm guessing she was getting food other than just your breastmilk which means she was not stimulating your milk production enough to keep you from ovulating.

    The things that can help suppress ovulation are to fully breastfeed your baby so that breastmilk is the only food they are getting (this works until about 6-8 months of age) and co-sleep with your baby so that your baby is with you all night long and able to easily breastfeed when they want to eat or suckle to pacify (babies love to suck when they're first born, and suckling at the breast helps to keep ovulation from occurring). It's also important not to use a dummy if you want the highest chances of full time breastfeeding to keep you from ovulating.

    But even some women who do this end up ovulating and having regular cycles again. Anytime you're having regular menstrual cycles, you can assume that you've ovulating unless you're trying to conceive and having trouble, or if your not seeing good signs of fertility.

    The best thing to do is to watch your cervical mucus changes because you'll usually ovulate before your first period after giving birth.

    Please let me know if you have any further questions.

    Warm regards,

    Kate

  3. #3
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    Hi Kate,

    Thanks for the response. I just want to ask more about the "cervical mucus changes" that I should observe. It would really help a lot if I will learn more facts on how to prevent conception naturally.

    Again, thanks.

    Regards,
    mumjane

  4. #4
    You can find excellent information in the following threads:

    Signs of Fertility
    Natural Birth Control - Natural Family Planning

    Please let me know if you have any questions at all once you read those threads. I'll be happy to help you.

    Warm regards,

    Kate

  5. #5
    Hi mumjane,

    I just wanted to add that exclusive breastfeeding has been shown to be over 98% effective in preventing the return of fertility (an example of such a study is that by Jen O'Quinn). This is only during the first 6 months of breastfeeding (when you are exclusively breastfeeding) and the chance of your periods returning will be reduced if you 'ecologically breastfeed'. This means: breastfeeding on demand (day and night), sleeping in close proximity to your baby (e.g. co-sleeping) and being close to your baby in the day (e.g. baby wearing). The average time for a breastfeeding mum's periods to return is between 14 and 15 months. As you do not know when your periods will return it is possible to 'catch' the first return of ovulation in the month that your first period would return and get pregnant on this month.

    You can follow Kate's really helpful advise to look out for the signs of ovulation.

    Best wishes,

    LJ

  6. #6
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    Hi LJ,

    I really thought that exclusive breastfeeding could prevent conception. I once heard from a health care provider that it is possible to prevent conception through exclusive breastfeeding for about 2 years. I wasn't just familiar about the signs of ovulation 15 months after giving birth.

    Again, thanks a lot.

    Regards.
    mumjane

  7. #7
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    Hi Kate,

    Your post about "Signs of Fertility" was truly helpful for me. I learned a lot from it.

    Again, thanks.

    Regards,
    mumjane

  8. #8
    You are most welcome.

    Kate

  9. #9
    Hi mumjane,

    Exclusive breastfeeding means only breastfeeding and not giving your baby anything else (this is what is recommended for the first 6 months of life). Once your baby starts having solids (at about 6 months of age) and water then you are no longer classed as exclusively breastfeeding (even if you are not giving them formula) - and it is from this time that it becomes more likely that your periods will return. So exclusive breastfeeding is highly effective at preventing ovulation returning but not simply breastfeeding.

    Whilst some mums do not find their period returns for up to 2 years whilst they are still breastfeeding, as it says above your periods are most likely to return between 14 and 15 months post-partum (after birth).

    I'm glad the information has been helpful for you and I hope this clarifies things,

    Best wishes,

    LJ
    Last edited by ljmarsden; 31st August 2012 at 11:34 PM.

  10. #10
    Hi LJ,

    When did your period return, and when did you stop exclusively breastfeeding? Just curious as I've seen many women's periods return at various times, and the majority were before their babies were 6 months of age. Maybe that's because their child was using a dummy... not sure...

    Kate

  11. #11
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    Lactational Amenorrhoea Method (LAM)

    Breastfeeding as a contraception - known as Lactational Amenorrhoea Method (LAM) is 98% effective if the following is true:
    • Baby is younger than six months
    • Baby is fully breastfed (has had no other food or fluids)
    • The mother's periods have not returned


    If any one of these three criteria are no longer true - then LAM is no longer effective.
    Hidden Content aussiemidwife
    Moderator Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond
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  12. #12
    Interesting statistics posted by our resident midwife, Jane.

    One of the things she mentioned that Lactational Amenorrhoea Method is 98% effective if the mother's periods have not returned. For me, my periods returned with all 5 of my babies at 4 months or earlier. I only offered the breast, but I also offered a dummy periodically (my children never became attached to them but there were times when they needed to suck, and I produced so much milk that their little tummies would get so full and then they'd throw up because the sucking they needed was causing them to take in too much milk.

    I think it can be helpful if you don't use a dummy or bottle at all, and put baby to the breast often. That's probably the best chance of allowing lactation to suppress ovulation/periods.

    Warm Regards,

    Kate

  13. #13
    Just to chime in, my youngest is 22 months old and still not having a period around here. I am also not showing any signs of fertility. My baby girl eats, but she still nurses pretty frequently, especially at night. I keep thinking I am pregnant, but have repeatedly confirmed I am not, just an anomaly I guess. lol.

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