When you’re breastfeeding, you have to be careful about what you eat and drink, since whatever you take in can enter your milk supply. Aside from food and drink, you also need to double-check your medications.
‘But what about birth control pills?’ many moms ask. This article can help you look at whether birth control pills are safe during breastfeeding, and the other birth control options you can consider.
Experts are still debating on whether birth control pills or what is called ‘hormonal contraception’ are safe during breastfeeding. In general, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that the safest option are contraceptives that only contain progestin. Unlike pills that contain estrogen, these won’t lower your milk supply or its quality. However, talk to your doctor before taking the pill. Most doctors advise waiting for at least 6 weeks after giving birth.
You can also use barrier methods such as condoms and diaphragms. If you prefer to use a diaphragm, have yourself re-measured because your vagina or cervix can change after pregnancy. There are also spermicidal creams and gels.
The rhythm method involves timing intercourse during periods when you are not fertile. However this can be complicated during breastfeeding because of how your cycles can change, especially in the first months after giving birth. Things like stress, exhaustion, lack of sleep, emotional changes—basically, everything that happens to you while taking care of your newborn—can all affect your cycles. Talk to your doctor and read up extensively on this method before relying on it 100%–if you’re wrong, you could end up with a ‘surprise pregnancy.’
Whatever your birth control method, it’s a lot better than not having any one at all. Many people believe that you can’t get pregnant during breastfeeding, but that’s not true. Breastfeeding can only lower your risk for getting pregnant if you are breastfeeding exclusively (about 95% of his food intake is coming from you) and your feedings are regular (every four hours). It also works for only about 6 months after giving birth.
Photo from livestrong.com