Breastfeeding is a truly bonding experience for mother and child, and it’s one of the best things that you can do for your baby. You might not think about it before you begin breastfeeding, but the choice to do so can make choosing a birth control method more difficult than it would be if you weren’t breastfeeding. Not to worry, you don’t need to give up breastfeeding to go on birth control, you can do both. While many believe that breastfeeding is a suitable birth control, this isn’t always the case and you should have a backup method.
The first thing you’ll want to do is make an appointment with your doctor. Birth control is commonly discussed at your two-week post partum checkup so have your questions ready, and be ready to take your doctors advice, too. Your doctor will usually be able to help you decide which form of birth control is right for you by asking questions about your lifestyle. Luckily, there are a few choices so you can find something that is right for you.
An IUD is something many women consider when thinking of birth control while breastfeeding. An IUD is a wire that is inserted into the uterus and keeps an ovum from attaching to the uterine wall and developing. An IUD has varying amounts of success, and you should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of this type of birth control.
A diaphragm is a barrier method of birth control that many breastfeeding moms go with. Especially in the beginning of your new baby’s life you might find that barrier methods are sufficient because you may not have the time or energy for sex nearly as often. A diaphragm is a rubber ring that you will insert before sex to keep sperm from getting through the cervix to be fertilized. You may find that this isn’t a good method for you if you like a more spontaneous love life as it will require you to put it in and take it out after intercourse.
When condoms are used correctly they provide adequate protection against pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted disease. If not used properly, you can find yourself pregnant again in a hurry. Since the male uses the condom you know that this will have no ill effects on your ability to breastfeed.
The mini-pill is a birth control pill that contains only progesterone and won’t interfere with your ability to lactate. Combined hormone pills will usually dry your milk up, so be sure that your doctor prescribes a mini-pill. If you are afraid that you cannot remember to take your pill every day, you might want to consider other options.
Single Hormone Shots and Implants
If you are afraid that you will not remember to take your pills, you can request the “mini” or single hormone shots and implants instead of the pills. These shots only need to be taken once a month and the implants last for varying lengths of time. This is a very hands off type of birth control that will work even when you’ve had sleepless nights and are forgetful!
Breastfeeding can be worked into any lifestyle, even one that requires birth control. Don’t let birth control stop you from breastfeeding, and certainly don’t allow breastfeeding to keep you from taking proper birth control measures! There is a balance!