While many new mothers used birth control before becoming pregnant, they may not realize that certain methods are not safe while breastfeeding. Standard birth control pills that contain estrogen should be avoided because the hormone may be passed on to the baby through breast milk. There are still several safe choices when it comes to birth control and breastfeeding, which are outlined below.
The diaphragm is a very reliable form of birth control that has been around for decades. It works by acting as a cap over the woman’s cervix and is coated with spermicidal jelly before insertion. To provide the best protection, a diaphragm must remain in place for several hours after sex. In addition, a woman who has given birth will need to have her diaphragm refitted before using it again.
Male and female condoms are over 90 percent effective when used correctly. When combined with a spermicidal jelly or foam, they are as effective as the birth control pill. Even better, condoms are easy to obtain simply by going to a local store. They are also far less expensive than hormonal birth control. Condoms are the most popular choice when it comes to birth control and breastfeeding moms.
The intrauterine device (IUD) is re-emerging as a sensible choice for birth control. A copper IUD may be used without hormones and must be placed by an experienced gynecologist. The device, which has a string, may be removed at any time if the woman decides she wants to become pregnant again.
Natural Family Planning
Some new parents may consider using an ancient form of natural family planning, often referred to as the rhythm method. This involved the woman charting her cycle, taking her temperature each morning and avoiding sex on her most fertile days. The drawback to this method in a woman who is breastfeeding is that she could be fertile before her menstrual cycle returns, which may quickly result in another pregnancy. Couples who wish to use the rhythm method should consider taking a class first.
Those who are concerned about birth control and breastfeeding should research and consider all their options to find the method that works best in their situation.