After the birth of their babies, mothers may wonder if they can use birth control, or contraceptives, and continue to breastfeed. The answer is “yes”.
How will birth control affect breastfeeding?
Most hormonal forms of birth control, or the pill, contain small amounts of one or more hormones.
- Most estrogen types of birth control, sometimes combined with other hormones, contain low doses and can be used in breastfeeding. Higher doses, above 30 micrograms (mcg) may decrease milk supply.
- Progesterone, which can be found in implants and IUDs, does not decrease the milk supply or have side effects in the child.
- Hormonal birth control products do not cause problems in pregnancy.
- Mom’s health affects her milk supply so she should drink plenty of water, eat nutritious foods, get enough of rest, and continue her multivitamin.
Planning for the next baby
The recommended spacing between pregnancies is 18 months to 2 years to give mom’s body enough time to recover and prepare for the next pregnancy. Shorter spacing, of 6 months or less, between pregnancies greatly increases the risk of premature deliveries (40%) and lower birthweight (61%).