The use of breastfeeding as a birth control option is commonly known as Lactational Amenorrhea. There have been a lot of conflicting views about whether or not Lactational Amenorrhea really works. Constant studies have however shown that the method works well but only if the laid down conditions are met to the latter. These conditions, that are also backed up by The Center for Disease Control include the following;
- First, the baby should not be older than 6 months
- Secondly, the mother has to exclusively breastfeed at short intervals both at night and during the day. This means that the baby feeds on nothing but breast milk. It also means that the mother should not take longer than four hours before feeding the baby, during the day, and no longer than six hours during the night.
- The third point relates to the mother’s menstrual period. If a breastfeeding mother has not resumed her cycle and thus her period is not back, then this is an effective method for her to use. If the period has resumed then an additional method of contraception is advised.
How effective is lactational amenorrhea?
Reproduction experts have made it clear that lactational amenorrhea is 98% effective. This means that out of one hundred women who used breastfeeding as a method of contraception, only two ended up getting pregnant despite meeting the laid down conditions. The effectiveness of this method is solidly built upon exclusive breastfeeding. This means no use of breast pumps or pacifiers as alternatives to nursing the baby.
How can use lactational amenorrhea?
Like any other form of contraception, the breastfeeding option is not for everyone to use. It is only effective if you don’t get too tired to nurse your baby or if you are constantly available to do that. Mothers working away from home may find it a bit hard to breastfeed exclusively unlike those working from home.
Another group of mothers who might not fit the criteria are those who, for medical or personal reasons, may be advised to resolve to pumping milk or supplementing breastfeeding with formula. Failure to breastfeed at intervals of four to six hours may render you unreliable as your sexual hormones become active and your periods become regular again. This means that you could easily become pregnant.
Lactational amenorrhea is not just effective, but also less costly. However, it requires so much discipline. This means that a lapse on any of the previously discussed conditions may lead to failure.