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Family Planning

Nursing Your BEST

Don’t leave your family size to chance.

The more you plan, the more you’ll be able to focus on the fun parts of parenting.

You have options

Many nursing parents don’t experience menstruation until they are finished nursing (some for a year or more). Others will have an irregular cycle or experience a period after reducing nursing to only 1-2 times per day. Nursing parents who feed their babies formula will usually begin menstruating anywhere from 1-3 months after delivery.

Download the WIC Fact Sheet About Nursing and Contraception

About the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)

Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) is the technical way of saying you don’t have a period while nursing. LAM is a temporary form of natural family planning that can be used by nursing parents who have recently given birth.

To use LAM, you must be able to say yes to all four statements:

  1. You ONLY nurse your baby. (You do not give your baby any other food, human milk substitute or drinks.)
  2. You nurse your baby at least every four hours during the day, and every six hours at night – no exceptions.
  3. Your baby is less than six months old.
  4. You have not started your monthly period.

LAM is 98% effective for nursing parent who can say yes to all four statements. If you can not say yes to all four, it’s important to choose another method of birth control to prevent a pregnancy. Be aware that some kinds of birth control will reduce your milk supply.

You have lots of options. Talk to your doctor to figure out which method is best for you.

Recommended Birth Control Methods for Nursing Parents

These birth control methods are completely safe and won’t interfere with your milk supply.

  • Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)
  • Condoms (the only method that may also prevent STD infections including HIV/AIDS)
  • Diaphragm
  • Cervical Cap
  • Sterilization
  • Natural Family Planning (the Rhythm Method, where you track your monthly cycle)
  • Spermicides
  • The Sponge
  • Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD)

Birth Control Methods for 6 Weeks After Birth

The following methods contain the hormone progestin. They may delay or prevent milk production if taken sooner than six weeks after childbirth. Talk to your doctor to find out more.

  • Depo-Provera
  • The Minipill (a birth control pill with progestin but no estrogen)
  • Progesterone-releasing Intrauterine System (IUD)
  • Single-rod implant

Birth Control Methods NOT Recommended While Nursing

The following methods contain the hormones progestin AND estrogen. They can delay or prevent milk production if taken at any point while nursing.

  • The Ring
  • The Patch
  • The Pill
  • Emergency Contraception