Your busy day is finally over, the night is young and your little ‘bundle of bliss’ is asleep at last. After mulling over how to spend your prized down time, you decide reading in bed is the ticket. Now you’re comfy between the sheets, one chapter into your book when it happens: that look from your partner (you know the one) – the wink with that little smile. Your book just got sidelined!
Let’s be honest, life with a new baby is chaotic, and the learning curve is steep. While birth control options probably have not been top-of-mind for you, getting enough sleep and finding the time to eat and shower probably have been. With the decision made to breastfeed, you may be wondering about your contraception options.
For breastfeeding moms there are many compatible birth control choices, both hormonal and non-hormonal. Non-hormonal birth control has the benefit of not interfering with your milk production or supply and can be started shortly after you give birth, after your postpartum check up.
One non-hormonal option that many partners have questions about is the LAM method: L=Lactation (breastfeeding), A=Amenorrhea – (no monthly period), M=Method.
How LAM works:
When a baby suckles frequently at the breast stimulating the nipple, your brain is signalled to release hormones that interrupt your normal ovulation cycle. This is a perfect example of how well our brain and bodies are synchronized!
How effective is LAM?
Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) is a very effective (98%) form of protection from pregnancy while your baby is young.
LAM might be a contraceptive method for you to consider if you can answer ‘yes’ to all of the following questions :
- My baby is less than 6 months old;
- My monthly period has not returned;
- My baby is fully* or nearly fully** breastfed; and
- I am breastfeeding at least every 4 hours during the day and at least 6 hours at night.
*Fully breastfed means your baby gets all their food from suckling at the breast.
**Nearly fully breastfed means that your baby does not receive more than 1-2 mouthfuls per day of anything else in addition to breastfeeding and vitamin D.
If you answered ‘no’ to any of the above statements, know that your chances of becoming pregnant will increase with the LAM method.
If you are not planning another pregnancy, there are other non-hormonal methods of contraception to consider:
- Condoms and spermicides
- Copper Intrauterine Device (I.U.D.)
- Vasectomy (permanent for males)
- Tubal Ligation (permanent for females)
So there you have it, one less chapter of ‘things’ new parents need to know about. Now go and grab that other book and squeeze in a read while the house is quiet. Enjoy!
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.