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Information About Breastfeeding Infertility

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  Breastfeeding Infertility
 
The Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) of contraception makes use of the natural infertility which occurs through breastfeeding. It is 98% effective during the first six months postpartum for women who meet the criteria:

  • Breastfeeding must be the infant’s only (or almost only) source of nutrition. Feeding formula, pumping instead of breastfeeding, and feeding solids all reduce the effectiveness of LAM.
  • The infant must breastfeed at least every four hours during the day and at least every six hours at night.
  • The infant must be less than six months old.
  • The woman must not have had a period after 56 days post-partum (bleeding prior to 56 days post-partum can be ignored).

Ecological breastfeeding is a stricter form of LAM developed by the Couple to Couple League International. Their studies have shown it has a 1% failure rate in the first six months postpartum, and a 6% failure rate before the woman’s first postpartum menstruation. (For women practicing ecological breastfeeding, average onset of menstruation is at 14 months post-partum. For individual women, onset of menstruation varies widely, with anything from 2 months to 48 months post-partum considered normal.) The Seven Standards of ecological breastfeeding:

  • Breastfeeding must be the infant’s only source of nutrition – no formula, no pumping, and (if the infant is less than six months old) no solids.
  • The infant must be pacified at the breast, not with pacifiers or bottles
  • The infant must be breastfed often. The standards for LAM are a bare minimum; more frequency is better. Scheduling of feedings should be avoided.
  • Mothers must sleep with their infants – in the same room, if not in the same bed.
  • Mothers must not be separated from their infants for more than three hours a day.
  • Mothers must take daily naps with their infants.
  • The woman must not have had a period after 56 days post-partum (bleeding prior to 56 days post-partum can be ignored).

Obviously, this method is only practical for women whose lifestyles allow for it (though this can be said of all methods of birth control.)

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