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Many breastfeeding mothers don't experience a period until they are no longer breastfeeding. Others will have an irregular cycle or experience a period after reducing the number of times they breastfeed in a day. Formula feeding mothers usually get their period back anywhere from 1 to 3 months after delivery.

Download the WIC fact sheet about breastfeeding and contraception (PDF, 1.7 MB).

About the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)

Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) is a temporary form of natural family planning that can be used by women who have recently given birth and are exclusively breastfeeding. This method is 98 percent effective for those who can say yes to all four statements. If you cannot say yes to all four, it’s important to use another form of birth control:

  • Your baby is less than 6 months old.
  • You breastfeed your baby at least every 4 hours during the day, and every 6 hours at night – no exceptions.
  • You ONLY breastfeed your baby. (You do not give your baby any other food, formula or drinks.)
  • You have not noticed any spotting or started your monthly period.

Recommended Birth Control Methods for Breastfeeding Moms

These birth control methods do not contain hormones and won’t slow down your milk supply:

  • Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)
  • Condoms (the only method that may also prevent STD infections including HIV/AIDS)
  • Diaphragm
  • Cervical Cap
  • Sterilization (vasectomy or tubal ligation)
  • Natural Family Planning (only works if your period has returned)
  • Spermicides
  • The Sponge
  • Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD)

Progestin-Only Methods

These methods contain the hormone progestin and are typically safe to begin immediately after birth. If you’ve had low milk supply in the past, you may want to contact a lactation support counselor for advice.

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

Combined Hormonal Methods

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

  • The Ring
  • The Patch
  • The Pill (contains progestin and estrogen)
  • Emergency Contraception (requires waiting 24 hours before you can breastfeed again).

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