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Many women don't experience a period until they are through breastfeeding (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. Women who feed their babies formula will usually begin menstruating anywhere from 1-3 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 the technical way of saying you don't have a period while breastfeeding. Some women use this as a form of family planning. LAM is a temporary form of natural family planning that can be used by women who have recently given birth and are breastfeeding. To use LAM, you must be able to say yes to all four statements:

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

LAM is 98% effective for moms 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 breastmilk supply.

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

Recommended Birth Control Methods for Breastfeeding Moms

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 Breastfeeding

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
  • Emergency Contraception

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