What Are The Chances of Getting Pregnant While Exclusively Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding as your exclusive form of birth control does bring with it the chance of becoming pregnant. Breastfeeding does not guarantee that you are not fertile, or that you will not become pregnant again while breastfeeding. Many women who have tried to rely on exclusively breastfeeding have found themselves caring for two infants.
Breastfeeding is not a completely ineffective method of birth control, however. To increase your chances of successfully using breastfeeding to keep from getting pregnant, there are some important factors to look at.
Three major factors will help to determine whether or not breastfeeding can be a useful method of birth control for you. The first factor is your baby being less than six months old. Second, your menstrual period should not have returned. Finally, your baby should be exclusively feeding on breast milk, and not being supplemented by other foods or formula, and not taking a pacifier. If you meet all of these criteria, breastfeeding reduces your chances of getting pregnant to about 2%.
Once any one of the three factors mentioned above changes, breastfeeding becomes less effective at preventing pregnancy. The timing of the return to being fertile will vary greatly from one woman to the next, and it will also depend greatly on the nursing pattern of your infant. In addition, your body’s sensitivity to the hormones that respond to lactation will determine whether you are going to become fertile sooner.
There are some things that you can do to increase the chances of breastfeeding as birth control being effective. You should breastfeed around the clock. You should use breastfeeding to help your baby be comforted. You should avoid pacifiers and bottles. You should breastfeed when lying down at naptime and at nighttime.
Once your baby is taking other foods, your period has returned, or your baby is more than six months old, your chances of getting pregnant while exclusively breastfeeding rapidly increase. You should, at this point, pursue other forms of birth control if you do not want to become pregnant.