Breastfeeding can be a reliable method of birth control provided some basic elements are in place and adhered to carefully. LAM or (Lactational amenorrhea method) is the name of this practice. The criteria that need to be in place are as follows:
- Mom has no periods meaning aside from the postpartum bleeding that can last up to 2 months, there is no bleeding lasting for more than 2 days.
- Exclusively breastfed meaning the baby is breastfed at breast (pumping only does not work with LAM) and the baby receives no other food or liquid supplements. Babies breastfed after six months of age are no longer considered exclusively breastfed because at six months of age the baby needs to have other foods added to their diet in addition to being breastfed.
- The baby is breastfed regularly meaning at least every 4 hours during the day and at least every 6 hours at night.
All three of these criteria need to be present for LAM to work. If you are not sure if you fit the criteria or have any questions about the LAM, contact your lactation counselor.
It is important to talk with your health care provider about which method suits you best.