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While LAM can be a great natural birth control method, it can also have drawbacks. It doesn’t last for a long time, and you must breastfeed around the clock for it to work.

It can be hard to breastfeed exclusively.

For breastfeeding to work as natural birth control, you have to breastfeed exclusively. That means nursing every 4 hours during the day, and every 6 hours through the night, which can be pretty difficult. It also means not feeding your baby formula or anything other than breastmilk.

Even though breastfeeding is free, using it as birth control has other costs — like time and energy — that not everyone can afford. Being available every 4 hours to nurse can be tough.

You also need a strong nursing relationship (meaning your baby is really good at suckling) to use breastfeeding as birth control. Some studies have shown that weak suckling can make LAM slightly less effective. Using a breast pump won’t work for LAM, either — you’re only protected against pregnancy if your baby is nursing. And many people just have a hard time with nursing.

It’s totally okay if you can’t or don’t want to breastfeed exclusively — there are other ways to prevent pregnancy.

Breastfeeding only prevents pregnancy for up to 6 months.

Go ahead and breastfeed your baby as long as you like. But breastfeeding isn’t a long-term natural birth control method — you can only rely on breastfeeding to prevent pregnancy for the first 6 months of your baby’s life. Sometimes, you might get your period even before that. After you get your period or your baby is 6 months old, you’ll need another kind of birth control. Luckily, there are lots of options.

Breastfeeding can have some side effects.

Breastfeeding can lower vaginal lubrication (getting wet when aroused), which can make sex uncomfortable. And some people find that nursing makes their breasts feel less sexual.

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Breastfeeding

  • 98% effective

  • Cost is $0

  • Dedication required

  • Works up to 6 months after giving birth

Breastfeeding doesn’t protect you from STDs. Use a condom for help stopping STDs.
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