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Ok, realistically how reliable is bf as a contraceptive?

(40 Posts)
inatrance Tue 21-Jun-11 13:41:54

Just wondering whether or not to bother with any contraceptives as I'm bf? Ds is having one formula bottle at 2am but otherwise still feeding lots. It took 6 months to get pregnant with ds and we are looking at trying again when he is 12-18 months anyway..

So it wouldn't be a total disaster if i got pg again but in an ideal world it wouldn't be just yet iykwim..

Its just that I'm crap at taking tablets and other than condoms we don't have many other options. Any thoughts?

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 21-Jun-11 13:44:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

toughdecisions Tue 21-Jun-11 13:45:10

Not reliable at all.

BikeRunSki Tue 21-Jun-11 13:47:19

Not that effective, let me introduce you to at least 3 of my friends with 11-15 month gaps between their children for thinking along the same line as you.

Unless you only want a year or so between your DC.

Cattleprod Tue 21-Jun-11 13:47:44

It's not a form of contraception, other than when you have big uncomfortable leaky boobs you probably don't feel too keen on the idea of a fumble in the sack!!

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 21-Jun-11 13:51:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pfbornot Tue 21-Jun-11 13:53:58

For some people, breastfeeding is a great contraceptive. For others, it doesn't work at all. It totally depends on the person and you won't know until you try it. Personally in your position, I would just go ahead with no contraception - you want another baby anyway and you are planning to try in 6 months time.

QueenofDreams Tue 21-Jun-11 13:56:50

Hmm I wouldn't count on it personally.

I didn't conceive dd until after I stopped bf DS completely. We'd ditched the contraceptives months before, but within 2 months of quitting bf I conceived, so I think it stopped me getting pregnant.

Having said that I know a few people who got pregnant depite exclusively breastfeeding a young baby. so if you'd prefer to wait a little longer before ttc, I'd suggest sticking with contraceptives for now

alexpolismum Tue 21-Jun-11 14:22:54

IME it's not reliable at all. I have three children and two were conceived while breastfeeding. With my second pregnancy, I ticked all the boxes - I was exclusivesly breastfeeding, my son was still under 6 months, feeding frequently, feeding at night, etc etc etc, and yet I got pregnant. This wasn't a problem for me, but if it would be for you, then find another form of contraception. You have no guarantees that bf will delay your fertility, it doesn't work for everyone.

RitaMorgan Tue 21-Jun-11 14:24:46

It's reliable if:

You are exclusively breastfeeding
Your baby has no bottles or dummies
You feed in the night
You feed entirely on demand and don't schedule feeds or limit time on the breast
You haven't had a period.

But even then it isn't 100% reliable.

Sidge Tue 21-Jun-11 14:25:55

Definitely not reliable where even one breastfeed is substituted with formula (and even then not especially reliable).

You do have other options - depo-provera (but not great if you want to conceive again within a year), the implant, a coil, patches, contraceptive ring. Maybe have a chat with your practice nurse or at the Family Planning Clinic?

alexpolismum Tue 21-Jun-11 14:29:09

RitaMorgan - I fulfilled all those reliability criteria on your list and still got pregnant...

kerala Tue 21-Jun-11 14:31:03

I know a one year old and a four year old from different families who are great examples of how bf as a contraceptive does NOT work grin

MrsBradleyCooper Tue 21-Jun-11 14:31:13

My best friends sister got pg whilst breastfeeding exclusively so I'd say.....not reliable at all grin!

coocoocachoo Tue 21-Jun-11 14:40:56

Not at all reliable according to the heavily pregnant lady at my local home birth group who was nursing her 10 month old!

inatrance Tue 21-Jun-11 16:56:05

Thank you for the replies, it's a good job I posted! blush I didn't realise it was quite as easy to get pg whilst bf, especially with me dropping a feed overnight so will now sort out alternative contraception.

I hadn't thought of patches or the implant, will look into that thanks. smile

saycheese Tue 21-Jun-11 17:04:39

there is a 15 month age gap between my two oldest girls. i was fully breastfeeding, had not had a period and still got pregnant, so unless you wouldnt mind a surprise dont do it lol x

Cymar Tue 21-Jun-11 18:13:27

Not reliable IMO, but it depends on the woman. FWIW I EBF for 4.5m on demand day and night (not going more than 3hrs between each feed), had no dummies, no period, no bottles and no fluids or solids. I figured out that DS was 3.5m when DD was conceived, so it worked out about 4wks-1 month before I'd started mixed feeding.

My HV and GP also told me that it's possible to release an egg after birth, although neither has known a mum to get pregnant less than 4wks after birth (my cousin, a GP, has 10m between her eldest 2 kids).

bebemooneedsabreak Tue 21-Jun-11 18:14:29

abt as reliable as the 'counting method' as in NOT AT ALL

TheRealMBJ Tue 21-Jun-11 18:31:53

The Lactational Ammenorroeah Method (LAM) is reliable (98-99.5% effective) contraception provided the following conditions are adhered to:

Exclusive breastfeeding (that means no formula supplementations/juice/water/solids)
Baby under 6 months
Periods have not yet returned
No bottles/dummies ever
Fully demand breastfeeding
Night feeds
No periods of longer than 6 hours between feeds (this applies to night feeds particularly)

Here is a table comparing LAM to other methods of contraception

Here is a study looking at LAM in working women and another investiating feeding patterns and ammennorhoea and this one examines the risk of pregnancy during lactation.

nannyl Tue 21-Jun-11 20:42:05

i know a few people who have used BF as a "contraceptive"

They all have very small age gaps between their children [wink

piprabbit Tue 21-Jun-11 20:44:36

This is why new mums get asked repeatedly by MWs, HVs and GPs "So, what sort of contraception are you planning to use?".

Then they can laugh hollowly if you say "Oh, I'm planning to BF".

mawbroon Tue 21-Jun-11 22:23:11

It's 100% reliable until you start ovulating again.

But if you are not absolutely sure that you know and will spot the signs of ovulation then it can't be relied upon.

BreastmilkDoesAFabLatte Wed 22-Jun-11 08:36:23

<But if you are not absolutely sure that you know and will spot the signs of ovulation then it can't be relied upon">

Given that sperm can live for a few days waiting for an egg to appear, it is possible to get pregnant having DTD before ovulation. So even then it's not guaranteed.

<This is why new mums get asked repeatedly by MWs, HVs and GPs "So, what sort of contraception are you planning to use?".

Then they can laugh hollowly if you say "Oh, I'm planning to BF".>

So true! Or in the case of ours "go for it, that's how I ended up with three kids just after the eldest turned two..."

mawbroon Wed 22-Jun-11 09:18:36

Sperm can live several days (up to a week I think), if the conditions are right, otherwise it dies within a few hours. So yes, you are right that you can get pg from sex several days beforehand if the conditions are right.

So perhaps I should have said But if you are not absolutely sure that you know and will spot the signs of impending ovulation then it can't be relied upon

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