ARE ARTIFICIAL HORMONES BAD FOR YOUR BABY?
Researchers have identified no short- or long-term detrimental effects. One study followed children whose mothers took hormonal contraceptives during breastfeeding for 17 years. Nevertheless, lactation experts recommend sticking to nonhormonal methods, at least during exclusive breastfeeding, which should ideally last six months.
NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING (NFP)
NFP entails abstaining from sex during your fertile periods, which you identify by carefully monitoring your body temperature and cervical mucus. When practised conscientiously, NFP is 91% to 99% effective. However, both partners must understand the method and commit to abstinence when necessary. Recognising your fertile periods during breastfeeding may be tricky: lactation hormones alter the cervical mucus and broken nights could mess with your basal temperature.
Condoms, diaphragms and cervical caps (with or without spermicide) do not affect breastfeeding and are generally considered effective when used correctly.
You may experience vaginal dryness during breastfeeding due to low oestrogen levels. Condoms could make matters worse, so be sure to stock up on lubricant. Stick to water-based products like Ky-jelly – oils (such as coconut and baby oil) could damage latex condoms. Ask your doctor to prescribe an oestrogen cream if need be.
NON-HORMONAL INTRAUTERINE DEVICES (IUDS)
An IUD is a small, flexible, T-shaped device that is placed inside the womb. There are two types: non-hormonal (also called a Copper T) and hormonal (Mirena). Both hinder sperm movement, which prevents conception as well as implantation. Hormonal IUDS might go a step further and prevent ovulation.
Nursing moms should preferably use non-hormonal devices. These offer effective, reversible, long-term contraception without affecting milk production or composition.
Get your timing right: An IUD should be inserted either within two days after birth or after six weeks. This reduces the slight risk of the uterus being punctured or expelling the device. The problem with progesterone? It can lower your milk supply. In fact, during pregnancy this hormone, secreted by the placenta, is responsible for preventing full-scale milk production. After birth, when the uterus expels the placenta, a new mom’s progesterone levels drop sharply. This change triggers lactation.
It makes sense to avoid synthetic hormones until your milk supply is well established. After six to eight weeks, progesterone rarely interferes with breastmilk production. To ensure you are not one of the unlucky few, take the mini-pill for a month while keeping an eye on baby’s weight. Is he still thriving? If not, stop taking the tablets. See how much simpler that is than removing an IUD or implant? The progesterone injection is even worse, as the effects can last up to a year. The biggest drawback of the mini-pill is that it needs to be taken around the same time every day. If you tend to be forgetful, an IUD might be your safest, most breastfeeding-friendly bet. These devices release progesterone directly into the womb’s lining, which means that minimal amounts reach the breastmilk. YB
FOR AS LONG AS YOUR NURSELING FREQUENTLY EMPTIES YOUR BREASTS, YOUR BODY WILL ASSUME THAT YOU ARE HIS SOLE FOOD SOURCE