What Is the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)?
For up to six months after giving birth, and if
the menstrual cycle has not resumed, breast-feeding can be an effective and
natural form of birth control. This is known as the lactational amenorrhea
In order for
breast-feeding to reduce your risk of pregnancy, you must:
- start breast-feeding shortly after birth
- breastfeed exclusively
- breast-feed as your baby demands, not on a
- not have had a menstrual period since you gave
How Does LAM Work?
Prolactin is the hormone that makes breast milk. It also prevents the
release of the hormones that cause ovulation.
Under the right circumstances, breast-feeding can delay
ovulation and the return of normal menstrual periods. Without ovulation, there
is no egg for the sperm to fertilize and pregnancy cannot occur.
How Do I Use LAM?
as a birth control option is easy. However, it is only effective under the following
conditions. You must:
- start breast-feeding shortly after your baby’s
- exclusively use breast-feeding to feed your baby
- not use formula or supplemental bottles
- feed the baby when hungry, not on a schedule
- feed at least every four hours during the day
and every six hours at night
LAM is only effective if your menstrual period has not
returned since giving birth. It
only remains effective
for about six months after
delivery. If you get a menstrual period, it is no longer effective.
How Effective is LAM?
According to Planned
Parenthood, the failure rate of LAM is less than one percent for women who
always breast-feed as required by LAM. The failure rate is two percent for
women who don’t always breast feed as required by LAM.:
What Are the Benefits of LAM?
Breast-feeding provides many health benefits for the mother
and the baby. As a birth control method, it is convenient and easy.
Breast-feeding requires no supplies or prescription, and it’s free.
What Are the Disadvantages of LAM?
Unfortunately, breast-feeding as a method for birth control
is only effective for the first six
months after delivery. This method also relies on a dedication to breast-feeding
as the only source of food for the baby. If you feed your baby any formula, you
have a chance of getting pregnant. In addition, if your regular menstrual
periods return, this method is no longer effective.
It is possible to get pregnant before you have your first
period after pregnancy. This is more likely after six months.