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Lactational Amenorrhea Method: Natural Birth Control

Did you know momma that the Lactational Amenorrhea Method is a form of birth control that involves the reliance on breastfeeding in preventing pregnancy? Well, if you haven’t, you have come to the right place to learn more about this topic.

This blog post will touch on the definition of the LAM method, who can use it, its effectiveness and different benefits/disadvantages for new mommas.

What is the LAM Method?

Before we dive into the nit and gritty of the LAM method it is important to break down the name so you as a new momma can understand it fully. The L stands for Lactation which is the process of the body making breast milk whereas the A stands for Amenorrhea which is a term used when a monthly period is not occurring, so essentially “producing milk to not have a period”.

To dive deeper in the LAM, this method is a natural form of breastfeeding that actually uses the act of breastfeeding itself to prevent pregnancy. Now you may be wondering, how does this work? Well, it is the breast feeding hormones that arise when a new mom is breastfeeding that can actually stop the body from producing the eggs that cause a period to occur. If these eggs are not released then pregnancy will not be able to occur.

Who can use this Method?

Now that we know what this method entails, how does a momma know if she can use this method? Well, there are a few criteria that need to be met for this method to work and they include a momma having a baby that is less than 6 months old and is breastfed on demand with no formula, food or water incorporated into the diet.

If your baby is considered “nearly breastfed” meaning that they receive vitamins or other fluids every once in a while this will work, but this should not be a disruption of the frequency of breastfeedings.

Additionally, another thing to note is that this will only be effective for a momma whose period has not returned which includes no vaginal bleeding for 2 or more days in a row.

How effective is it?

The effectiveness for this natural birth control method is similar to who can use it as it has many criteria that a momma must fit into.

To start off, it is important to consider that with perfect use, including following the exact directions at all times, this method is 98% effective in the first 6 months after giving birth. The method may help prevent pregnancy, but it is important to note that it does not protect against any STIs/HIV and the use of a condom is highly encouraged when engaging in sexual activity.

Now that we know that this method can be highly effective when using it the correct way some instances where it will become ineffective include, when the menstrual period returns, the baby is older than 6 months, food and liquid is incorporated into the baby’s diet, the baby has specific infant metabolic disorders, the baby is sleeping through the night, of if the momma is using mood-altering drugs.

Benefits/ Disadvantages of LAM

Below are some bullet forms of the benefits and disadvantages of the LAM method:

  • Benefits:
    • Works for up to 6 months after birth 
    • Effective right away 
    • No added hormones to affect breastmilk 
    • Decreased cost 
    • Breastfeeding benefits to both mom and baby
  • Disadvantages:
    • Difficulty with breastfeeding 
    • Fertility can return quickly if breastfeeding frequency is cut short

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Emily Sylvester

Emily Sylvester is the Founder & CEO of Mother of Fact. As a Licensed Registered Dietitian, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and Mom of 3, she's helped thousands of families in many low/middle income communities feel confident and supported in their feeding journey. Her mission is to eliminate the deficit of equitable breastfeeding & formula feeding help for all households & healthcare systems.
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