Can you believe I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding for six months now? Better yet – can you believe I am breastfeeding while typing this? Even better – can you believe I am using breastfeeding as birth control?
A few weeks ago on my Instagram and Facebook pages, I posted an ode to Black breastfeeding mothers during Black Breastfeeding Week and shared some of my own struggles I faced while breastfeeding. it got picked up by Yahoo, POPSUGAR Moms, Cafe Mom, and Huffington Post! I even got featured on Monica The Nurse Practitioner! You can read it below:
Yesterday marked the start of Black Breastfeeding Week. I’ve been on this journey for almost 24 weeks and I couldn’t feel more empowered! If it wasn’t for the not so good latches in the beginning (hey – we were learning together, but LORDT my poor nipples 😩), engorgements, pumping to relieve the pain of rock hard boobs, nursing around the clock, and streams of milk shooting across the room (don’t ask) I would have never been able to experience the bond we share, the rapid weight loss (MILF), the natural birth control (use at your own risk 👀), and the feeling of knowing I’m giving her the best of the best. The benefits are endless and too much to state (here anyway), but they far outweigh any of the afore mentioned hardships I’ve faced by a long shot! . . I am thankful for women like my mother who chose to breastfeed all three of her children. She inspired me at an early age (my sister-cousin sent me a picture of me “breastfeeding” a baby doll when I was younger 😩😂) and normalized breastfeeding in our household. . . Since motherhood, I have connected with a great group of Black women who support, uplift, and encourage one another through the good and rough times. . . To the mamas out there who are on this journey with me I want to say thank you for helping to bridge the gap. Thank you for helping to lower our infant mortality rate. Thank you for boosting your little one’s immune systems. Thank you for creating a bond like no other with your babies. Thank you for sharing your struggles and your successes. And a HUGE thank you to all of the Black lactation consultants out there! You ladies ROCK!! . . Lastly, to all of the mamas-to-be who want to breastfeed: We are here to support you. There is a village and we welcome you with open arms 💜 Happy Black Breastfeeding Week! #normalizebreastfeeding #blackbreastfeedingweek
Breastfeeding as Birth Control
In this post, I mentioned using breastfeeding as birth control.
I got a few “how sways” in my inbox and decided to address the answer here in form of an #askpRoy post (you can read more #askpRoy posts by clicking here)
I stumbled across this article posted in one of my breastfeeding groups: Breastfeeding, Fertility and Subfertility – How Breastfeeding affects your menstrual cycle
In summation, the article digs deep into the understanding of menstrual cycles and hormones associated with it while explaining how it all ties into breastfeeding. Being the nerd that I am, I was delighted to read this!
Once I got to the end I was feening for more and, luckily, saw a link to a part two: Breastfeeding, Fertility and SubFertility – Getting Pregnant and Avoiding Pregnancy
Now this is what I wanted to read! This article has all of the facts and facts on facts of how to not conceive while breastfeeding, or on how to conceive should you so choose.
Listen: I know there are some mamas out there that want to have a baby while breastfeeding, particularly if they are nearing the end of their journeys. However, I am not that mama. I am not ending my breastfeeding journey anytime soon and I am not interested in having another baby at this moment so this information comes in handy for me! Please note I am still cycle-free.
Please keep these things in mind:
Breastfeeding is 98-99% effective when the infant is under 6 months and breastfed exclusively
The introduction of solid foods alters the effectiveness of breastfeeding as birth control (read above article).
Natural Birth Control
Along with these articles, I also have a book recommendation to mamas who are on a similar journey as mine, even if you should stop breastfeeding and want to relax before the next baby (or you are done), but don’t want to use traditional birth control options.
This is also for the women who don’t want to use traditional birth control options.
I’ve been birth control free for years now. I didn’t like the way birth control affected my hormones, so I quit cold turkey. During my birth control free days, I tracked my cycle. I knew when it was coming, how long it was staying, when I was ovulating, etc. That worked best for ME. Whatever you so choose, decide on safe sex FIRST and always get tested!
While speaking with my midwife at my six week postpartum check-up, she asked me what type of birth control I was considering. My answer? Natural. With no condemnation or judgement in her voice, she directed me to read a book entitled, “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler.
With no judgement in my post, I’m placing this title here for you to read if you so choose. This book has a lot of great information and I do believe you will feel empowered after reading it.
So to answer a couple of questions:
Can one use breastfeeding as birth control?
I’m not a medical professional, so don’t come for me…
However, in my experience, yes.
How can one use breastfeeding as birth control?
Read the afore mentioned texts for a better understanding.
That’s all for now, but I do have a question for all of you:
Have you used breastfeeding as birth control? How was your experience?