Many women assume that nature provides its own birth control by suppressing ovulation while a woman is breastfeeding . This is true to some extent: In the early months of breastfeeding, when the baby relies on breastmilk for the majority or all of its sustenance, a woman will not typically ovulate.

The Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM), relies on a more scientific understanding of the impact that breastfeeding has upon ovulation. It is not solely the act of breastfeeding that suppresses ovulation in new mothers. It is also important to consider the frequency of breastfeeding and the quantity of milk taken from the mother’s breasts. For new mothers who meet the specifications for LAM, the method is 98 percent effective in preventing pregnancy during the first six months after the infant is born.

There are three major requirements for LAM candidates:

* You cannot have had a menstrual period since the baby was born.

* Your infant must get the bulk or all of his or her sustenance from breastmilk.

* Your infant must be six months or younger.

LAM is only appropriate when the infant’s diet is not significantly supplemented with other sources such as baby foods or formula . LAM mothers should nurse at least every four hours during the day and every six hours at night. After the first six months of life, infant diets must be supplemented from other sources in order to ensure proper nutritional intake. This is why LAM is most effective during the first six months following delivery.

The major difficulty with LAM is that it is sometimes a challenge to assess the extent to which an infant’s diet is supplemented. If your status within any of the criteria changes at any time, you’ll need to use another method of birth control. There is a chance that you may have one or two periods without prior ovulation, but if you are having periods, you should consider yourself fertile again.

Talk to your practitioner to determine whether LAM is a good option for you.

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