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 method (LAM).
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 schedule
- not have had a menstrual period since you gave birth
Prolactin is the hormone that makes breast milk. It also prevents the release of the hormones that cause ovulation.