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Thread: Milk supply and birth control

  1. #1

    Default Milk supply and birth control

    My daughter is about 3.5 months old. I am now faced with the decision of getting on birth control or not. I am considering the IUD. I have heard that birth control can affect milk production negatively. I was wondering if there was any info or references or even personal experiences that anyone could share with me to help me in my decision? Breast feeding is definitely my number one priority.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,107

    Default Re: Milk supply and birth control

    Welcome to the forum!

    Hormonal contraception can definitely affect milk supply. When nursing, you should avoid combination estrogen-progestin methods (the combination pill, the vaginal ring, the contraceptive patch, etc.) since most women find that these methods have a negative impact on supply. While progestin-only pills (POP) are supposed to be "safe for breastfeeding," there is at least good anecdotal evidence that some women experience decreased supply while using them. However, if you are going to choose a hormonal method, I would consider the POP to be the best option on the market. First of all, they're the least likely to hurt your supply, and second, if they do have a negative impact, you can just stop taking them and your supply should rebound very rapidly. The hormonal IUD is, like the POP, unlikely to affect supply, but if it does you are stuck with it until you can get an appointment to have it removed.

    A drawback of the POP is that they must be taken at the same time every day, and some women can't manage that sort of adherence. If you like the idea of a "set it and forget it" kind of birth control, you might want to consider the very breastfeeding-friendly non-hormonal copper IUD (ParaGard).
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Milk supply and birth control

    Thank you for your response! I'm also wondering what's better hormones or no hormones. I don't know much about birth control since I've always used the rhythm method. Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    24

    Default Re: Milk supply and birth control

    I got the Paraguard two months ago and it has been great so far. It's the non-hormonal IUD. My daughter is six months old and I haven't had a period yet, so I don't know how it will be once my cycles start up again. But it was painless to put in (some women find it difficult, just an FYI) and a really great option for me. I couldn't handle any hormonal birth control after trying four or five brands before we got pregnant. They caused weight gain and massive mood swings. Some women I know love hormonal methods, but I also know a lot of women for whom hormonal BC really messed up their systems. If you've never been on hormonal BC, I would lean toward non-hormonal on principle.

    I can't recommend the Paraguard enough, though I know IUDs don't work for everyone. The fact that it's BFing friendly was really important since I hope to BF for another year at least. I'm happy to answer any other questions about it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,107

    Default Re: Milk supply and birth control

    I personally would say "no hormones." Like the PP, I found that hormonal contraception was not a good option for me. It was like having PMS- permanently! And while it made spontaneous intercourse possible, it also vastly diminished my desire to have intercourse at all. Of course, your response to hormonal contraception might be 100% different! But the way I see it, you're a new mom so your hormones are already a little whacky- why add another hormonal overlay to what you already have going on?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6

    Default Re: Milk supply and birth control

    I am exclusively breast feeding, not even pumping or anything. Besides the breast, just a pacifier. With that said, how will I know if my production has decreased? Or since I do not supplement with bottles or anything, will the stimulation be enough to avoid a decrease in production? I hope I am not bothering you with my questions. Thanks again!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Milk supply and birth control

    And as I stated before, breastfeeding is my first priority, and I would like to BF until she is at least a year. It's so hard to know what to do because I cannot compare with past BC, being that I have never been on BC (well many years ago when my husband and I first started dating I was on the patch but only for a short while...)

  8. #8

    Default Re: Milk supply and birth control

    Do you know where I may find more info on BC. There's not much here on LLLI and googling it does not seem like accurate/ reliable info.

    Also back to the issue of hormone or no hormones, do you think age affects the severity of the side affects for the ones with hormones? I only ask because my OB-GYN's secretary kept relating age to the hormonal option, as if that one would be the better option.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,107

    Default Re: Milk supply and birth control

    More info on birth control: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/hea...trol-4211.html Everything on that site is accurate and reliable, though it is not in-depth information nor does it specifically address breastfeeding. For breastfeeding-specific information, check out to link: http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastf.../birthcontrol/

    I certainly wouldn't take your gyn's secretary's advice on contraception- if she seems to be pushing a certain option, she may be doing so because that's what she likes, or what she thinks you like, or what a lot of women in your area ask for. Hormonal contraception is not an option that gets "better" with age; in fact, your risk for dangerous side-effects from combination estrogen-progestin contraception increases if you are over 35. (Though of course it's not a zero risk if you're 34!)

    If you decide to take hormonal contraception, you'll know you're having supply problems if you see a marked decrease in wet/poopy diaper output or your baby is suddenly not gaining weight the way she should.

    If breastfeeding is your first priority, would you like some more information about non-hormonal methods that might work for you? If you can provide some information about what you're looking for in a contraceptive- do you want to maximize spontaneity? do you and your husband like the skin-to-skin feeling? are you looking for the least expensive option. Etc.- then maybe we can suggest a method that would be worth a try.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    California
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    Default Re: Milk supply and birth control

    Personally, I have the Mirena IUD (the hormonal one). I got it at my 6 week post-partum appointment and am still BF'ing my 15 month old son. It doesn't seem to have had any effect on supply whatsoever, in my case--I actually had some oversupply until he was 9 or 10 months old. That's just anecdotal experience and your experience may differ. The drawback to the copper (non-hormonal) IUD is that it tends to make periods heavier and more painful, vs. the Mirena which makes your periods lighter or non-existent. Unless you have a borderline milk supply to start with, my guess is the Mirena won't do much, but that's just a guess. You won't know unless you try it.

    One thing to be aware of if you choose to take the mini-pill (or progesterone-only pill) is that you have to take it at almost exactly the same time each day to be effective. If you're off by more than a couple hours, you could get pregnant. I didn't trust myself to remember to take a pill at the exact same time every day which is why I chose Mirena.
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

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