Re: Are women REALLY more fertile their first few months postpartum?
It depends on the woman. With DS1, my period returned 6 months postpartum. I was supplementing with formula a little bit, but my period came back when I started the Mini-Pill.
DS2 was exclusively breast fed until about 6 or 7 months. But my period didn't come back until he was about 16 or 17 months old, despite him eating solids and not nursing as much. He nursed for 22 months. I did not use any hormonal birth control.
With DS3, he was exclusively breast fed until he was 9 months old. He nursed for 24 months. My period came back when he was about 15 months old. I did not use any hormonal birth control
So obviously I wasn't fertile until the right before each postpartum period. But I have known women who have had their first postpartum period when they were 3 months postpartum. Some were EBFing and fell in that minority statistic, others were formula feeding so they didn't have lactation to suppress their ovulation or they were supplementing and didn't have enough lactation to suppress ovulation.
Here is what my midwife and lactation consultant have said..
That when Breastfeeding is exclusive, and the mother/child fall under the 4 rules of breast feeding, that EBFing is about 98% effective as birth control. There will always be some women who do not fall in this category, just as condoms and BCPs are not 100% effective for all women.
1. The baby is under 6 months old.
2. The baby is not getting ANY supplementation and is truly EBFed.
3. The baby gets ALL sucking needs met at the breast, even the non-eating comfort sucking, as opposed to getting a pacifier to meet this need (so no pacifiers).
4. Baby is not going more than 4 hours at night between feedings.
So.. as a general rule, when those 4 rules are met, breast feeding is a form of NFP. HOWEVER.. it's not 100%, just like you have BCP failures and condom failures (hello, that's me with this pregnancy, condom failure. Sex one time within my fertile window WITH a condom lol), there will be people who this method "fails" for.
For me, using EBF, I didn't use any "backup" birth control until my babies hit about 6 months old and it worked out just fine for me. But to be 100% safe, you'll want a barrier or a pill.
Hope this helps.
Last edited by Michelle_M; 05-08-2012 at 12:30 AM.