When women are breastfeeding, and especially if they are not having a period, it can be easy to forget that birth control is still important to prevent pregnancy. Breastfeeding itself does not protect against pregnancy, and women can conceive even before they have had a period. There are several safe options for contraception while breastfeeding.
The “mini pill” is a birth control pill that contains only progesterone. This pill is safe for both mom and baby, and will have no effect on milk supply. The combined birth control pill (which has both progesterone and estrogen) is also safe, but for some women it may decrease their milk supply.
An IUD is another safe option while breastfeeding. An IUD (intra-uterine device) is a small, flexible T-shaped device that a provider inserts into the uterus at an office visit. Both the copper IUD (Paraguard) and the progesterone IUD (Mirena) can be inserted during the postpartum period and have the benefit of offering long term contraception.
Another longer term option is the implant Nexplanon, placed under the skin of the arm. It is progesterone only and can be inserted shortly after delivery.
Make sure to talk to your doctor or midwife at your postpartum visit about what options would be best for you and your lifestyle.