USING THE LACTATIONAL AMENORRHEA METHOD
What is the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)?
This is a temporary contraceptive method that relies on exclusive breast/chestfeeding. It can be used from birth up to six months if all conditions are met. Producing milk is called lactating and not having a period is called amenorrhea, hence this method of birth control is called lactational amenorrhea (or LAM).
How does LAM work?
By exclusively breast/chest feeding a baby for six months, the hormones that produce the breast milk will also work to stop the ovaries from releasing an egg and therefore there is no ovulation for the first six months after the baby is born. For this method to work, the following three conditions must be met:
- The baby must be under six months of age AND
- The birth parent must not have had a menstrual period AND
- The baby must be exclusively breast/chestfed (breast/chestfeeds at least every four hours during the day and at least every six hours at night, no pumping, no formula or pablum with feeds).
How effective is LAM?
Lactational amenorrhea is approximately 98% effective in preventing pregnancy.
If any of the conditions above change, such as you get your period or you start feeding your baby formula or pablum, then you need to assume the LAM is no longer working and you need to use another form of birth control. It is useful to have some condoms to use in case one of the conditions changes.
- It costs nothing
- Easy to use
- No clinic visits or medications required
- No hormones that interfere with breast/chest feeding
- Does not interrupt intercourse
- It is not reliable if your baby is fed any pablum or formula
- It is not reliable if your menstrual period has started
- It is not reliable if your baby is older then 6 months
- It is difficult to predict if your ovaries are ready to start releasing an egg (ovulating) – as soon as you have a period, you will need to use another method of birth control to prevent pregnancy