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Is breast feeding a natural contraceptive?

Q: I have a 2.5 months old baby and I am exclusively breast feeding him. After 7 weeks of delivery, my periods have returned. I think that is because my baby was not well and was not taking his feeds regularly. Also, I have heard that breast feeding is a natural contraceptive. Have my periods returned permanently or was it for that cycle only. I had unprotected sex; does that mean I can get pregnant again? After recovering from his illness my baby is taking regular feeds but sleeps for 7 hours in night only.

A:Congratulations on your baby. You are giving your baby the best gift by breast feeding him. Breast feeding is NOT A NATURAL CONTRACEPTIVE. Many a children have been born because of that belief. Breast feeding does make your periods erratic, so many women do not even know that they are pregnant when they are breast feeding. I would strongly urge you to use contraception. Oestrogen based birth control pills will interfere with your breast milk, but progesterone based pills do not. You may discuss other contraceptive options with your obstetrician.

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