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Breastfeeding as Birth Control?

What you've heard: "You can't get pregnant while breastfeeding."

The truth: Actually, you can. The hormones associated with nursing may keep you from ovulating and getting pregnant if:

* You're breastfeeding exclusively (meaning your baby isn't eating or drinking anything else -- even water), including at least one nighttime feeding.

* Your baby is less than 6 months old; after this age she'll be eating solid foods, so you'll be breastfeeding her less.

* Your periods haven't started up yet.

Unless all of the above applies to you, it's a good idea to use contraception. Condoms or another barrier method are your best bet if you want to have sex within the first six weeks of giving birth. (The estrogen in the Pill and other hormonal contraception may decrease your milk supply, especially in the beginning.)

Your doctor will probably let you go back on the Pill after six weeks if your milk supply is firmly established. Ask about a low-dose progestin-only Pill, which is often best for keeping your milk flowing.

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