The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine just put up a post about new guidelines from the CDC for hormone birth control and breastfeeding mothers. These guidelines suggest that it is ok for breastfeeding mothers to begin some hormonal birth control methods soon after birth. The new guidelines may undermine breastfeeding success:
Clinically, breastfeeding support providers report a negative impact on breastfeeding when these methods are introduced too early, and one preliminary study found dramatically lower breastfeeding rates at 6 months among mothers who underwent early insertion of progesterone-containing IUDs, compared with insertion at 6-8 weeks postpartum.
If you’re wondering what birth control options are compatible with breastfeeding, The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has a protocol on contraception and breastfeeding. If you’d like a discussion of your options that is a little less clinical sounding (maybe a little easier to read as an overview) here is a link to a summary from La Leche League International. Two birth control methods that are totally compatible with breastfeeding (one of them depends on breastfeeding!) that many people overlook are NFP and LAM.
I have been looking forward to this book’s publication ever since I heard a conference talk by one of the authors, Lisa Marasco. This book, Making More Milk, by Lisa Marasco and Diana West is finally available for pre-orders. I’ve got my copy ordered (and I keep checking my mail hoping it’s here) — I think it’s going to be an awesome resource for mothers with low milk production and the people that want to help them. One thing that I find particularly exciting about this book is that it looks at current lactation research to try to understand the different reasons that women have trouble making enough milk for their babies. It makes so much sense to try to use interventions that address the underlying problems.
Lisa and Diana have already shared so much of their experience and research. If you want a taste of what they offer, check out their website www.lowmilksupply.org or listen to them on the Motherwear podcasts.
I’ve had a few questions recently from women that are thinking about milk sharing — using other mothers’ milk to supplement their babies. Donor milk from a milk bank is great and probably the safest option — unfortunately some families don’t have access to milk bank milk or can’t afford it. So I wanted to note a few resources that families can use as they decide what to do when their baby needs supplementing and they have to choose between formula and informally donated milk.
There are some serious diseases that can be transmitted through breastmilk. Here are guidelines from Milk Share (a resource for families milk sharing outside the milk banking system) and HMBANA (the Human Milk Banking Association of North America) for screening donors. Here is a link to a site where you can purchase a single-bottle human milk pasteuriser. There are health risks associated with formula feeding too. Be sure to check that any formula you use is mixed appropriately. Here’s a link to the FDA website where you can make sure that the formula you’re using hasn’t been recalled. This is a tough choice for parents — it’s one of those things where I wish there were easy answers.