Attention all new mamas and breastfeeding queens! Amidst the ocean of misinformation regarding postpartum, one of the biggest controversies revolves around birth control. The internet's various forums have opinions ranging from “stay off ‘em” to “my doc said they were safe". With so much contradictory information available, navigating what is best for you can be challenging - especially when your priority is feeding your newborn. Fear no more because we’re here to answer a question that has troubled many men and women alike; does birth control affect breastmilk production?
Breastfeeding is complicated enough without having Mrs Doubtfire-style boob accidents happening in public. We are very aware that some mothers face issues with supply shortage, making them hesitant about taking any medications at all- even if it’s just for preventing pregnancy while being able to enjoy carnal bliss with their partners again. But rest assured ladies (and gentlemen), we’ve dug deep into this matter like toddlers digging through sand on the beach!
Factors That Affect Breast Milk Production
Before addressing whether contraception affects milk production or not, let’s first understand what factors could impact lactation.
Hormonal imbalances can affect milk synthesis since reproductive hormones play a significant role in engaging mammary glands’ function.
Baby Nursing Frequency & Latching Ability
The ability of an infant to suckle efficiently assists the mammary glands in producing sufficient amounts of milk. If a baby isn't latched correctly, they may struggle with extracting as much milk as needed.
Nutritional Intake Of Momma
The nutritional requirement levels rise during breastfeeding due to higher energy expenditure when producing breastmilk compared to formula options.
Now coming back directly onto our topic- does birth control pill consumption lead to decreased lactation?
There is a lack of evidence indicating that birth control pills affect milk production directly. As stated by the American Academy of Family Physicians, some estrogen hormonal contraceptives can decrease lactation in the initial weeks after delivery, but mothers are still able to breastfeed successfully.
The reduced lactation resulting from taking such medication is more likely due to an insufficient frequency of suckling or latching issues with their baby rather than attributable solely to contraception consumption itself.
Estrogen Only Pills vs Combination Pills
While we've assured you above that birth control pills don’t eliminate mom’s ability to produce wholesome colostrum and milk- We must note that there is a notable distinction between estrogen-only and combination oral contraceptive use.
Estrogen Only Pill
According to several studies, estrogen-only pills within three months postpartum were found in two-thirds of breastfeeding women not adequately suppressing ovulation as they did so during pregnancy (don't worry if this went over your head – it's dummy language for ‘it doesn’t completely stop you from getting pregnant’).
During nursing periods, especially when you’re exclusively breastfeeding around-the-clock and abstaining from formula options- local hormones derived after each feeding stimulate prolactin hormone secretion through nerve receptor stimulation which suppresses fertility overall.
Combination Birth Control Pill
Combination type BC contains both progesterone and estrogen active ingredients works via various mechanisms: thickening cervical mucus making it harder for spermatozoa penetration into the uterus while also suppressing ovulation entirely As recent research posits though:
"Combined hormonal contraceptives containing 20 μg ethinyl estradiol result in similar levels of breastfeeding continuation compared to progestogen-only contraception"
A woman's decision regarding family planning should be personal since every mother’s body differs in terms of physical constitution. Given all this information, one most likely may maintain regular menstrual cycles soon after terminating hormonal contraceptives. However, it shouldn’t restrict women from resolving to breastfeed or nurse their infants as long as possible.
So, here's a big “phew” for all our lovely worried mothers out there! Feel free to ask us any questions in the comments below - we are always eager to help you beautiful souls out.
P.S.- Don't forget to get enough rest and nutrition yourselves too while taking care of your precious little ones. And just so you know - drinking beer doesn't really make more milk come spilling out either (we hate breaking hearts, but somebody has to do it!)
(Pro tip: If you're having trouble sleeping at night due to restless nursing habits of your baby- just pop open two bottles’ worth of Cabernet Sauvignon – I guaranteed your worries will cease)
There’s only one academy WE trust and that’s meant needing this advice