The most common form of Natural Family Planning (NFP) used during breastfeeding is the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM), but it’s not the only thing you can do. Many groups actually advise against using it alone and say that it is not a true form of NFP. While I’m not completely comfortable using it alone myself, I’m not going to discourage it here either.
Unlike most NFP methods, LAM does not need to be charted. It is very simple to do and difficult at the same time. LAM basically just explains what our bodies do while breastfeeding; they naturally postpone ovulation for a certain amount of time. This varies woman to woman, but under certain conditions the likelihood of ovulation and pregnancy can be less than 2%.
In order to keep the less than 2% likelihood it requires that you breastfeed exclusively and ecologically as long as possible. This means no bottles, no pacifiers, and no solids. The baby can’t miss a feeding, or sleep through the night. And the baby must be 6 months old or younger. Doing these things (or the baby hitting these milestones) won’t necessarily cause you to start ovulating again, but it does increase your chances.
LAM can be used with other methods, although it does make charting more difficult. Night waking can wreak havoc with temperatures, and many people prefer using a cervical mucus only method during this time. Even charting mucus isn’t easy, hormonal changes can equal stretches of fertile days and dry days that seem to make no sense at all. I can’t speak for every method, but mine takes a strict approach during these days. If it looks fertile it very well could be fertile and days of abstinence are required until there’s another stretch of dry days (length depends on how strict you’re being). Others stock up on ovulation kits or buy a fertility monitor and move on to a method like Marquette.
Eventually ovulation does come back and things get a lot easier. Both breastfeeding and just having children in general can make some question the use of temperatures if they didn’t before. Hormone changes still happen and cycles can be a bit interesting. But after months, sometimes years, of charting through LAM… It seems so simple again.
Article by Kris Mery
Kris Mery has been married for 4 years and is the mother of 2. She loves writing and writes for a couple online publications as well as her blog, www.mamakalila.wordpress.com.
Kris has written 5 awesome articles for Natural Family Today.
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