Contraception during breastfeeding. What options are there?

When you are breastfeeding, you cannot use every contraceptive without consequences. Some contraceptives contain estrogen. A substance that influences the quality and quantity of the milk. But fortunately, there are a number of other options that can be used without any problems during breastfeeding. There are products without hormones, for example the copper IUD or the condom. There are also products that contain hormones, but not the hormone estrogen. Examples of this are the injection pill and the minipill. You can also use the Mirena coil. This does contain estrogen, but this is in such a small amount that it has no effect on breastfeeding.

What forms of contraception can be safely used during breastfeeding?

It is often claimed that breastfeeding also works as contraception. This is partly true. If you breastfeed completely for at least 6 months in a row, in most cases menstruation will not yet start. Ovulation should therefore also not occur. However, this is not always the case! Some women do ovulate while breastfeeding. So it is not a very reliable method. There are many other types of contraception that are much more reliable.

The pill

We all know the pill as contraception. The pill is still the most commonly used form of contraception. Many women therefore take the pill before trying to become pregnant. After a pregnancy it may feel obvious to continue with this. However, if you are breastfeeding, the pill is not a good option. The regular pill contains the hormones estrogen and progesterone. The hormone estrogen can cause milk production to decrease, meaning you no longer have enough milk for your baby. Furthermore, the hormones end up in breast milk, so your baby also ingests them. This could cause slower growth and adversely affect the baby’s development.
Other contraceptives that contain estrogen
There are other contraceptives that, like the pill, contain a combination of estrogen and progesterone. These are the experience and the contraceptive patch. These products are also not recommended while you are breastfeeding.


The minipill is a pill that does not contain estrogen. The difference with the normal contraceptive pill is that you have to take this pill at the same time every day and you do not have to take a break week. So you take this pill constantly. Spontaneous bleeding may occur while taking this pill. This pill can be used from 6 weeks after delivery.


The hormone IUD (Mirena)

The hormone IUD, also called Mirena, is an IUD that contains progesterone. This substance is released into the body in very small quantities and thus provides protection against pregnancy. However, the amount of hormones is so small that it does not negatively affect the quality of breastfeeding. The hormone IUD must be inserted by the GP and can be removed at any time by the GP. After removing the hormone coil you are immediately fertile again. The hormone coil also ensures that blood loss during menstruation is reduced. In some cases, menstruation even does not occur at all. The coil must be replaced after a maximum of five years.
Sometimes production decreases with a hormone IUD.
In some women, production unexpectedly decreases when a hormone IUD is used. So only start when your production is well underway and stable .

The copper IUD

The copper IUD works in a completely different way. This causes a kind of inflammatory reaction in the body, making fertilization impossible. This sounds strange, but it does not harm the body. The copper IUD also needs to be inserted by a doctor and works for five to ten years before it needs to be replaced. In contrast to the hormone IUD, menstruation can become much heavier with the copper IUD. The big advantage of the copper IUD is that you do not put any extra hormones into your body at all. This allows your own hormones to regain their balance.

Injection pill

The injection is administered once every three months, as the name suggests, by injection. The injection does not contain estrogen and therefore has no negative effect on breastfeeding. A disadvantage of the injection pill is that it can sometimes cause breakthrough bleeding. These are unexpected, very heavy bleeding, which can cause a lot of trouble for a woman. If you decide to have another child, you should keep in mind that the injection sometimes takes up to a year to completely leave your body. So it may take longer before you get pregnant!

Contraceptive stick

The contraceptive rod is a rod that is placed in the upper arm by the doctor. The rod is not visible in the arm! This method works for 3 years. After that time, a new rod must be applied. The contraceptive rod can affect menstruation. this may become irregular or even not occur at all. Furthermore, not every doctor has experience with placing this rod and it is often done incorrectly. So inquire about this carefully!


For those who do not want contraception for a longer period of time, the condom is a safe alternative. Both the condom for men and the condom for women offer excellent protection and do not contain hormones! Furthermore, breastfeeding women often suffer from vaginal dryness. A condom that contains lubricant is therefore an excellent solution!


Sterilization is a definitive method of contraception. If this is done with one of the two, the chance of pregnancy (with some exceptions) is excluded. This method can be used safely during breastfeeding.

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