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Birth Control Pills While Breastfeeding: Is It Okay?

Medically reviewed by Mia Dacumos, MD · Nephrology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Nov 23, 2023

    Birth Control Pills While Breastfeeding: Is It Okay?

    Breastfeeding moms typically don’t have to worry about getting pregnant again for up to 6 months because nursing can be considered birth control for that period. But many moms breastfeed for longer than that period. Are pills for breastfeeding mom safe? Will it not affect their breast milk? The answers and more in this article. 

    A Note on Nursing as Birth Control

    As mentioned, breastfeeding can be an effective birth control method. However, only for a short period (6 months) and only if done frequently and regularly. 

    To sum up, breastfeeding works only if:

    • Your baby is less than 6 months old
    • You still have no menstruation
    • You nurse your baby exclusively throughout day and night, on demand. That translates to 6 long breastfeeding daily, without a gap of more than 4 hours. 

    If you don’t satisfy the criteria above, your chances of getting pregnant again with penetrative sex are higher. Considering this, are pills for breastfeeding mom okay?

    Pills for Breastfeeding Mom: Is It Safe?

    Are you a breastfeeding mom who’s wondering if she can take contraceptive pills while nursing? The following information will help:

    1. Yes, pills are okay, as long as…

    The first concern: Can you take pills? Experts say, yes, you can after about 6 weeks, even if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, but especially if you’re only partially nursing. The catch, however, is that your milk supply must already be established. 

    2. You may want to consider progestin-only pills

    If you’re worried about pills affecting your breast milk, you may want to talk to your doctor about mini-pills or progestin-only pills (they don’t have estrogen). They are less likely to interfere with nursing, but they are also less effective than pills containing progestin and estrogen. 

    3. Contraceptive pills with progestin and estrogen are okay, too, but…

    Progestin and estrogen birth control pills while breastfeeding are okay, too, but experts point out that:

    • They might reduce your breast milk supply
    • It’s not good to use them within 3 to 6 weeks after giving birth 
    • Before using, milk supply must already be established
    • You need to stick to low-dose combination pill 

    4. Emergency contraception is also safe

    If you’ve had unprotected sex, you may take emergency contraception pill called levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pill. It’s not advisable to take the other kind of emergency pill called ulipristal acetate (UPA). 

    Take note, however, that emergency contraception pills are not available in the Philippines. Some online stores sell them, but please purchase with caution, since you might not be able to ascertain their safety and authenticity. 

    You may talk to your doctor about morning after pills or another form of emergency contraception called copper IUD

    5. Remember that you have other options

    Instead of pills for breastfeeding mom, don’t forget that you can safely use other options of contraception, such as:

    • Condoms
    • Diaphragms
    • Depo-Provera 
    • Implants 
    • Intrauterine device 
    • Tubal ligation, which is permanent 

    Choosing Contraception While Nursing

    Before choosing any form of birth control while nursing, please have a discussion with your healthcare provider. Together, you can determine:

    • What’s available and safe for you and your baby
    • How contraception can affect you and your breast milk
    • How soon you can start with the preferred birth control
    • The options which your partner can consider 
    • The types of contraception that are absolutely not recommended

    Key Takeaways

    Is it safe to use birth control pills while breastfeeding? Experts say, yes, provided you have already established your milk supply, which can happen after about 6 weeks. Progestin-only pills are the safest, but they might not be as effective as combination pills that also contain estrogen. Emergency contraception may also be used, but it’s not available in the Philippines yet, so you might want to talk to your doctor about it or using a copper IUD.

    Learn more about Breastfeeding here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mia Dacumos, MD

    Nephrology · Makati Medical Center

    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Nov 23, 2023

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