Guest Post: Guide to Birth Control & Breastfeeding

By: Mia Liang

There are a LOT of questions about birth control and breastfeeding. I can understand why! Getting pregnant soon after giving birth can add a lot of physical and emotional stress to a new mom. The good news is, just because you or your partner is breastfeeding doesn’t mean you have to
forgo your family planning. Here are some of the most important things I think you should know.

Can you be on birth control while breastfeeding?

Spoiler alert—it’s okay to be on birth control while breastfeeding, and if you like hormonal birth control methods then you should know they’re considered safe for your baby, too.

Now for the nuance:

Birth control pill, patches, and rings have been shown to reduce milk supply. If you’re worried about milk production, consider trying a progestin-only pill (POP) or an implant, hormonal IUD, or implant. You can also opt for non-hormonal birth control like a copper IUD, which is shown to be safe and effective for breastfeeding moms and their infants. (Of course, female and male condoms work, too.)

Can birth control make your breast hurt?

Hormonal birth control side effects may include things like soreness in the breasts. I know, I know—for a breastfeeding mom who is already dealing with breast tenderness, the idea of taking birth control that may make her breasts even more sore sounds pretty disheartening!

There’s good news though:

First, birth control side effects are usually mild and tend to get better within a few weeks or months after starting the new method. Plus, if one type of hormonal birth control just isn’t working for you, you and your doctor can explore other options until you find one that’s a good fit.

Does birth control cause breast cancer?

Some breastfeeding moms are concerned about the connection between birth control and breast cancer. The question, do birth control pills cause breast cancer is a common one. The truth is, while there has been shown to be an association between the use of birth control and an increased risk of breast cancer, the association is SUPER small. Plus, no research proves
that it’s the use of birth control itself that causes the increased risk—just that the two factors seem to be correlated somehow.

One possible reason? Women who have children later in life or are child-free appear to be more likely to develop breast cancer. Doctors believe this could be because pregnancy and even breastfeeding promote changes in a woman’s body that has a protective effect against breast cancer. As you can imagine, women who use birth control often end up having babies later in
life, if at all (yay, family planning!).

In other words—there’s no proof that birth control causes cancer, and any association between the two is incredibly small. In fact, the risk of breast cancer is greater from drinking just 3 to 6 alcoholic beverages per week! So, cut back on cocktails and consider practicing other healthy lifestyle habits like regular exercise if you’re concerned about your future health.
By the way, you also mind find it interesting that birth control has also been associated with a decreased risk of other types of cancers, including ovarian and endometrial cancer.

Does birth control make your breasts bigger?

Remember how I said birth control may make your breasts tender, at least temporarily? The same goes for breast fullness. Some women taking birth control notice that their breasts increase by a full cup size! Of course, if you’re breastfeeding then it’s normal to experience breast fullness, too. Either way, birth control shouldn’t interfere with your ability to nurse your
little one.


Do birth control pills cause cancer? Can I use birth control while breastfeeding, and if so, what kind?! If you have any questions about family planning or birth control options while breastfeeding, contact your doctor today.

About the author:

Mia Liang is committed to spreading a positive message and information that helps everyone in all walks of life. She has extensive knowledge and is continuing to expand it in any way she can. She believes that through hard work and a strong drive you can accomplish anything, and is living life with that mindset. 

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