Breast milk provides the best nutrition for infants. In addition, during breast-feeding, the infant receives antibodies from the mother that helps the baby’s immune system develop. In the United States, many women work. However, it is possible to continue to breast-feed after returning to work. Working mothers can use breast pumps to keep providing breast milk to their infants. Discuss the options with your clinician, family members and your employer. Many employers can provide facilities to aid in breast-feeding.
Not necessarily. During breast-feeding, the chance of getting pregnant is lower. However, women can still get pregnant. The sucking of the nipple helps prevent ovulation (release of an egg). The most complete protection from ovulation and pregnancy comes when mothers only breast-feed. That means the mother is feeding the baby on demand, including during the night, and not giving ANY extra feeding with a bottle. Many women do not wish to nurse this way.
It’s a good idea to discuss contraception with your clinician before you give birth. That way you can decide which method is best for you without the added pressures of a new baby. Another good time to discuss birth control is before you leave the hospital. Breast-feeding women have many birth control options.
Some clinicians prefer breast-feeding women to use non-hormonal methods or the mini-pill because estrogen has been shown to reduce the milk supply. While small amounts of hormones might pass to the infant through breast milk, no detrimental effects to infants have been observed. A long-term Swedish study has found no harmful effects on the development of children whose mothers used OCs during breast-feeding.
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