Life with a newborn has likely left you feeling less than amorous, with sex a distant memory between nighttime feedings and exhaustion. Eventually, however, your thoughts will turn to re-establishing physical intimacy with your partner. And when that happens, you’ll need to think about something you haven’t had to in a while: birth control.
Wives’ tales notwithstanding, ovulation can occur as early as four weeks after delivery. So as soon as you start having sex again—which is not advised until at least six weeks postpartum, or until your doctor gives you the go-ahead—you’ll need to use some form of protection.
If you're breastfeeding, you should steer clear of all forms of birth control that contain estrogen, as it can reduce your milk supply. These include the combined-hormone pill, NuvaRing (a flexible ring that you insert into your vagina and keep there for three weeks) and Ortho Evra (the patch). If you prefer a hormone-based method, your better bets are progestin-only birth-control pills or Depo-Provera (shots given every 12 weeks), as they contain no estrogen.
Can you use breastfeeding as birth control?
This method has an effectiveness rate of up to 98 percent as long as you meet three criteria: You are nursing at least six times a day on both breasts, including at night (and that means no pacifiers, formula or bottles of pumped milk); you have not resumed menstruating; and you are no more than six months postpartum.
If you don’t meet these guidelines, you will need an additional form of birth control that does not contain estrogen.