Breastfeeding and Birth Control...HELP!!!!!

Mary Renee - posted on 02/19/2011 ( 23 moms have responded )

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Aloha,

What are the side effects of your average low-hormone birthcontrol pill on breastfeeding? My ob/gyn wants me to be one something with a high dose of estrogen - but I HATE taking hormonal birth control and I don't like the idea of a higher dose. Plus I heard that estrogen can decrease your breastmilk and I would definitely like to make it to a year and am NOT ready to wean.

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(Here is some background, although my basic question is the above, some people don't like to read alot so I'm giving people the option to do one or other other)

I am breastfeeding my 9-month old daughter. She started eating solids at 6 months and currently eats 1 Stage Two Baby Food (or homemade baby food I make by steaming fruits or vegetables) three times a day at 8am, 12pm, and 5pm, along with snacks like Graduate Puffs, Cheerios, and Pretzels. Nonetheless I nurse on demand and she still nurses every two hours and through out the night (we're co-sleeping).

When she was 6.5 months I got my period back so I decided to go back on birthcontrol. I am not in a stable relationship so it's very important for me NOT to have another baby right now. I got the Depo-shot but I bled the ENTIRE TIME. It was supposed to wear out by now but I'm still spotting.

I went to the ob/gyn to request a cervical cap but he said he wouldn't not do it because it's so ineffective for women that have already had children that it would be like playing Russian Roulette. I told him I didn't want to take hormones because last time I was on birth control (for over two years) I would have periods that was 2-3 weeks long! And then with the deposhot I bled the whole time. I hate hormonal birth control. It doesn't prevent me from getting pregnant, it prevents me from having SEX which is NOT the point! He said he would fit me for a diaphram but they're freaking huge and you have to put them in an hour before sex. I am 24 years-old, it's weird enough to me to plan out sex an hour in advance but it's next to impossible to do with a 9-month-old who is a unpredictable napper at best! So that didn't work.

So he gave me a low-hormone pill at my request. He didn't WANT to give me a low-hormone pill, he's convinced I need to take more estrogen since I'm bleeding but I don't want high doses of hormones and I'm unsure about the side effects of taking estrogen in particular. I want to continue breastfeeding and I'm very attached to breastfeeding and the idea of weaning right now brings me to tears.

Also, I had a breast reduction when I was 17 and was very worried about how it might effect my supply. I had some supply issues in the beginning and the pediatrician told me to supplement with formula but I adamently refused and exclusively breastfed (she was at the 55 percentile for her weight by 3 months! So apparently my mama milk was fine thank you very much!) That said, I've never exactly had an over-abundance or been able to get much by pumping. The ob/gyn said that since I've been breastfeeding for 9 months my supply is already well-establish and estrogen won't hurt it, but part of me doesn't trust him. He wasn't exactly sensitive to my birth plan when I told him I didn't want to be induced and I didn't want medical students in the room, so part of me feels like in his mind he's thinking "She's breastfed for 9 months, so what if she ends up weaning?"

That's why I wanted to hear what you all had to say first

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MAHALO!!!!!!! Any and all suggestions, advice, reccomendations, or personal experiences are very appreciated!!!!!!

Mary

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Donna - posted on 02/22/2011

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Any hormonal birth control can affect your supply. Every woman is different and can react to it differently. I have to be very cautious about what I take for birth control as well and refuse to take anything hormonal. I work as a breastfeeding peer helper and we see a lot fo women who listen to their docs and end up drying up. I would say follow your instincts as a woman you know your body. There are other options out there.

23 Comments

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Esther - posted on 02/27/2011

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it sounds like you endometrious and i would find a different dr!!! i took the mimipill it caused my hormones to go out of balance i started getting cysts. goood luck

Marisa - posted on 02/26/2011

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Mary,
I am sorry to hear that you are having such difficulties with your doctor. I would suggest finding another one. This is one person who should listen to you and you should be able to trust.
My husband and I are using Natural Family Planning. We have been very successful using these methods. I highly recommend NFP for all women. It allows you to know what is going on in your body, there are no side effects and it is immediately reversible.
I recently read an article entitled “How ‘The Pill’ Can Harm Your Future Child’s Health”.
http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/2...
I wish you well.

Sarah - posted on 02/26/2011

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I use NFP as well. Read "Taking Charge of Your Fertility". Then we just use condoms when necessary.

Sarah - posted on 02/26/2011

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A somewhat different perspective, and please know I am only sharing my personal experience, and not judging anyone. I had similar difficulties with birth control, poor supply, and horrible cycles. After many different tactics had failed (my breast milk dried up with my first almost instantly, I bled constantly after my second etc) my husband and I decided to try Natural Family Planning. I was nervous, but found that working WITH my body and allowing my body to serve my baby first (exclusive breast feeding is part of natural family planning as well as abstaining from sex during fertile times) I have been able to normalize my cycle, have very successful breastfeeding, and I feel closer to my children and more comfortable with my body. Of course NFP works best in a committed, loving relationship. My personal and religious beliefs reserve sexuality for loving spouses. So, in short, I suppose for your situation I would be recommending abstinence. I do not think that it is such a bad thing though to abstain when you aren't in a stable loving relationship. It could allow you some distance to better evaluate your situation and evaluate your partners motivations in your relationship.

Sally - posted on 02/26/2011

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Regular birth control can completely destroy your supply. No doctor who supports nursing would suggest it.
If you don't take the mini-pill exactly right, it doesn't work very well.
Several of my friends have had good results with an IUD. I don't know how your bleeding issues may affect that though. It never hurts to look into it.
I know it's not what you want to hear, but your safest bet is to just not have sex until you can risk another baby especially if you're not in a stable relationship.

Sarah - posted on 02/26/2011

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I had the same issue with Depo back in college:( Spotted for 18 months before I gave up on it.
I wouldn't get anything with estrogen. Get the mini pill or go with something like an IUD instead.

[deleted account]

Hello :-) I will share my experiences with breastfeeding & birth control. When I had my first child I was given plain 'ol birth control pills at my 6 week check up and told that it probably wouldn't affect my supply since I had more than enough. Well, within 48 hours, I had NOTHING left. So, I stopped it, got a period, and a few months later I started he low dose pill. That pill took me about a week to notice a huge dip in my normally abundant supply, so I stopped it and we just use "pull -n- pray" until we decided to have our second child. After the birth of our daughter, I expressed my concern about hormonal birth control and was told that Mirena would be a good option since it's the lowest hormonal birth control & the hormones are more localized. Well, this time it took months, but by the time my daughter was 5.5 months old I had to give her formula because she wasn't growing. SO....even low doses of hormones can affect your supply at any point after it's been "well established". It depends on each person and how sensitive you are to the hormones. After the birth of my third child I chose to get Paraguard, the copper IUC. No hormones so no interference with breast feeding. It does make my periods much heavier and sometimes causes bad cramps, but they are not persistent. Over all, much better than other forms or birth control (or not) that I've tried. However, you need to keep in mind that IUDs/IUCs are not recommended for women who are not in a monogamous relationship. They do increase the risk of infections and more than one partner can also increase these risks. I'm sure there are plenty of women who aren't monogamous that use them & don't have any problems, but it's something to consider. Even if *you* are only sleeping with one person, that doesn't necessarily mean *he* is only sleeping with you. (Which can still be a risk is what should be a monogamous relationship too!) Good luck with finding the right BC option for you!!!

Becky - posted on 02/26/2011

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I went on the mini-pill after my firstborn. I think in the beginning it may have diminished my supply slightly, but it came back after a few days. I would say at 9 months you wouldn't have to worry about it so much.

I would strongly recommend NOT doing an IUD while breastfeeding. I had one put in after #2 and they had to do laproscopic surgery 2 years later to take the stupid thing out. I hated it. I was irregular and incredibly moody. Some women love it, but definitely wait until you are done breastfeeding.

Donna - posted on 02/22/2011

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I had a lot of trouble with the copper iud, I cramped horribly. It5 is designed for women who have had babies but we have to remember that we breastfeed and that makes a big difference. Our uterises have shrank back down due to breastfeeding where other moms who don't breastfeed have not had their uteris shrink back down.

Elizabeth - posted on 02/22/2011

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I've had no issues with the Mirena. It took less than 3 months to get prego after we had it out the first time to try for #3 (and my husband works out of town Sunday to Thursday late night, so our window is TINY). I have several friends who use it and haven't had any issues either. But I completely understand the concern. It took me some time to get past the "I'm going to have something inserted into my uterus, what kind of crazy results will I end up with". But my OB/GYN actually prefers it because of it's effectiveness and minimal side effects. They'd been using it since it came out and saw 1 or 2 cases of it falling out or having major side effects. It's been out like 15+ years. It made me feel better that my doc had it in, used it, loved it, reccomended it, prefered it, etc.

Mary Renee - posted on 02/22/2011

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Elizabeth, Mirena is going to be the next thing I try if the mini-pill doesn't work.

I called the doctor and demanded the mini-pill. He tried again to tell me it was ok (in spite of the insert that came with the pill telling me otherwise)

So I got the progestone-only pill. Hopefully it won't make me super bitchy. The doctor told me it's likely to make me have my period/spotting through out the whole time since that's how the depo-shot effected me. ARGH!!!!!! We'll see. If that's the case I might have to go ahead and try Mirena.

I, like Carma, am scared of IUDs though because I've heard they cause infertility too.

Elizabeth - posted on 02/22/2011

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I had major issues when it came to birth control. After my first child, I did the shot (ew - majorly BAD side effects, similar to yours) and then tried the mini-pill (my husband told me I was super-bitch the entire time). After our 2nd was born, I went to Mirena and LOVED it! Now, after our 3rd, I have it again and am LOVING it still! It doesn't effect my supply (breastfeeding my healthy nearly 7 month old), doesn't make me moody/bitchy, and NO period since 3 weeks after insertion! We love it so much, it's worth paying for it completely out of pocket (pays for itself in less than 2 yrs when you consider full price for BC pills/injections, and it's good for 5 yrs)
I'd find another doc if he can't be supportive in your decisions.

Carma - posted on 02/21/2011

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Ania, do you know much about the IUD. I was thinking about getting one myself. I want at least 3-5 years before my next child. I'm hesitant though because I haven't heard much about them, and I know the old ones caused infertility.

Ania - posted on 02/20/2011

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I would suggest change a doctor, this one is some kind of crazy person. ...Estrogen will stop your milk!!! OBviously he doesn't know that. You can take progesterin pill only no estrogen it is a mini pill, but you have to be religious about taking it at the same time every day. also it depends what your plans are and how many babies are you planning you can get copper iud, there is no hormones involved or what I'm going to try are female condoms...there are options and if you don't want estrogen pills you don't have to take them. Why

Catherine - posted on 02/20/2011

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I'm sorry you're going through this, and I'll say that I have similar problems. You're right that estrogen-based pills will cause supply problems and you should stay away from them. When breastfeeding, you need to take the progesterone-only pills (or a Depo Shot), but those do cause significantly more breakthrough bleeding than anything with estrogen in it. In the end, my husband and I just use condoms. It's not our ideal solution, but it's the only thing we've found that works for us.

Mary Renee - posted on 02/20/2011

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I agree I need to find another doctor. The doctor straight up told me "No, this won't effect your supply" and then I read the pamphlet that comes with it (the small print that nobody reads) and it says:





"If you are breastfeeding [...] some of the drug will be passed on to the child in the milk. A few adverse effects on the child have been reported, including yellowing of the skin and breast enlargement. In addition, oral contraceptives may decrease the amount and quality of your milk. If possible, do not use oral contraceptives while breast-feeding. You should consider starting oral contraceptives only after you have weaned you child completely."



I feel like it's so irresponsible for him not to tell me about this. I mean, what does he think? I'm stupid and I won't read the pamphlet? It scares the hell out of me that doctor's know negative side effects of drugs they give us but they don't tell us about them and let us make an informed choice. I don't get it. What does he get out of it? And he's trying to give me a HIGHER dose? I don't get it, what does he get out of it?

Amy - posted on 02/20/2011

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With the mini-pill you HAVE to take it the same time everyday. According to my doctor they tell you that you need to take all pills at the same time but the mini pill they mean it otherwise you can find yourself pregnant again and that could also be the reasoning for the breakthrough bleeding.
I love my mirena ut based on what you wrote I don't think it's the bc for you. On the mirena the first few months you have spotting and bleeding on and off, but if you have a little patience after the first few months your period virtually stops or only lasts for 2 days.
If you don't like your dr I strongly suggest finding another one. I love my doctor and it's so worth finding one who matches your personality and respects your wishes.

Tiffany - posted on 02/20/2011

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Definitely sounds like you need an new OB/GYN that respects you and your choices, which it sounds like he doesn't.



On another note, meds effect people differently. My OB/GYN prescribed the mini-pill (which is estrogen-free; only contains progesterone), as she said this is the only thing I could take that would not effect my milk supply. My daughter is 15 mos old, still breastfed, and I've been taking the mini-pill since she was 2-3 mos old. I haven't had any side effects, except maybe holding onto a little extra weight, but that could also be due to breastfeeding. In the past, I've taken Depo-provera and several different BC pills. A few side effects here and there, but nothing extreme or intolerable. My boss's sister got Mirena installed after her son was born and it worked for her, but did seem to cause her to not be able to lose much weight.



Here's a good article that covers the different types of birth control that's safe to use with breastfeeding.

http://www.kellymom.com/health/meds/birt...

Amy - posted on 02/20/2011

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I have been thinking about this recently, as our second child is due in about 8 weeks, and I am planning on finishing my IBCLC certification, and then my BS after this birth. I will not be trying even the low-estrogen mini-pill with this BF relationship. With my DD, it caused supply issues, and though they were not significant supply issues, they mattered for her because she was already on the lower end of the growth chart (though everything was fine developmentally).

This time, I'm going to be asking my OB/GYN about the option of an IUD, specifically the copper one. I have read that that option is a good one for BF moms, though I don't have very much experience as a lactation counselor on the subject of birth control.

Good luck!

Terra - posted on 02/20/2011

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Can you find a new doctor? This one sounds awful and so misinformed. A high dose BC pill may very likely kill your supply. Would you consider a hormone free IUD?

Sandie - posted on 02/20/2011

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hiya, hopefully this site can help you

http://www.livestrong.com/article/97235-...

it does state on there that estrogen can decrease your milk supply greatly.

when i went back on the pill, my doc prescribed a mini pill with no estrogen, worked very well for me. if youre unsure if your doc is taking things seriously get a second opinion. good luck! :)

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