Center for Young Women's Health

Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) for Women Who Are Breastfeeding



  • The Lactational Amenorrhea Method is a short-term birth control method (up to 6 months) for women who have given birth and are breastfeeding.
  • This birth control method is ONLY reliable if the mother has not had her period since giving birth, is breastfeeding a baby (who is less than 6 month) on demand, both day and night and not replacing feedings with other foods or liquids.

What is the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) and how does it work?

The suckling (breast-feeding by a baby) changes how a woman's body works and stops a woman's ovaries from releasing an egg. When there is no egg, pregnancy can't happen.


Out of 100 women using the lactational amenorrhea method
Typical use: 2 women become pregnant icon representing 2 pregnant women
Perfect use: 2 women become pregnant icon representing 2 pregnant women

How effective is the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)?

If women use LAM and all the conditions are met, it is 98% effective. This means that if 100 women use LAM perfectly, 2 women will become pregnant in a year. Perfect use means if a woman has not had her menstrual period since having her baby, if she is ONLY using breast feeding to feed her baby (at least 6-10 times a day, including night feedings), and if the baby is less than 6 months old. Once any of these 3 facts are no longer true, LAM is very unreliable and a woman should use a back-up method of contraception to protect against pregnancy. LAM does not protect against STDs.


Are there any problems with LAM?

LAM is a very natural way to protect against pregnancy. You should contact your health care provider when you get your menstrual period again. It's very important to begin using birth control before your baby is 6 months old.


Written and reviewed by the CYWH Staff at Boston Children's Hospital


Updated: 11/14/2012


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