Managing Fertility Naturally During Breastfeeding


Breastfeeding is the natural next step after nurturing a baby within the womb and giving birth. It offers benefits to both the mother and her child.

Benefits to baby

Breast milk:

Breastfeeding promotes bonding.

Benefits to mother


The Billings Ovulation Method of Natural Family Planning is truly compatible with breastfeeding.

It provides an extremely effective way of birth regulation. Scientific studies indicate that with proper instruction and motivation, this method in actual practice is 99% effective, without the negatives of contraceptive methods. Contraceptive medication passes to the baby through breast milk.

The Billings Ovulation Method does not interfere with breastfeeding, is free from drugs and devices and alerts a couple to their returning fertility after childbirth.

Returning fertility

Milk production is stimulated when the baby sucks on the breast. If there is no sucking, the milk will dry up. During breastfeeding the pituitary gland produces two hormones:

Prolactin also has the effect of suppressing ovulation for a time.

This time of infertility is variable and depends on several factors. Efficient sucking is all important. Great care should be taken to establish breastfeeding as soon as possible. The baby is best fed on demand. Night feeding is normal for some time and is helpful in preserving a good supply of milk.

Returning fertility may result from:

Even with knowledge of breastfeeding, it must be remembered, every woman is still an individual and will return to fertility in her own time.

The Billings Ovulation Method

The Billings Ovulation Method of natural family planning allows the mother to recognise her individual return to fertility accurately.

When a woman learns the Billings Ovulation Method, she is taught to recognise and understand her signs of fertility and infertility. She does this by observing the presence or absence of mucus at the  vulva. This mucus, produced at the cervix, is essential for fertility. Sperm cells depend on this mucus for their survival and their ability to reach and fertilise the egg.

When a woman is breastfeeding she remains infertile for a variable time. During this time she experiences, at the vulva, either a continuing sensation of dryness, or an unchanging discharge. The appearance of blood, or any change in the mucus or sensation alerts her to the possibility of her returning fertility.

A Billings Ovulation Method teacher will assist the couple to accurately interpret these signs. The
couple can then make informed choices confidently about a further pregnancy.

When fertility returns, a mother may continue to breastfeed while using the totally natural Billings
Ovulation Method.