Breastfeeding and Birth Control: Choices, Choices, Choices

Before we were Trying to Conceive, I used the Nuva Ring as my form of birth control.  It was very easy and convenient:

1) Insert ring

2) Keep said ring in for 3 weeks

3) Remove ring for 1 week

Repeat.

I didn’t have to think about taking a pill every day.  My hormones were very well regulated on the ring, too.  My periods lasted 4-5 days, were not too heavy, and my mood was fairly stable.  I didn’t have any skin problems or weight gain.  It was very no-fuss.  I took my last ring out in October, 2011 in preparation for trying to get pregnant.  (I should add a note that there are other very convenient forms of birth control such as the Mirena IUD and other similar products that are very appealing to many but because of my Unicornuate Uterus I am not able to use them).

Fast Forward 2 years.  Julia is going to be 1 next week and I am still breastfeeding.  I have been taking the mini-pill since my 6-week post partum checkup with my OB.  I HATE taking the pill.  I hate having to remember to take it every single day.  I have an alarm set on my phone to go off every day at noon to remind me to take the pill.  But, according to lactation consultants, it’s really the only hormonal birth control method (aside from condoms/abstinence) that is safe to take while breastfeeding.  Studies show that the Nuva Ring is very likely to negatively impact your milk supply.  I always said that when Julia was 1 I was going to switch back to the Nuva Ring because of the convenience factor.  Yesterday I met my new OB and she gave me a prescription for the Nuva Ring but now that I have it in my possession and am reading more about the Nuva Ring and its impact on milk production, I am hesitant to switch.

I have to make a decision about what is more important to me: My options seem to be (a) Continue to breastfeed until Julia self-weans or I make the decision that I have had enough with breastfeeding, or (b) Switch to the Nuva Ring for the selfish reason that I don’t want to take a pill every day.  I suppose there is a third option which would be to switch to the Nuva Ring and see if I’m one of those lucky few people whose milk supply is not affected, but if I want to continue to breastfeed, then that option is not very viable because it could cause a drastic decrease in milk supply from which I may not be able to recover.  I’m not at a point in my breastfeeding experience where I am interested in doing all kinds of things to increase my milk supply, so if my milk supply were to decrease and/or disappear, it would probably mean the end of breastfeeding for me and Julia.

The more I think about it, the more I am thinking that I will just suck it up a little bit longer and deal with taking a pill every day.  I love breastfeeding and I want to continue to breastfeed for the time being.  I’m not willing to risk it by switching to a different form of birth control just for the ease and convenience.  My next goal is to continue breastfeeding until Julia is 18 months.  If I’ve made it 12 months, there’s no reason to think I can’t make it 6 more months, and at that time I can reevaluate.  I now have the Nuva Ring in my possession though so that if and when I do decide to switch I can do so easily.

Thanks for listening! 🙂

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