Lo Loestrin Fe and Breastfeeding

Rather than taking a combined oral contraceptive like Lo Loestrin Fe, breastfeeding women are typically advised to take a progestin-only birth control pill. The hormones in combined oral contraceptives (including Lo Loestrin Fe) pass through breast milk and may cause problems, such as a decrease in the production and quality of breast milk.

Can Breastfeeding Women Use Lo Loestrin Fe?

Lo Loestrin™ Fe (norethindrone/ethinyl estradiol) is a combination contraceptive, containing both a progestin and an estrogen. In general, combination contraceptives are not recommended for women who are breastfeeding. Taking Lo Loestrin Fe while breastfeeding is probably not dangerous, but it could decrease breast milk supply and more acceptable alternatives are available.

What Does the Research Say?

The hormones in Lo Loestrin Fe do pass through breast milk in low amounts -- probably too low to cause significant problems in breastfed infants, although this has not been confirmed by any studies.
More importantly, combination contraceptives may decrease the production and quality of breast milk. For this reason, healthcare providers almost always recommend progestin-only oral contraceptives (also known as "mini-pills") instead of combination contraceptives for women who are breastfeeding.
However, progestin-only contraceptive pills are usually less effective than combination contraceptives. As soon as you stop breastfeeding, it may be a good idea to ask your healthcare provider about switching to a combined contraceptive product such as Lo Loestrin Fe.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider

You should discuss breastfeeding and Lo Loestrin Fe with your healthcare provider. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, the two of you can make a shared decision that is right for you.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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