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Loestrin 24 Fe and Breastfeeding

Instead of taking Loestrin 24 Fe, breastfeeding women are encouraged to temporarily switch to a progestin-only pill, as the hormones in the combined oral contraceptive may decrease the production and quality of breast milk. Since everyone's situation is different, however, you should talk to your healthcare provider about Loestrin 24 Fe and breastfeeding in your particular situation to find out more about the potential risks.

In 2013, the manufacturer of Loestrin 24 Fe decided to stop making this medication and replace it with Minastrin™ 24 Fe, which comes in exactly the same strengths but is chewable. 

Can I Take Loestrin 24 Fe While Breastfeeding?

Generally, most healthcare providers do not recommend taking Loestrin® 24 Fe (norethindrone/ethinyl estradiol) while breastfeeding. Loestrin 24 Fe is a prescription birth control pill that is classified as a combined oral contraceptive. Combined oral contraceptives, which contain both an estrogen and a progestin hormone, are the most frequently used type of birth control pills. Although combined oral contraceptives are very effective at preventing pregnancy, they are usually not recommended for breastfeeding women. Even though Loestrin 24 Fe contains a relatively low dose of hormones, it is still not recommended for breastfeeding women.

Loestrin 24 Fe and Breastfeeding Research

Studies have shown that the hormones in birth control pills pass through breast milk in low amounts. Although these amounts are probably too low to cause significant problems, there have been a few cases of side effects (such as jaundice and breast enlargement) in babies whose mothers took other combined oral contraceptives while breastfeeding.
It's important to note that combined contraceptives may decrease the production and quality of breast milk. For this reason, progestin-only oral contraceptives (also known as "mini-pills") are almost always recommended instead of combined contraceptives in breastfeeding women. However, progestin-only contraceptive pills are usually less effective than combined contraceptives. As soon as you stop breastfeeding, it may be a good idea to ask your healthcare provider about switching to a combined contraceptive (such as Loestrin 24 Fe).
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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