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Loestrin Fe and Breastfeeding

Research on birth control pills (such as Loestrin Fe) and breastfeeding indicate that the hormones in these contraceptives do pass through breast milk in low amounts. Although these amounts probably won't cause any significant problems in breastfeed infants, there have been cases of jaundice and breast enlargement. Also, the hormones in Loestrin Fe can decrease the production and quality of breast milk.

Is Loestrin Fe Safe During Breastfeeding?

Loestrin® Fe (norethindrone/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill. Loestrin Fe (along with most birth control pills) is not recommended for women who are breastfeeding, for a few important reasons.
(Loestrin Fe is equivalent to Junel® Fe, Gildess® Fe, Larin™ Fe, and Microgestin® Fe birth control pills. The information in this article also applies to both of these medications.)

Loestrin Fe and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?

There are two basic types of birth control pills -- combined oral contraceptives (the most common type) and progestin-only oral contraceptives. Combined contraceptives, such as Loestrin Fe, 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 combined contraceptives for women who are breastfeeding. However, progestin-only contraceptive pills are usually much less effective than combined oral 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 Loestrin Fe.
Research suggests that the hormones in birth control pills do pass through breast milk in low amounts. These amounts are probably too low to cause significant or long-lasting problems in nursing infants. However, there have been cases of problems, such as jaundice and breast enlargement, in babies whose mothers took certain types of combined oral contraceptives while breastfeeding.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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