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Lybrel and Breastfeeding

The hormones in Lybrel do pass through breast milk in low amounts. Although these amounts are probably too low to cause significant problems in breastfeeding infants, there have been some reports of problems (such as jaundice) in babies whose mothers took certain types of oral contraceptives when breastfeeding. Lybrel and other types of combined oral contraceptives are typically not recommended for women who are breastfeeding.

Is Lybrel Safe During Breastfeeding?

Lybrel™ (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill. It is classified as a combined oral contraceptive, as it contains both a progestin and an estrogen. Although they are very effective at preventing pregnancy, combined oral contraceptives (including Lybrel) are not recommended for breastfeeding women.

What Does the Research Say About Lybrel and Breastfeeding?

Combined 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 combined contraceptives for women who are breastfeeding. 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 Lybrel).
Studies have shown that the hormones in birth control pills do pass through breast milk in low amounts. These tiny amounts are probably too low to cause significant problems in breastfeeding infants. However, there have been cases of problems (such as breast enlargement and jaundice) in babies whose mothers took certain types of combined oral contraceptives while breastfeeding.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Lybrel and Breastfeeding

You should talk with your healthcare provider about Lybrel and breastfeeding. 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, you and your healthcare provider can make a shared decision about Lybrel and breastfeeding in your particular situation.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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