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Breast-feeding patterns, maternal milk output and lactational infecundity

  • Peter G. Lunn (a1)

Extract

Whilst it is generally accepted that breast-feeding lowers the likelihood of conception, this relationship is not straightforward and there appears to be a wide variation in the effectiveness of the association between individual mother-infant pairs. Up to about 6 months post-partum breast-feeding probably can be used as a family planning method, with up to 98% effectiveness if behavioural guidelines are adhered to (Consensus, 1988). But beyond this time significant variations appear between different countries, and even different communities within countries, which make any overall recommendation impossible. To understand the reasons for variation in the duration of lactational infecundity it is necessary to understand the mechanisms involved, but knowledge of these processes is still far from complete. There are, nevertheless, enough data to indicate that suckling and maternal milk output are intimately linked with the return of fecundity.

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