What are the Marquette Method Breastfeeding Protocols?
The Marquette Method Breastfeeding Protocols are an effective, objective method of natural family planning (NFP) that’s founded on direct, daily hormone monitoring of a woman’s reproductive hormone levels. This eliminates the need for mucus checks. It’s a system that’s tailor-made for the needs of postpartum, breastfeeding women.
You can start the breastfeeding protocol as soon as you stop bleeding after the birth of a baby, or anytime thereafter. Women whose cycles have not yet returned can be up-and-running with the method in just 24 hours.
Just like with the Marquette Method of NFP in regular cycles, women following Marquette’s breastfeeding protocols use a Clearblue monitor to directly and objectively measure and monitor their hormone levels. This eliminates the need for mucus checks and temperature readings, so the method works whether your baby sleeps through the night or wakes up frequently to nurse.
With a new baby in the house, parents are busy. Many mothers switch to Marquette for their postpartum transitions simply because they find urine testing simpler to work into their daily routine than mucus-based and symptothermal methods of NFP.
The Marquette Method breastfeeding protocols are highly effective. Under the guidance of a Marquette Method instructor, couples following the protocol correctly can rest assured that it is 98% effective, and 92% effective with typical use.
Why is NFP while Breastfeeding So Challenging?
Many women find it quite difficult to use NFP to avoid pregnancy while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding women often have many months without menstrual cycles, a phase which Marquette calls “cycle zero.” The length of cycle zero is variable, and is dependent on the balance of hormones in the woman’s body. Observing the symptoms of her hormones to predict when her fertility will return can be a very challenging task.
Breastfeeding is “best for baby,” but it can be frustrating to many couples who quickly find the NFP method that worked for them before having children is much more confusing during the postpartum phase. Women’s fertile signs often ebb and flow in the lead up to the first postpartum ovulation.
Cervical mucus may be continuously present, but is not necessarily indicative of pending ovulation, as it would be in regular cycles. Difficulties can continue after cycles return because the first cycles women experience after having a baby are often longer and more irregular than couples expect.
The irregularities of the breastfeeding transition can translate into confusion and uncertainty about a women’s fertile state. Ambiguous signs of fertility during the breastfeeding transition can result in large amounts of unnecessary abstinence. Research has shown, for example, that even when following a mucus method of NFP correctly, breastfeeding women have a 32% chance of conceiving a child unexpectedly.
Some women return to fertility relatively quickly after having a baby, even while breastfeeding. Others have a year or more without returning to cycles. Research has shown that among lactating women, 20% will ovulate within 6 months of having a baby, but only 64% ovulate by 12 months. Because there is such a wide variance, tools that help women accurately predict impending ovulation are essential.
One study found that tracking mucus to determine potentially fertile days in cycle zero and postpartum cycle 1 would require abstinence for 52% of those days. In contrast, with the same set of women, the Marquette Method monitor-only breastfeeding protocol identified only 16% of the days in cycle zero as potentially fertile and requiring abstinence.
Percent of days spent abstaining before return to cycles
The Marquette Method Breastfeeding Protocol …
It is the most effective method of NFP available for women in the breastfeeding transition.
Is Objective and User-Friendly
It does not rely on mucus interpretation or basal body temperature readings.
Involves Less Abstinence
Allows for significantly more days of intimacy than other methods of NFP during the breastfeeding transition.
Works with Your Life
Practicing the Marquette Method is a once-a-day commitment. Test your hormone levels in the morning, record your results, and then get back to your life.
Take the Guesswork out of Marquette’s Breastfeeding Protocols
You’ve got a new baby at home. As a mom of three myself, I know that time (and sleep!) is precious and you probably just want to get started with the Marquette Method breastfeeding protocols with the minimum of fuss and effort.
I hear you.
After one 90-minute one-on-one training session with me one of the other Vitae Fertility Marquette Method instructors, you’ll know everything you need to know to get started. We’ll tailor the presentation to the specific fertile phase you’re currently in, so you’ll know precisely how to practice the method correctly from the beginning.
As soon as you’ve registered with Vitae Fertility, I’ll send you my exclusive Marquette Method training materials to you in the mail – a comprehensive user manual I wrote specifically for breastfeeding women (download a preview here), charts for each phase of the breastfeeding transition, and even a stash of LH sticks.
All of Vitae Fertility’s training packages include one full year of support, so we’ll be with you every step of the way.