The Marquette Method for Breastfeeding and Postpartum Women

Why is NFP so challenging for breastfeeding women?

It is notoriously difficult to use NFP to avoid pregnancy while breastfeeding after the birth of a child. Breastfeeding women often have many months without menstrual cycles, this period of time is referred to as “cycle zero.” But what is “best for baby” is 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 would require abstinence for 52% of those days. In contrast, with the same set of women, the Marquette Method 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


Marquette Method


Mucus Method

The Marquette Method Breastfeeding Protocol

The Marquette Method, because it provides an objective picture of hormonal activity, is a method tailor-made for 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. Because you will be tracking hormonal activity directly, 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 simply find urine testing simpler to work into their daily routine than tracking cervical mucus or taking basal body temperatures.

Research has shown that 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 93% effective in typical use.

The Marquette Method Breastfeeding Protocol…

Is effective. It is the most effective method of NFP on the market for women in the breastfeeding transition

Is user-friendly. It does not rely on mucus interpretation or accurate temperature readings

Allows for significantly more days of intimacy than other methods of NFP during the breastfeeding transition

Let us help you take the guesswork out of NFP

Vitae Fertility has developed classes, training, and materials specialized for the breastfeeding transition where we teach the Marquette Method Breastfeeding Protocol. Included in each training package is the Breastfeeding Edition of Vitae Fertility’s Essential Guide to the Marquette Method of Natural Family Planning. Contact us for a free consultation. We can help you take the guesswork out of NFP after having a baby.