exclusive breastfeeding as birth control
If you nurse on demand, constantly hold your baby, and cosleep, exclusive breastfeeding should be able to keep ovulation from occurring up through month 6 postpartum. That is the general consensus among fertility folks. It worked for me, except the time I was so stressed I wanted to get pregnant, again, quickly.
If you're looking for a non-invasive, non-hormonal, non-artificial method of birth control, I recommend the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Invest in a basal body temp thermometer and make copies of the charts. That's all it takes! Other than some self-discipline.
I find that I usually will not cycle for the first year with exclusively bf for most of that time. I actually went 14 months this time round and my son was eating solids earlier than his older brothers. We did though nurse a lot in the rocking chair each day as he was very attached until I went back to work at 11 months old and then I pumped for a while. Once I dropped that, my cycles returned. Everyone is different but women who bf exclusively will not be fertile the first 6 months or more and may go longer if following ecological breastfeeding guidelines. For what it is worth, most of my boys went longer than 6 hours between feedings at night but definitely fed a lot during the day. For us, it was when the day time feeds started to decrease that my cycles returned. I do think my time in the rocking chair just holding and nursing my son each day made a huge difference toward keeping my cycles away. I was so sad when I didn't get as much of that time any more due to working during the day after my mat leave.
I got pregnant at 10mo pp while more or less exclusively bfing. Technically I'm a success story, though, because I didn't get pregnant in the first six months, which how long bfing is recommended for preventing pregnancy. I did not have a period before I got pregnant, so I must have caught that very first egg, which I don't think is that common. If you're not completely opposed to another baby after that six month mark, I would say that exclusive bf is a great way to go. I'll be doing it again soon myself .
If you're looking to abstain during fertile times, there is good information in Taking Charge of Your Fertility and The Art of Natural Family Planning (at least that's what I think it is called). There are rules relating to CM quality and how many days to abstain. If you have charted before, you should be able to make sense of them and your body rather quickly, but it can mean abstaining for many days consecutively.
I have used some method of LAM, NFP, and condoms since my DD1 was born 5 years ago and have not had an accident. I did get pg when DD1 was 9mo, rather on purpose and easily by BDing with fertile CM.
DD1 = 6m without cycling while pumping 2.5 days/week. She STTN early on and took a pacifier.
DD2 = 10.5m; pumping 2.5 days/week. Did not nightwean until 15m, no pacifier.
DS = currently 10.5m with no AF; no pumping. Nursing 2-4x at night, sucks thumb.
We are open to pregnancy again at this point, so we are not abstaining.
Look into Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) and Ecological Breastfeeding. There is a lot of research out there on LAM in the first 6 months as long as you remain in amenorrhea. As long as you qualify for LAM, I wouldn't worry about anything else unless you have obvious CM.
Ecological breastfeeding (read "Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing" and "The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding" by Sheila Kippley) alone generally spaces children 18-30 months, though some women experience more or less spacing. If you want more spacing or more effectiveness, you might consider charting, though get some support (from the CTA thread here or otherwise) since charting can be confusing postpartum.