Archive for the ‘Ecological Breastfeeding’ Category

Natural Family Planning and Ecological Breastfeeding

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Ecological Breastfeeding.   It is common in the NFP movement these days to talk about evidence-based claims or statements. This certainly applies to the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding.

When Sheila was pregnant with our first baby born in mid-1964, she took the advice of her childbirth instructor and attended La Leche League classes, later becoming a Leader. At each meeting, the Leader would review the LLL talking points about breastfeeding including the spacing benefits of “total” breastfeeding, the term then used for “exclusive” breastfeeding. The mothers noticed the wide variation in the duration of breastfeeding amenorrhea among the various mothers they counseled, and one of the Leaders asked Sheila to research it. The results of her research were first published in the JOGNN in 1972. See . Among mothers who nursed their babies according to the Seven Standards, the average duration of amenorrhea was 14.6 months. In 1989 we repeated the study with a much larger sample and found an average duration of 14.5 months ( ). A natural family planning teacher, H. William Taylor, did his doctoral dissertation on ecological breastfeeding and then did several other published studies, finding similar or identical results.   Most recently, Sheila published the research of others for each of the Standards in her book, The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor.   There is no question: the duration claims of Ecological Breastfeeding according to the Seven Standards are evidence-based.

I enjoy reading the results of other researchers, but there is something qualitatively different about Sheila’s research. I think she was the first mom-researcher. She had the distinct advantage of associating with other nursing moms. They could discuss the various facets of baby care and speculate whether this or that factor might influence the duration of breastfeeding amenorrhea. Sheila was able to incorporate these factors into her survey, and it’s from those completed surveys that we found the above results. I am not aware of anyone who has challenged them. NFP teachers Bill and Donna Taylor were enthusiastic about ecological breastfeeding, and his research has supported both of our studies.

John F. Kippley


Natural Family Planning: Ecological Breastfeeding and Bedsharing

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

Probably the most controversial aspect of Ecological Breastfeeding are the Fourth and Fifth Standards involving sleeping with your baby.  I understand the fears because I had those fears until I lay down for a short nap with my baby one afternoon on top of the bed.  Three hours later I woke up.  My baby was still latched on; my fears vanished.  Then I understood better why mothers around the world have shared sleep with their babies.   There are many benefits for bedsharing.

Bedsharing supports good breastfeeding.

Bedsharing is extremely important for breastfeeding amenorrhea and thus natural child spacing.  Babies nurse frequently and longer during the night when near mother.  You can’t get this pattern of nighttime breastfeeding when baby is not present to the mother.

Mothers and fathers get more rest with bedsharing, and babies benefit from the skin-to-skin contact with either parent during the night.

Babies are more settled and cry less with bedsharing.

Bedsharing helps to regulate baby’s temperature and breathing.  Think of mother’s breathing being like a “pacemaker” for her baby’s breathing.

Mothers are well rested in the morning due to bedsharing.  Breastfeeding is one job a mother can do well in her sleep.  Nor does she or the father have to get up at all.  I thoroughly enjoyed this benefit of feeling rested in the morning as a nursing mother.

Dr. Abraham B. Bergman, the original SIDS researcher who made SIDS known to the American public and was the first president of the National SIDS Foundation, says baby bedsharing is not dangerous. (October 2014)

Breastfeeding protects against SIDS, and breastfeeding babies usually end up sleeping on their backs during the night.  Lest we forget, SIDS was formerly called “crib death.”

IMPORTANT:  For safety guidelines on bedsharing, see “links” at the NFPI website.

Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding

Natural Family Planning: Ecological Breastfeeding Spaces Babies

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

No one should say that breastfeeding does not work as a natural baby spacer  It all depends on a mother’s pattern of nursing.  It does work when done correctly…when the mother cares for her baby in a very natural way and she remains with her baby.  Many couples and researchers have discovered that God’s baby plan via ecological breastfeeding does provide a natural spacing of births.  In addition, this is a form of natural family planning in which the couple can enjoy the spacing without periodic abstinence.

Couples interested in natural child spacing should follow the Seven Standards of eco-breastfeeding.  I once did a survey of a small number of moms who said eco-breastfeeding did not work.  Of those who returned the survey, none had followed all the Standards.  A few mothers in the past have publicly discredited ecological breastfeeding for natural child spacing.  When possible, I send a survey to these mothers, but not one of these surveys has been returned.

Here is what other moms say about this natural way of spacing babies:

“Ecological breastfeeding proved to be a great way of naturally spacing children.”

“I’m still nursing my son who is 13 months old and JUST got my cycle back.  I’ve been charting for a week now and loving this.  Many of my friends use medical ways to control their fertility.  I feel it is harmful to the body.”

“My youngest is almost 18 months now, and I still have not experienced my first postpartum period.”

“My daughter is 14 months old now and I was concerned about my continued infertility.  Your book reassured me that rather than being unusual, breastfeeding infertility is natural, normal and healthy.”

“I am currently nursing my 17 month old without a return of my periods.”

“My son nurses on and off during the nights.  He is 22 months old and I have not had a period yet.”

“Breastfeeding has a very definite effect on child spacing.  With my bottle-fed children I conceived again at 8 months after childbirth despite other contraceptives.  It has been 15 months since the last baby was born.  No period yet.”

NFPI believes that every couple (engaged or married) should be taught this option of natural family planning.  Those involved with marriage and family life in the Church should be actively promoting this option as well as encouraging couples to be generous in having children.

Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor
PS:  John and I speak out frequently about the spacing benefit of ecological breastfeeding plus we stress the many benefits for both mother and baby in this breastfeeding relationship.  Too many in the NFP movement and in the Church ignore this message.  That’s why we keep promoting this important message.