Archive for the ‘Ecological Breastfeeding’ Category

8. Ecological Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing

Saturday, August 8th, 2015


6. Many couples and priests are extremely grateful for this knowledge because they had never heard about breastfeeding and natural child spacing before. Some couples then use only breastfeeding to space their children.

7.  God’s plan through ecological breastfeeding involves no abstinence. On the other hand, some couples using systematic NFP sometimes complain about the abstinence.  Every Natural Family Planning program ought to teach the evidence-based Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding. It is not sufficient just to recommend breastfeeding in general in a natural family planning course. In such courses, it is essential to distinguish between the kind of breastfeeding that DOES space babies and the kinds that DO NOT or at least greatly limit the duration of breastfeeding amenorrhea.

8. Teachings about “continued” or “extended” breastfeeding are insufficient and backwards because they take us back to the “Total Breastfeeding” talk of the mid-1960s. Such talk ignores all the research done since then. Also some natural family planning organizations tell the exclusively breastfeeding mother to chart a few weeks after childbirth. These organizations seem to ignore the ample research done on exclusive breastfeeding in many sites throughout the world.

9. Catholic bishops need to ensure that every NFP program that is operating under any sort of diocesan approval or endorsement teaches the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding. And if bishops really want what is best for their mothers and babies, they need to require them to participate in the right kind of natural family planning course. This is the course that encompasses Catholic moral teaching, the New Evangelization, all the common signs of fertility, and the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding. It is not consistent to talk about evidence-based systems of fertility awareness and to ignore the evidence-based Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding.

10. Our Catholic bishops and priests need to proclaim authentic Catholic teaching on love, marriage and sexuality including ecological breastfeeding with confidence and joy. When they provide the right kind of practical help, they will be more believable. The right kind of cooperation between the hierarchy and the laity can help the Church to rebuild Christian civilization throughout the world.

This article and its footnotes are available at this website.

7. Ecological Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing

Friday, August 7th, 2015


1. When teaching about breastfeeding and its relationship with natural baby spacing, it is imperative to distinguish the types of breastfeeding. The kind of breastfeeding that is common in Western culture provides very little postponement of the return of fertility and is not associated with natural baby spacing.

2. Ecological Breastfeeding IS a form of natural baby spacing. The Seven Standards of ecological breastfeeding are maternal behaviors associated with an extended breastfeeding amenorrhea, a time without menstruation after childbirth. The two key factors are mother-baby togetherness and frequent and unrestricted suckling. For an ecologically breastfeeding mother to go one or two years without menstruation is perfectly normal. To experience breastfeeding amenorrhea beyond two years is not abnormal and is typical in some cultures.

3. Every woman and every man have a God-given right to learn the wonderful health benefits that God has built into the breastfeeding relationship and how these are maximized through ecological breastfeeding.  Ecological breastfeeding offers many benefits to both mother and baby, even years later after the breastfeeding has ceased. In the NFP International user’s manual, Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach, you will find a list of 21 very specific health advantages for babies plus another six general advantages such as fewer sick days and higher scores on cognitive and IQ tests at school age. You will also find two lists of advantages for breastfeeding mothers.

More benefits of breastfeeding are discovered every year. At the website of NFP International, in the upper right corner for “blogs”, you can find the Breastfeeding Research articles for the years 2013 and 2014.

4. Every woman and every man have a basic God-given right to know about the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding. This option should be taught to older students and couples world-wide, especially in the Catholic Church.

5. Because natural birth spacing through ecological breastfeeding is important for the well-being of babies and mothers, the Catholic Church should be insisting that every engaged couple learn about ecological breastfeeding well before they are married. When couples realize the benefits of mother-baby togetherness, this can influence some of the decisions they make. To afford living on one income after the first baby comes, they may decide to live in a lower priced house and to buy less expensive furniture.  No one can force such decisions, but if they want to do what is best for their children, many well informed couples might order their priorities accordingly.

6. Ecological Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

The year 1986 saw two publications on breastfeeding and natural child spacing. Both researchers concluded that the most important factor for extended breastfeeding amenorrhea is night feeding associated with bed sharing between mother and baby.

In the 1990s Dr. William Taylor studied the frequency of breastfeeding and infertility and concluded that it is the short intervals between feedings that delays ovulation. Mothers who nursed with long feedings and long intervals between feedings tended to ovulate earlier. Those mothers who nursed frequently with shorter intervals between feedings were more likely to ovulate later. His 72 American mothers who tended to follow the more natural pattern of breastfeeding averaged 14 months of postpartum infertility.

In 1999, Dr. Taylor found that in one of his study groups, the “median waiting time to first menses was 12.8 months.” In this paper he drew this conclusion: “Stated positively, when babies (1) sleep with the mother, (2) are held close to the mother’s body, and (3) accompany her everywhere, the resulting easy access to the breast may be a causative factor in the ecology of breast-feeding’s contraceptive effect.”  

However, sometimes not everything that is found in a study is published. In personal correspondence, Dr. Taylor gave us some further refined results regarding this study. He wrote: “When we eliminated [from our study results] mothers who returned to work outside the home, did not let their baby sleep with them at night, introduced solids before six months and nursed less than a median of 9 times a day in the first three months, we ended up with a group that might be said to follow the natural mothering norm. For these 55 mothers the median wait to their first menses was 15.9 months.”

Just as the reproductive cycle is at rest during pregnancy, the reproductive cycle is also at rest for a lengthy period of time during breastfeeding – if you take nature as the norm. Sheila remembers well her favorite physiology teacher in high school stressing that the end of the reproductive cycle is not childbirth but breastfeeding. Unfortunately, many nursing mothers have their menstruation return soon after childbirth. But if you take nature as the norm, having menstruation return early is the exception. Extended breastfeeding infertility is the norm.

Someone might ask “How many mothers become pregnant before their first period?” In 1895, basically a non-contraceptive time, this question was researched by Dr. Leonard Remfry who reported that 5.77 percent of the women in his study became pregnant before a first postpartum menstruation. In 1969 a similar rate of 5.4% was found in Rwanda. In 1971, Dr. Konald A. Prem, a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Minnesota, studied this question and found “only five percent” of his breastfeeding mothers became pregnant before a first menstruation. The studies of Dr. Remfry and Dr. Prem are available at the website of NFP International.

From July 19th to the evening of August 7th (NFP Awareness Week through World Breastfeeding Week) anyone can purchase the following printed books at a 40% discount at lulu:
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach (coil edition preferred for learners)
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor
Battle-Scarred: Justice Can Be Elusive
Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing