Archive for the ‘Ecological Breastfeeding’ Category

Natural Family Planning: Natural Spacing Without Abstinence

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

The most natural of the natural planning methods is ecological breastfeeding and it involves no abstinence.  This form of baby care postpones the return of fertility significantly, thus providing baby-spacing without the abstinence of systematic natural family planning (NFP).

From the beginning of the human race God has had a plan for mother and baby through the breastfeeding relationship.  This plan involves mother-baby togetherness, provides many benefits to both mother and baby, and provides the mother with an extended absence of menstruation and fertility while she nurses her baby frequently day and night.  This natural form of mothering we have termed the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding.  The Seven Standards are maternal behaviors that avoid common cultural practices that reduce the frequency and duration of breastfeeding.

Surprisingly, some Catholics are opposed to teaching a couple how to extend breastfeeding amenorrhea.  They see this as teaching couples how not to have babies.  On the contrary, pregnancy and breastfeeding amenorrhea are all part of God’s reproductive plan.  Would these couples shorten the months of pregnancy so they could have another baby right away?  God knows that nine months of pregnancy are best for the health of the baby.  Likewise God knows that mothers and babies have a need for each other and that it is healthier for both if breastfeeding occurs over a period of several years.  Saint John Paul II encouraged mothers to nurse at least two years or beyond.

What is the norm after childbirth?
If you take nature as your guide (and today many stress the benefits of following nature), extended breastfeeding is the norm and extended breastfeeding amenorrhea is the norm.

To have menstruation return within 3 months after childbirth should be the exception.  Again, such an early return of menstruation postpartum should be the exception if we take nature as our guide.  

With an extended time of amenorrhea, the couple does not have to abstain from the marriage act.   Their practice of ecological breastfeeding has the divinely designed effect of postponing the return of fertility.   Sometimes it may take several cycles before the couple can achieve pregnancy when the mother is still nursing.  Eventually fertility returns.

When couples are ready to achieve pregnancy as soon as fertility returns, ecological breastfeeding requires no abstinence.  We recommend, however, that they do standard sympto-thermal charting when fertility signs occur so they will have an accurate way of determining, within a few days, the time of conception.  The temperature sign gives them the most accurate estimate of the childbirth date.  When couples need to postpone their next pregnancy, they need to observe the fertility signs (especially the cervix sign) during the amenorrhea prior to the first menstruation or the first ovulation.  As fertility signs occur, then the abstinence begins.

God’s Plan
Ecological breastfeeding is the best way to space the births of children in a family.  Should ecological breastfeeding be taught?  Why not?   In our bottle-feeding culture especially, couples in natural family planning classes deserve to learn that eco-breastfeeding is a viable and wonderful option.

New book which promotes and teaches ecological breastfeeding and which helps new mothers to breastfeed successfully:  Getting Started With Breastfeeding: For Catholic Mothers by Gina Peterson and priced under $10.

Sheila Kippley
Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor


Who Chooses Natural Family Planning Options—the Couple or the Teacher?

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Many couples who attend a natural family planning course today will be taught only one fertility sign.  The other signs of fertility will not be taught or, in some cases, will be discouraged.  How sad that is.  When this happens, the teacher is making the choice for the couple.  The couple is given no choice.

In addition, some NFP teachers will not teach the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) or the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding.  Both methods have been researched and published in scientific journals.  The method with the most research and with the research done in many countries throughout the world is LAM.  Yet oftentimes the research is ignored and couples are taught to start charting just a few weeks after childbirth.

God has provided several natural ways to discern fertility and has provided a wonderful means for couples to space their babies naturally through the right kind of breastfeeding.   When these natural fertility signs are not taught and when couples are not taught the option of natural child spacing via breastfeeding, the couples are being deprived of important information which they have a right to know.

Breastfeeding has so many benefits to mothers and babies that it seems unjust to tell a couple that they must wean their young baby in order to get back to cycling and NFP.  This was the advice generally given in the Sixties before we began to teach natural family planning, and it is still not uncommon today.

The problem is that too many mothers learn some good things about breastfeeding, but they are not taught the importance of breastfeeding frequently.  Thus they have a very early return of fertility, but the baby’s nursing still wants to delay the next ovulation.  This can really stretch out the duration of pre-ovulation mucus—-and abstinence.  Yes, this can happen even with eco-breastfeeding, but if a mother weans at past 12 months, at least she has the satisfaction of knowing that her baby has benefited greatly from that much breastfeeding.

I thank the priests we know who encourage and support breastfeeding mothers and encourage natural child spacing.  I thank especially the priests who give Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood to expectant couples who come to the Church to have their baby baptized. They are helping these couples get off to a good start.

Sheila Kippley
Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor

Breastfeeding: Nursing Mothers’ Reflections on the Beatitudes

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

8. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs Is the kingdom of heaven.

Lord, give me the graces to counteract the bad advice this world is so eager to give to young mothers. Give me the right words to say, especially when someone makes a negative remark about my nursing. When I see a mother nursing modestly in public, give me the right words to encourage her.

Last night we stayed in a hotel while visiting family and relatives. When our relatives found out we slept with our baby in the king-size bed at the hotel they were horrified. They ruined our Thanksgiving dinner with their negative comments. We felt persecuted and were at a loss for words. Actually, no one was interested in hearing our thoughts on the subject. They were only interested in conveying their views and objections.

I am a 25-year-old college graduate who quit work to be home. I love being at home with my baby. The most important thing is that we wake up together; smile, talk, and nurse; we’re inseparable all day; smile, talk, and nurse; go to sleep; smile and nurse all night; and start the new day the same way. The breastfeeding has helped me to form a trust and relationship with her that is strong.

I have learned through breastfeeding that I do not have to be “super” mom. The important thing is that I am there for my child. We can be good moms and wives by showing love and affection in the ordinary and simple ways.

Lord, there are nursing mothers who know of no one else that is nursing a baby. They are told that their milk is not good enough or that they are spoiling their baby. They are criticized for not getting a babysitter or for still nursing at nine months or a year.

Please, Lord, give these mothers the grace to do what’s best for their baby and to ignore the negative advice. Strengthen the husband’s knowledge about breastfeeding so he can react to any irrational comments and defend his wife’s breastfeeding. May our society be more open and supportive of breastfeeding so that these criticisms are no longer a part of our culture. (anonymous mother)

[Safe bedsharing information is available at links at the home page of the NFPI website.]

(Sheila Kippley, 2005. This article is available at the NFPI website.)
Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood